SHAKER DINING TABLES
Simplicity and Elegance
Tables can be made in a variety of styles, but the one I am most consistently asked for is a Shaker table. The simple clean lines and nice proportions are very pleasing to the eye, and the beautiful wood speaks for itself. The aprons (also known as "skirts," these are the horizontal parts that connect the legs together and support the top) are attached to the legs with mortices and tenons (except when a knock down (disasembleable) version is requested) and so provide a very strong and stable base for the table, in spite of its slender appearance. In extension tables, metal slides are used to allow the insertion of leaves. I typically make leaves twenty inches wide, so that each new leaf will allow one more diner per side. This can be varied to suit your needs (the oversized table has 24" leaves). The tables are finished with a modified oil and resin finish that is very durable, and allows the wood to look its natural, beautiful best.
This is a small cherry table (30 inches wide, 60 inches long, standard 30 inches high) I made for my daughter a few years back. Unlike the other tables shown, this has detachable legs for ease of moving in tight spaces. The lighter pictures were taken just after finishing in my shop, the darker ones are what cherry looks like when aged a couple years (most of the darkening happens in the first few months).
SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOW'S EAR
My kitchen table, made from the remnants of a birch that I sawed to make my son a dresser. Lots of knots and checks, but the price was right.
I include this just to demonstrate that a nicely proportioned table is pleasing even when made from less than beautiful materials.
This shaker extension table in cherry is 44 inches wide by 68 inches long without leaves, and extends to 128 inches with three 20 inch leaves.