Maple Dining table in a cabinet

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Project by garyjs posted 09-05-2011 04:10 PM 4772 views 10 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Way back in the 1980’s, I worked in a third floor loft in an industrial park crowded with small workshops. Around mid-afternoon a well dressed and obviously exasperated lady walked in and handed me a reproduction of a Sears catalog from the early 19th century. She said, “I have been walking and driving from one workshop to another all day long. Nobody was interested in building this for me. The last shop owner I talked with said I should to talk to you. He said you’d build anything.”

I looked at the reproduction black and white photo in the catalog and said, “Sure, I’d love to build this.” It took me three months, but it was worth it. I learned a lot, and got to build my own table extensions, to boot. The table seats five on a side and two across the end, and it is rock solid.

Which is appropriate, since she wanted it built of Canadian Rock Maple, one of my favorite woods.

In the second photo, you can see the table leafs stored above the top of the table. the front edge of the table and the right leg from the element just below the leaf storage area. Just below the table is a wide and deep drawer for silverware and below that is a linen cabinet.

The front leaf is fixed in place to keep the table structure square. It can also act as a desk, if you pull out only that part of the table. In the third photo you see the table extensions fully open with the middle legs, which have self-adjusting casters. the fourth photo shows the table fully open with all of the leafs in place.

The table top is a very expensive Polysander laminate. Very thick and capable of taking a lot of abuse and still look great for many years.

The entire piece is finished bright with six coats of sprayed lacquer, with no stain.

-- garyjs

10 comments so far

View RLindberry's profile


54 posts in 2782 days

#1 posted 09-05-2011 04:20 PM

What an excellent concept! And your execution looks very well done too. Great job. That would probably take me three years, not three months.

View DaddyLongLegs's profile


10 posts in 2578 days

#2 posted 09-05-2011 04:41 PM

that looks very cleverly designed and really intricate

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3353 days

#3 posted 09-05-2011 04:45 PM

I love it! The leaves would also look great if they were laminated maple, like a thin workbench. Or even an end grain pattern like a cutting board.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View garyjs's profile


27 posts in 2598 days

#4 posted 09-05-2011 06:22 PM

Thanks for the compliments, guys. It’s not all that complicated or intricate when you break it down into bite-size jobs, and even the table extensions have a lot of repetitive cutting and shaping – mostly table saw and router work. the fitting of the sliders to one another is pretty fiddly work, but you’d be surprised how many problems carnuba wax can solve for you. The biggest problem I ran into was lining up the guide pins for all those table leafs.

-- garyjs

View NormG's profile


6226 posts in 3120 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 04:25 AM

I knew what it was the minute I saw the first picture. My grandmother had one, I ate many a meal at that table. You did a wonderful job making this piece of furniture. I think my aunt received the piece after my grandmother died.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View dubsaloon's profile


621 posts in 2910 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 09:47 AM

That is AWESOME! For those with limited space but the need for more seating. Wonderful project Thanks for sharing.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View MrDan's profile


208 posts in 3404 days

#7 posted 09-06-2011 10:03 AM

Crazy!! That is so cool, and very well executed.

I just watched an episode of the Great British Woodshop where David Free builds a pullout desk. It’s kinda similar except his top is a tambour piece that rolls away into the cabinet. Very cool designs here. You can check out the desk on the Woodworking Channel under The Great British Woodshop.

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2678 days

#8 posted 09-06-2011 12:21 PM

Very cool design. Got my mind spinning with uses!

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3311 days

#9 posted 09-09-2011 10:37 PM

Now that’s cool. How sturdy is it? The middle support must help a lot.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View garyjs's profile


27 posts in 2598 days

#10 posted 09-10-2011 12:52 AM

I built this piece back in the mid-1980’s and never had a callback from the customer, so I guess she’s happy.

-- garyjs

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