My Thos. Moser dining table will remain as built, if unused for the foreseeable future. Some weeks ago I was considering rebuilding it so it would fit in a much smaller dining space my wife and I now have. At the time I posed that question on this blog, I had pretty much concluded I would do the alteration. I was somewhat amazed at the response the post received with readers evenly split on the question of whether or not to remake it. I even had a phone call from Thos. Moser on the topic who said it was OK with him. I must say, I was moved by readers and in the end, was persuaded to change my mind. I feel good about the decision and have been spending a lot of time considering various design possibilities for a new table.
I think I’m closing in on some details. It will be solid walnut culled from some special wood I’ve been holding for years for just such a special use. I’m certain I’ll use a shape for the top called a “super-ellipse” (and here’s a shout out to John Hutchinson for suggesting I explore this extremely versatile and pleasing form). It will work perfectly in my dining space and best of all, with the right base, will seat up to six comfortably in a 72″ length. Check out this table by Fritz Hansen that has this shape.
I’m using a very different base than the Hansen table but haven’t decided what I want to do. But I am narrowing the possibilities. One option under consideration is a typical splayed, turned and tapered leg and apron arrangement. Another, more interesting option I’ll just call Maloof meets Artek. Here’s the Artek X table base. Now look at the Maloof inspired pedestal table base. The Arteck base is the Maloof base layint on its side. The forms are amazingly similar and I suspect the construction is too. I’d modify the shape of the X to adapt it to my table, but it is an interesting concept and both come from the same Danish Modern school. We ran an article on building the Maloof table some years ago so it’s quite familiar.
If you’d like to explore the super-ellipse shape, there are some interesting web sites and calculators to plug in dimensions to make various shapes (including inside curves). There’s also a free plug-inyou can download if you want to work with these shapes in SketchUp.
At this stage, the practical question on using a super-ellipse is how to make the shape on the full-sized table top. Any suggestions out there? Yes, a pattern could be output on a grid, then cut with a jig saw. But that usually leads to slight imperfections in the “fairness” of the line and it just screams out. At this point, I’d thinking of outputting a SketchUp model that could be used in a CNC router. I’d have a template cut for one quadrant of the top and use that to duplicate the shape. Anybody have a ShopBot?
You might also be interested in “The Table Book,” with 35 projects covering a wide range of styles.
In you’re interested in chairs, “Build A Maloof Inspired Low Back Dining Chair” might strike your fancy. The package includes a book, DVD and full-size pattern.