Solid Wood Tabletop Orientation & Installation – Part 1
I never paid much attention to the particulars of round tabletop vs. base orientation, that is until a few months ago when we inherited a bent steel-base table with a round solid oak top. I liked the top but not so much the base. And since we had a glass-topped dining table with a nice wooden “X” base, I decided to marry the new wood top and our old wooden base to create the best of the two tables.
As I began my preparations for the top exchange I discovered that there were two main ways to align the top’s grain direction in relationship to the base, parallel to the “X” stretchers or diagonal to them (see illustrations A, B). Additionally, there were two options for placing the table in relationship to the seating arrangement in the room and the direction of the hard floor planks. Check the plan view drawings to see what I mean.
To help me decide my course of action, I took the wooden top and placed it on the “X” base.
I aligned the top grain direction with that of the floor (A1, B1) but I really disliked how it looked so I rotated it 90° and this time it looked cool. I then played with the “X” base orientation in relationship to the top. In option A the “X” base is parallel to the direction of the top’s grain and the chairs around the table form an “X” layout. In option B the “X” is in diagonal to the top’s grain and the chairs form a “+” layout.
What really finalized the orientation was giving attention to the layout of the chairs in the room. I concluded that the best flow of movement and the optimal balance of space in our dining area would result from option A.
Next I had to affix the top to the base, which I will show next time.
Editor’s note: If you’re interested in tables, check out “Furniture Fundamentals: Making Tables,” a book with 17 step-by-step projects.