inprogress zone warning

Build progress for hall tables in elm

Looking at a top down view of the table, make the front edge of the table curved to match the grain.

top down design view

Top down design view

To make the table top first resaw the planks to 1 inch thickness, more suitable for a light and airy table. Then select the best matching planks and join them on a curve that matches the curve of the grain. To join in a curve one must make a pair of matching patterns that will guide a router bit. After rough-cutting the planks into curves, use a spoke shave to precisely match the curves and eliminate gaps. Finally, join the curved planks using standard bisquit joinery.

After cleaning and planing the table tops, the results are below:

larger of two hall table tops

Larger of two hall table tops

smaller of two hall table tops

Smaller of two hall table tops showing the lovely curve of the grain

In the top-down view above notice that the front aprons are also curved to match the front curve of the table top. Choosing several elm boards with wonderful curved spalting effects for the aprons I resaw the boards and glue them into a curve using a form. These aprons are made from spalted elm trees blown down on the Hermitage Plantation in Tennessee.

The long stretchers will also be curved to match the front of the table, and they will be joined by short segments with a sharper curve. Captured within the four curved stretchers will be a solid piece of elm with a nice figure.

top down view of stretchers detail

Top down design view

To get the right sizing for the stretchers and their inner shelves, now start assembling the tables. The aprons and legs are joined with loose mortise and tenons. The stretchers are joined with either dowels or loose tenons.

assembling the table

Assembling the table

top down view of stretchers

Top down view of stretchers. Clamp a piece of cardboard between long stretchers
and draw different sizes for the middle shelf. Choose a pleasing size.

For the short segments that will connect the long stretchers build a form with a sharper curve and glue up the segments.

gluing short stretcher sections over a form

Gluing short stretcher sections over a form

After assembling the stretcher components and fitting central sections to form mini-shelves, the results look like:

large table stretcher subassembly

Large table stretcher assembly

small table stretcher subassembly

Small table stretcher assembly

With all the components and sub-assemblies made, now glue the table frames together and attach the tops using fasteners that allow for wood movement.

The resulting tables look like:

large table assembled

Large table assembled and partially finished

small table assembled

Small table assembled and partially finished

both tables together

Both tables together

Chinese elm
Chinese elm