Medieval Engineering, still the most minimal table I can think of.

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Project by Texcaster posted 02-17-2014 12:55 AM 1636 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I learned to make this table in Los Angeles in the late 70’s, they were called Mexican tables, in Australia, Spanish tables. The L.A. table bottoms were adzed with 4in interlocking ” pozos ”, wells formed with 3-4 adz cuts. The tops were one piece Coastal Live Oak, with many patches and hand planed. The makers brand was burnt in very deep to thwart unscrupulous antique dealers.

This is my personal table made to make our main room seem large, 750mm x 1975mm ( 29 1/2 in x 77 5/8 in )
I used to make these for a Brisbane antique dealer.

The top of the dovetail rail is angled, to make the legs splay. The rail tapered 2.5mm one end to the other. The rail can be pushed home with one hand. It is then clamped till max friction is achieved, ( usually a further 3in ) it is then marked with a knife ( both ends ) and cut to length. The rail starts out 3-4in longer than needed because it’s almost impossible to tell where the tapered tight fit will be.

The first leg is traced from an original antique table, the original rail was more like the one on my table. As these tables, go a very plain leg. The rail is from another table.

A more typical leg

A leg of my design with carved volutes top & bottom.

One set of irons left.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

5 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14167 posts in 3405 days

#1 posted 02-17-2014 03:49 AM

Very cool posting. Fun read.Design is very appealing.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View hunter71's profile


2696 posts in 2608 days

#2 posted 02-17-2014 12:05 PM

Very nice. I have never seen this done.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View AnthonyReed's profile


8588 posts in 1862 days

#3 posted 02-17-2014 03:06 PM

That is a spectacular table, deceptively simple looking lines mask the complexity of the joinery. Where did the irons come from? They are my favorite aspect of the table. Wonderful work.

Thanks for sharing Bill.

-- ~Tony

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2507 days

#4 posted 02-17-2014 05:43 PM

If the original tables were dovetailed with the adze, they had some great woodworkers. I have never seen
this type of table before either. How were the irons set into the wood? Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Texcaster's profile


1103 posts in 1096 days

#5 posted 02-17-2014 09:43 PM

Cheers fellas,

The irons are blacksmith made and usually more elaborate. Screwed to the top, bored thru the rail and bolted, a decorative ring is on the outside.
The adz work was only surface treatment.

A brief outline on making the joint:
1.. the rail tops are beveled so the frame is splayed

the ends are planed back 3in ( at an angle ) so the rail appears beveled on the bottom as well.

a bead is carved on the end.

The rails are tapered on the jointer and then dovetailed on the router table. We now have a dovetailed taper.

The tapers are used to make the jig that guides the hand held router to make the grooves.

The rails are fitted as far as they will go, marked for length and marked as a pair to avoid frames splaying the wrong way.

If you like this style search Spanish and Portuguese furniture.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

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