Farmhouse Table? We Are Thinking End Table Plans …

I started the day yesterday with one topic in mind – how to build what is sometimes called a “farmhouse table” – but I ended the day on a slightly different topic, end table plans. What happened in the middle was a phone conversation with a guy I met at Woodworking in America, Mark Hicks of the Plate 11 Bench Company.

The ridged top on Mark's bench is one design element that may cross over to his end table plans.

The ridged top on Mark’s bench is one design element that may cross over to his end table plans.

Mark runs the furniture company that his great uncle started in Ozark, Missouri, Norman’s Furniture – but as a separate line of business he has also started the workbench company in order to find a greater market for Roubo-style benches. At WIA, I was standing near the Plate 11 booth eavesdropping (one of my favorite pastimes) and heard a middle-aged couple speaking with Mark about the possibility of buying a farmhouse table for their dining room that would look something like a Roubo bench.

That type of custom work certainly falls into the category of “adaptive furniture design” that I wrote about earlier this week. I wanted to hear how the design process was going, so I called Mark. Through various twists and turns in the conversation, we ended up talking about a furniture category that falls more squarely in the typical mid-market range – your basic coffee table, sofa table and end table set. Mark has on hand a pile of 3”-4” thick reclaimed barn wood that is not suitable for workbenches, but may be quite suitable for a set of small tables.

Why base a living room set design off the idea of a workbench? “The mass of it,” as Mark puts it – referring to the mass of a Roubo benchtop. Furniture buyers are attracted to the substantial form, and will eventually want living space pieces that mirror a work space in that way.

But by the same token, there’s a design challenge here, especially when it comes to the smallest piece of furniture. How do you design an end table that has the heavy, bench-like top while remaining true to the original form – and not ending up with an overly narrow base structure?

End Table Plans

I suggested to Mark that if it’s the mass of the top that he wants to maintain, then there ought to be a way to do that without necessarily utilizing an exact replica of the Roubo base. Easy for me to say. We batted around a couple thoughts on pedestal bases that might work.

Suggestions are welcome below in the comments section. A great place to start brainstorming is by clicking here for some inexpensive table plans in our store. Try a couple of them today and let us know what you are learning, and how you are adapting the designs for your own use.

Also be sure to grab a copy of our free PDF download on designing tables. It will definitely get your design ideas flowing.

Dan Farnbach

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Woodworking Daily
Dan Farnbach

About Dan Farnbach

Dan apprenticed and worked in two professional shops during the years after college. But sweeping shop floors only goes so far toward learning woodworking. These days Dan is online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. He divides his time between Boston and Maine.

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