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Blog entry by jdb posted 12-30-2009 08:50 AM 1326 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I am building a table that I am going to use as my office desk and potentially a small conference table. I purchased some 1 ¼ in. reclaimed walnut planks for the top. The top will be approx 3’ x 6’ by the time it is completed. I am trying to decide on the legs/table base to use for the piece. I saw this picture on-line and really liked it and am thinking about doing something like it. Please see the link below. However, I’m not sure if it will clash with the more elegant walnut top. What do you think?

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 12-30-2009 08:56 AM

It’s not a style I’m attracted to I believe this table is jacobeanian design.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4063 days

#2 posted 12-30-2009 09:17 AM

Well, I saw that you said you liked it, so that’s pretty much all that matters.

But since you asked what I think, well, I think it’s pretty much ugly as sin. Not nearly as diplomatic as Jim :). I guess the heavy style just doesn’t appeal to me. Particularly with the clean lines of the top. Walnut is such a pretty wood, to marry it with clunky, overly ornate, painted legs doesn’t seem to fit well together. And with a name like Shabby Chic, what does that even mean??

So since I didn’t know what Shabby Chic means I googled it and got:

Definition 1: “Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their age and signs of wear and tear or new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.”

Definition 2: “Shabby Chic can mean a lot of things. In the same way that Realtors use words like cozy or cute to mean small and crowded when it comes to houses, Shabby Chic can mean scratched, full of holes, bad paint job, lovable eyesore, etc.”

Well there you go. I guess like Jim “It’s not a style I’m attracted to”.

But if you like it you should build it.

View bladeburner's profile


88 posts in 3082 days

#3 posted 12-30-2009 03:54 PM

In my experience, hayrake or modified hayrake tables suffer a lot of pre-mature aging on the ends. Seems just perfect for a footrest for folks at the ends.
But to address your Q., I can’t think of anything that won’t complement walnut.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3877 days

#4 posted 12-30-2009 04:03 PM

Not my favorite either. But if you like it, go for it.

At least the base is detachable (read replaceable) at a later date and you could keep the lovely walnut top. And a painted base should not be a huge dollar investment, although that will be a lot of turning.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4000 days

#5 posted 12-30-2009 04:16 PM

I like it. Done right it will be around 200 years from now. And i think the walnut would look great with it. But if your’e going to distress the painted finish on the legs, i think a certain level of distress would be required for the walnut top also.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 3343 days

#6 posted 12-30-2009 10:25 PM

I agree with Jim that it is in the 'Jacobean style', and I don’t know how that fits with
good ‘ol Rachel Ashwell and her Shabby Chic shtick that she has been milking for years (she had her own show on cable at one point) but I digress.

This is a very specific style and I would advise you to consider how this table design would relate to the other pieces in your office. For example what kind of chairs would be used around it when it is used as a conference table. What kind of desk chair would it be used with. How about the file storage pieces, what will they look like? Even if you love this design, if not thought through the desk could end up looking like an UFO in the office. To be clear, I am not passing judgment on your choice, I would just recommend that you consider the total environment that the desk will be in to make sure you are going to be happy with the overall look in the office.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#7 posted 12-30-2009 10:35 PM

can you sketch it out (sketchup, or just with paper and pencil) and get a visual of it? wouldn’t that be more fruitful than peoples opinions (just askin)?

I personally do not like that style, and the table you linked to in particular seem to have it’s proportions off (or at least to my eye), the legs/base seem too small for that top (golden rule proportions that is). but with a different top like yours, and at a different proportion – this might work.

better to bring it to a visual medium and see, even just to get an idea than to over think this.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3756 days

#8 posted 12-30-2009 10:45 PM

Since you have a lot of lathe work ahead of you, and the fact that the legs are painted, a softer wood such as poplar might be a good choice. You of course can change the style of the legs and supports if you wish.

Why not try a milk paint finish, red or green might be more attractive than black

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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