Posted tagged ‘tavern table’


July 21, 2017

I met an old friend on the street the other day, a friend I hadn’t seen for a year or so.  He walked up to me, smiled broadly and said, “Good Lord, I was sure you had died.  You haven’t posted anything since February!”…  What an “eye opener!”

Truth be told, the past few months have been full of travel, visits from family and, honestly, I just haven’t had anything to say that I thought was worth saying.  That’s not to say that there hasn’t been anything going on in the workshop.  Although I have to admit that my level of productivity has been seriously diminished. But, maybe now is a good time to “get back in the game.”

Lester (my partner in the crime of woodworking) and I have managed to finish a couple of projects during this “black-out period.”   We completed a small tavern table (based on one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) that Les had started a number of years ago.  While dry fit, it served to provide a small amount of temporary storage for a number of years.    He opted for a oval top made from a single piece of curly maple that he’s had in storage since the last Dempsey fight.  He decided that heavy distressing was just the ticket.  So, Les, our friend Scott Midegeley and I attacked the thing with lanyards full of keys, sticks, rods, stones.  It was scorched earth!

After the beating, the top was dyed with amber water based dye, then glazed with “black oil”, a combination of asphaltum, turpentine and BLO.  The top was then finished with several coats of Waterlox.  The cherry base was stained, coated with Waterlox then painted with a satin black alkyd enamel.  Then the paint was “wet wiped” to create a heavily distressed look in the areas that would have been subjected to the most wear.  Imagine the Founding Fathers sitting around one of these little beauties, drinking warm ale and trying to determine the best way to run a Republic.

The turned legs were terminated with simple Spanish feet of the “fluted” variety.  Ends of the “ogeed” aprons were finished up with a decorative cockbead.

I became so enthused that I ran right home and started my own Tavern Table.  There are a few differences, but the design is essentially the same.  The carriage is of walnut, the top is elliptical, the finish is the same with less distressing and I opted for a little longer, more feminine Spanish Feet (probably a subliminal influence of having just watched a Penelope Cruz movie).  The aprons are relieved to create a lighter look and the top has a simple torus edge and I nixed the cockbead (for no good reason other than the fact that I wanted to get the thing finished).

Here’s a look at the table through part of the construction process:

And, if you don’t believe in the possibility of resurrection, just stand near the parking lot gate at “quitting time.”    “Gramps”




Thursday morning curmudgeons – what’s next?

February 14, 2016

Most of you know that Les, Scott and I (Dennis) have been getting together on Thursday mornings for the last year or so.  The three of us have been involved with woodworking for a very long time and we all had noticed that we were exhibiting symptoms of a problem(s) that can befall anyone who practices any part of the ancient and honorable art of “wood butchery.”

Most woodworkers involved in the “bench work” part of the craft quickly realize that it can be a very solitary existence.  Now solitude, in and of itself, can be a wonderful thing.  The ability to withdraw into the peace of the workshop is a great gift.  But, like all great gifts, solitude has a few “down sides” to consider.  When working by oneself for a long period of time, it’s very easy to get into a “rut”.  You might find that everything you’ve been doing has begun to look “the same”.  You’re apt to find that you’ve fallen into the habit of talking aloud to yourself…  And, no matter your level of expertise, you may find that your skills are not being challenged.

So, the pact was made.  We’d get together once a week for the purpose(s) of sharing our experience(s), assisting each other, learning and challenging one another.  And of course, our sessions include a fair amount of laughter, both between and at ourselves.  We’re living proof that no matter your level of expertise, you can still “screw it up.”  Experiencing the fraternity of craft is a real treasure.

The three of us continue with our own, individual, projects.  But last Thursday, we took a measure of some of the projects that we want to accomplish collectively.  Some are incomplete projects that have been around for awhile and some are brand new.  Here’s what we’re thinking:

A Spanish footed tavern table.  This is a project that’s sitting around (nearly completed) for awhile.  My guess is that we’ll wind up making several of these;



Metropolitan Museum of Art collection

A Spanish "Footed" tavern table

A Spanish “Footed” tavern table

A Chippendale style side chair with a pierced and carved splat;


Partially finished details

Partially finished details

A bannister back chair in the Massachusetts style;


Metropolitan Museum of Art

and, a Queen Anne Highboy;


Lower case of a Queen Anne highboy

Lower case of a Queen Anne highboy

We shouldn’t run out of work (or challenges) for awhile.




I’m just so gosh darned busy!

August 26, 2014

Years ago a friend of mine told me that he never knew what “busy” was until he retired.  I thought he was nuts when he said that, a complete idiot.  But, it turns out, he was absolutely right.

I just realized that it’s nearly a month since I posted anything.  I was shocked.  Haven’t I done any woodworking for a month?  Well, of course I have.  But much of this summer has been spent with two little grandchildren and the occasional game of golf.  Sometimes, woodworking can and should take a backseat to other and more important things in your life.

But the tools haven’t rusted away.  In fact, they’ve been being put to good use in the construction of a rather large dining room table for my daughter and son-in-law.  It’s been slow going.  Some time ago I did a post about turning and carving the legs. But, I have to admit that it’s taken an unusually long time to get to this point.  But we’re making progress and I feel that I’m about to be “carried away” on a wave of productivity.

Here’s the “dry” fit up of the base:


Truth be told, I “borrowed” the details of the legs from Matthew Burak’s excellent site,  As this was for family, I turned and carved the legs myself.  If I were still working, I, very likely, would have bought the legs from Mr. Burak.  Extraordinary quality, fair prices, no headaches.  But, hey!  This is heirloom stuff, the kid’s legacy.  Who knows, in a few years, someone can put a vise on it or use it as a glue-up table.  I am nothing, if not realistic.

The toughest, single task on the base is the letting in of the center stretcher to the end stretchers.  I elected to use a simple bead detail, which requires the establishment of a secondary datum so the beads can be beveled.  This allows the detail line to be continuous from center to end stretchers.  When laying out these data, it’s a good idea to be in a state of complete sobriety, one little misstep…




These joints are just “dry fit”, so they’ll need a little more trimming, but, I believe you get the point.  Something as simple as a bead can be quite elegant, if done correctly.  The through tenons will be wedged and made flush.  Dismantling will require the use of a “Sawzall”, or some similar device.

Before anyone asks, I’m not quite sure about the style of the legs.  Regency, Georgian, Red Oak… it escapes me.  Perhaps my friend, Mr. Jack Plane could weigh in and give us a little direction here.  No one is more qualified than Jack.  And, I’d just like to take a moment to say that I’m “pleased as punch” that Jack is back.  And it sounds as if Jack is getting serious about putting a book together.  It should sell very, very well.  If you don’t know Jack, you should.  Visit him at

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