The Tavern Table is Built. Now I Need a Tavern.

The tavern table was a fun build, and quick, too. Relatively speaking. I compare everything now to the Windsor chair build that stretched on for three months. It’s amazing how simple everything becomes when all of the angles are at 90°. And how convoluted things become curves and angles that aren’t right come into play. I started the table on a Friday evening, and it was fully assembled by that Sunday afternoon.

I have a few pictures, but must apologize for the quality. The lighting in my house is atrocious, and outdoors isn’t any better. Our yard is a scrubby wasteland of sand and weeds a few blocks from the beach.

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I was surprised how much visual interest this simple molding on the bottom of the aprons adds to the table. I’ve never used a detail like this before, but I’ve noticed that some sort of molding is present on the aprons of nearly every joint stool and tavern table that I’ve seen. Definitely worth the small effort to get this effect.

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The legs were a blast to turn. The shape is very, close to the original, but I didn’t hold myself too closely to the details. I felt that they could use improvement, so I improved them. I’m very happy with the way these turned out. Plus, it was extra practice for my next Windsor chair! I’m still having trouble with the skew chisel on those beads – I find that to be the hardest part of baluster turnings.

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Another tweak to the original design: I reduced the number of lower stretchers from four to three, and moved the long stretcher to the center. I did this so that the table can be used as a children’s dining table when we have a lot of company. My son is in a wheelchair and needs to be able to roll up close to the table; outer stretchers would prevent that.

I also used chamfers and lambs’ tongues instead of the simple roundover on the original. No reason, other than I like the way they look.

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I do love drawer-building. Especially small ones like this. It becomes harder to make a smooth-running drawer as the size increases. This drawer fits nicely with maybe 1/32″ gap on the sides and 1/16″ on the top. It slides sweetly.

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And of course dovetails are ever fun to cut.

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I even found time to add a bit of bling to the drawer bottom. I have wanted to try some Peter Follansbee-style carving for years, and I finally made it happen. I didn’t want my first carving to be front-and-center on a piece of furniture, so a drawer bottom seemed appropriate. The carving is a bit of an anachronism – 17th-century English carving in an 18th century Charleston table – but it doesn’t bother me. Avert thine eyes if thou art a pedant.

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The table still needs a finish. It will be painted, like the original. Unlike the original, I will not be using oil paint with toxic heavy metal-laden pigments. Milk paint will suffice. I’m thinking blue over yellow, with shellac topcoat.

 

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6 thoughts on “The Tavern Table is Built. Now I Need a Tavern.

    1. Thank you Chuck! I’m getting better, but I’m good for at least one stomach-churning catch every time I turn a set of legs. Ah well, practice makes perfect. Just means I need to make another chair.

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  1. I like the look of that table. The carving in the drawer bottom is a classy touch. You might adopt that as a sort of signature on all of your pieces. Let me know when you get that tavern built and I’ll come for a visit. 😉

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    1. Uh-oh, now I’m having second thoughts about that tavern…

      Just kidding, you’re welcome to drop by for a visit whenever you’d like! I won’t even make you sleep in the van this time 😀

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    1. Thanks Dave! When I get done with the paint, it should look like it’s already an heirloom 🙂 I’m hoping Peter has a few of his carvings out to view at Greenwood Fest. Carving is one of those things that’s so hard to grasp without seeing the objects in front of you. I’m happy with this as a first attempt, but I know it’s a bit off, and it’s hard to tell why.

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