Extending Table in English Oak and reclaimed Mahogany

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Project by Ollie posted 09-12-2011 11:05 AM 2943 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This table took quite a while from original discussion to final build.
It was designed by me for the client, after a few re designs and a sketchup model I was given the go ahead to build the table.

It is quarter sawn English oak from a local supplier and reclaimed Mahogany from an old bar top reclaimed by my client years ago.

The top is 32mm thick and the size is 920mm wide 1220mm long when closed and 1560mm when open.
Legs are 75mm square.
All inlays are 10mm square but deeper in the legs so the moulding has continuous colour at the bottom of the legs.

The hardest bit was getting the pivot point just right for the butterfly leaf section. I used large SOSS type hinges to join the leaves at the centre and a stainless rod on home made hinges for the pivot.
The pivot must be exactly right and I could not work out the maths for it so I made a mock up from some pine and plywood and one hinge. I new the basic position from Ernest Joyces book the technique of furniture making ( a great book ) it is one eight of the width of the top from the centre of the table. However the other dimension varies with the thickness of the top and size of the hinges etc.
Once I got the mock up to work well I moved to the real thing and it still took a day to get it right.

I made the top as one section in its closed size with breadboard ends pegged from below and then cut it in half (that was a scary cut ! ) then I made the leaves section from the ends of the same boards so the colours matched up.
So the grain matches perfectly when in small mode but not quite in large mode, but at least the colours and general look are the same with the leaves open.
Flattening and smoothing was primarily done with a card scraper due to crazy grain and the fact that I dont have an appropriate plane, either high or low angle and my old No 4 was just no use at all for this. So I had very sore thumbs for a few days.
I have decided I need a shoulder plane and a high angle smoother now after needing both many times and not having either.

The legs slot into tennons at the corner of the rails and each leg has 2 threaded inserts which bolt in to the frame.
The finish is Osmo Polyx satin oil 4 coats for a nice natural look but good protection.

This project was the most complicated thing I have made so far with critical measurements at every stage.
I am quite happy with it but more importantly the client is happy.


-- Ollie, UK.

5 comments so far

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 3073 days

#1 posted 09-12-2011 11:09 AM

Very nice piece of work. I really like the inlays.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Wilt191's profile


98 posts in 3203 days

#2 posted 09-12-2011 04:43 PM

Very nice, and well executed. The quartersawn top is great.

View jdh122's profile


1097 posts in 3329 days

#3 posted 09-12-2011 07:01 PM

I love this. Very clean and modern lines. Nice work.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3452 days

#4 posted 09-13-2011 02:19 AM

beautiful table. very functional and well made.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Ampeater's profile


441 posts in 4259 days

#5 posted 09-13-2011 04:17 PM

The first butterfly table that I ever saw was in a small shop in Amsterdam. I really liked it and I took a lot of pictures of it. I have only seen one other table, but many pictures of them. Yours is the best implementation that I have seen. Could you let me know the dimensions?

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

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