Leaf table

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Project by exsubsailor posted 01-17-2016 05:18 PM 1294 views 8 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw a picture of this table on the back cover of “Fine woodworking” magazine some years back. It was made by Victor DiNovi, a woodworking genius in both craftsmanship and design. No hint of how he made it other than it was 54” wide. A real challenge to try to do something on this idea. Victor has a website with pics of his outstanding work. Check it out. I started out cuttingly 3” thick spanish cedar (cost conscious) boards about 28” long. By cutting each board on a diagonal from corner to corner, I got 2 pie shaped pieces from each board. I cut enough to make a half circle. Numbering them I clamped each consecutive pair together face to face making sure the sides were perfectly flush. With a router and large dovetail bit and a piece of wood for a guide fence I routed across the side of the 2 boards to make one half a dovetail spline in each board which would make a bowtie dovetail when the 2 were laid flat side to side. To glue each pie shaped wedge to its partner , I glued small wood blocks to each wedge top and bottom. By using the blocks to clamp and tighten, I was able to put enough pressure with out the wedges slipping and sliding. The walnut bowtie spline was more for the visual effect than the strength of the glued joint. Warning, make very precise registration marks so the half dovetail in each board lines up perfectly or you won’t be able to pound the 3” thick bowtie splines in after the pie shaped are glued up. If you’re off a hair, you can use a sharp chisel to make it right. Once it was assembled I used a right angle grinder with a chainsaw blade attached to rough it out. Make sure you use a good dust mask. A LOT of sanding and shaping still to come. I cut the legs on the bandsaw using a board wide enough to account for the curve in the legs and used a large fostner bit to cut the holes in the table top for the legs. The ballerina feet just adds to visual appeal of this non-functual table. I used many coats of tung oil and 0000 steel wool between coats to finish the job. People who see my table think it reminds them of different things I.E. an elephants ear, a lily pad, a mushroom growing on the side of a dead tree, a flower petal, a butterfly wing etc.. I worked the 3” thick boards down to about 1/8th inch when finished.

-- Art, Florida

14 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


5250 posts in 2175 days

#1 posted 01-17-2016 05:30 PM

Beautiful work. I’m thinking it’s not meant to hold a can of beer or cup of coffee!

View a1Jim's profile


116914 posts in 3487 days

#2 posted 01-17-2016 05:36 PM

Amazing design and outstanding workmanship,Beautiful!

-- Custom furniture

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

109 posts in 2414 days

#3 posted 01-17-2016 05:43 PM

Very impressive workmanship. In the third photo, it looks like a butterfly (without a head or antennae) to me.

-- Ron Stewart

View majuvla's profile


11706 posts in 2777 days

#4 posted 01-17-2016 05:44 PM

That’s realy amaizing shape. Reminds me on sime giant butterfly.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View jim65's profile


990 posts in 1843 days

#5 posted 01-17-2016 05:57 PM

really beautiful! very well done!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View Bobsboxes's profile


1336 posts in 2573 days

#6 posted 01-17-2016 10:04 PM

Nicely done, very cool.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View tinnman65's profile


1354 posts in 3324 days

#7 posted 01-17-2016 10:39 PM

Beautiful work, You did an great job considering all you had was a photo to work from. I agree Victor DiNovi is a sculptural woodworking genius. I had the privilege of spending a week long class with him several years back, He really does amazing work and you did a beautiful job recreating this wonderful table.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View michelletwo's profile


2712 posts in 2925 days

#8 posted 01-17-2016 11:25 PM

this table has been on my TO-Do list..after seeing yours, I have hope I can make one too..super table!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28241 posts in 2248 days

#9 posted 01-17-2016 11:36 PM

That’s very cool.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View shipwright's profile


7897 posts in 2707 days

#10 posted 01-18-2016 12:37 AM

Lots of fine work and detail.
You clearly love a challenge!

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Roger Gaborski's profile

Roger Gaborski

247 posts in 3658 days

#11 posted 01-18-2016 01:05 AM

Great work Any idea how much time you invested in this project?

-- Roger Gaborski,

View exsubsailor's profile


39 posts in 1791 days

#12 posted 01-18-2016 04:45 AM

Great work Any idea how much time you invested in this project?

- Roger Gaborski

I worked off and on for a couple of months. Sometimes I just left it to try and clear my mind about how to do the next step in the process.

-- Art, Florida

View helluvawreck's profile


30192 posts in 2776 days

#13 posted 01-18-2016 03:42 PM

That is unique and very creative. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View DaveW's profile


5 posts in 3905 days

#14 posted 01-18-2016 09:25 PM

I love the ballet slippers at the base of the legs. This is wonderfully done.

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