I got the opportunity to collaborate with John Adams with JAG Architecture on this table set for a custom space and it has been a great project to work on. The initial challenge was to have a table that could seat 6 and allow for a way out in the middle, all fitting within the existing bench configuration. After a few different concepts, we came up with a small and larger table with leafs that would protect the dining table from the elements in cocktail position, and fold down with room for a 6 people.
In order to provide upper and lower support for the table, John and I came up with a swinging arm. When in cocktail position, the two arms would sit over one of the existing legs and on the underside of the table, and when in dinner position swing out for support.
We came up with a pear shape for the large table, with one straight edge to allow for hinging. The shape has a rounded 90 degree angle allowing two people to sit on each side of that angle.
On the small table, in order to provide leg room as the table depth is small to fit the space, the structural post was set to the back. This made for a unique base stand, so I made a full scale mock-up to make sure the stability was right.
The tables will be outside in direct exposure, so John chose stainless steel for the bases. He’s had too many powder coating let downs to choose anythng else for exterior.
The tops are made out of Ipe to match the bench. This stuff is extremely dense and it’s definitely not the easiest to work with. At the time, I thought it would be easiest to join everything at once, but thinking back smaller pieces are much easier to clamp down and would think about going that route in the future, at least with some of the heavy hardwoods like Ipe.
The supports for the underside of the table need to be flush to allow the swinging arm to nest tightly against the bottom of the table top. Therefore, I made a routing jig for the supports out of mdf to ensure a tight fit of the leg supports and the routing went smoothly.
I have to say this part of the process stressed me out a bit. I put a lot of time in to making the tops and getting the shapes just right. So when it came time to route out the invisible Soss hinges, I was a little on edge. The thickness I was cutting into is only 1″…its going in to end grain…and the inside edge that gets routed leaves less than 1/8″ of wood. Anyhow, I was able to get all of them in for a really nice clean look and I’m really happy with the look. I had a couple hiccups but the end product is clean.
All the pieces are pretty much put together and I’m just about ready to put it together. Time to oil up the tops, install the hinges and stops, polish the stainless and put it all together.
Haha, I just read that last line I wrote 4 days ago and I can tell I didn’t anticipate things taking 3-4 more days. I still had to work out some small things and that did not happen quickly. That included tabs for the feet, stops for the swinging arm, and overall adjustments to get everything to work just right. Here are some shots of the nearly complete piece. Its waiting for a couple last minute adjustments and polishing but nothing too noticeably different than what you see here.