741 French country extension dining table with two leaves
Updated: Feb 19
We designed and built this extendable dining table for a local couple. For them, what makes life worth living is having dinner parties, cooking meals for friends and family, and serving them on special dinnerware. The wife is from a line of Venetian glass artisans who have done some amazing stemware and others. They have a modest sized cottage which had a poor layout, and they remodeled and had a wall removed so that the dining room could accommodate a twelve foot long table, and so that the terrace and garden could be viewed from the dining area. The dining room is narrow, and we also built in a piece of cabinetry which has glass doors and serves as a pass through from kitchen to dining for serving, and a storage and display case for this amazing special dinnerware. Part of this built in cabinetry made use of an antique carved breakfront on the dining side. I hope to obtain photos of this cabinetry at some future date. But back to the table: it was a 20-year, long term dream to have a custom table built for the purpose of having friends over for dinner. They participated in the design, and it was truly a pleasure to build this piece for them. With both leaves in, it's 11 feet 8 inches long and will seat 12 people.
Here's how it looks with just one leaf in center. (above)
Below, with no leaves. Closed, it is 94 in long and 36 inches wide, and it fits perfectly in the rather narrow dining room and will sit 8 people.
Below is an isometric view. In this photo, you can see that the thickness of the apron is about 2 1/4 inches, and this does get noticed, and not only does it provide extra rigidity for times when the piece is stretched to its full eleven feet, but also makes for a nice, substantial look.
You can see on this end view that we like to leave some evidence of "hand". All our work is hand done the old fashioned way - Buck cuts the legs on the bandsaw and then shapes and carves them with hand tools. This is the only way we know to get the right look. It leaves us with very subtle variations in the curves, size of beads and shapes of each volute. The volutes themselves invite touch. Almost everyone who sees this piece in real life goes over to touch it, and the perfect shape is one which is friendly to the finger.
The leaves are fitted in this manner below, and the perpendicular attached breadboards border each section of straight boards. I love this look, and I think it gives the table a nice, clean, buckled-down look, which reminds me of good leather work. It also serves to make the main portion of boards run lengthwise down the piece, instead of the usual crosswise layout that is typical of some extension tables. Our clients own a collection of hand blown tall stemware for serving wine, and they desired a perfectly flat table that did not have our usual slightly-uneven surface and slightly knobby pegs. So on this one, we took care that, while distressed, the top remained perfectly flat, and that the leaves fit flat and most importantly will remain so throughout the table's lifetime.
It is no small trick to get an eleven foot long dining table to remain stable and not sag when it is extended to its full length. In addition, each leaf fits very well with tight joints to the main table top and the apron, whether used on its own or with the second leaf in place.
Shown below is the finish sample we used to get this very unusual, cool mushroom aged finish. This random piece of old carving looks as if its finish is almost completely worn off. And that is how this terrific color was born, and it looks wonderful in the dining room and it shimmers under incandescent night lighting. It is of course a living finish, and so it will be durable and water and wine and food-proof.
Thank you for reading - if you would like to know the typical pricing on such a thing as this, please visit this link for this specific table.
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