Of all the many table shapes, the elliptical demilune is one of the most elegant and appealing. During this two-week class we'll build a petite and very classy table rich with decorative possibilities.
We'll start the week by drawing the table full scale, looking at the many aspects of its design, the joinery, and a logical construction sequence. To produce the delicate but very strong curved apron we'll building bending forms, cut laminations, and laminate the apron. The square tapered legs are roughed out on the bandsaw and shaped with a plane.
The joinery — angled mortise and tenons for the rear leg to apron joint and a bridle joint for the front legs — we’ll cut partly by machine and partly with shoulder plane and chisels. Emphasis will be on using planes to size parts and cut finished surfaces, and using a variety of hand tools for accurate layout and fitting of the joints.
Other aspects of the table are shaping the top to a smooth curve and undercutting this curve with a wide bevel. We should have plenty of time to explore many decorative details such as cockbeads along the aprons and string inlays, cufffs, and panels for the legs.
This is a very delicate table best suited to a wood with a fine and subdued grain — cherry rather than oak for example. The design is very much about elegant proportions and form, refined thin legs, a curving apron, and a small half-elliptical tabletop.
Strength is a factor, but most hardwoods will do. You can mix woods, but think out how the different woods will look together when they have oxidized and developed a richer color. Figured woods are fine, but we are going to be doing a fair bit of handwork and figured woods take extra care to smooth and shape.
Cherry is a very safe bet that works well and looks good, plus it has the added advantage that light or dark inlay details contrast well with it. Walnut is another good choice, as is maple or birch.
I would leave everything a bit long, wide, and thick at this point, to accommodate small design changes that might occur (some planned, some not!) or warp. To me this means 2" longer, a minimum of 1/4" wider, and perhaps 1/8" thicker — if you can afford this nice margin.
The legs are bandsawn from a single bolt of wood (or two if need be) 7" wide, 32" long, 1- 3/8" thick (min.). Do not saw out the individual legs for now, but plane a face and edge of your bolt. We'll first make a mockup and pattern of the leg as a group.
Finished dimension: 30" x 3 5/8" wide x 13/16 thick
Everyone's top will be slightly different depending on overhang and other design choices. Bring stock to make a top 13-1/2" wide, 34" long, and 13/16 - 7/8" thick. Allow enough thickness to mill out cup, twist, and bow. Leave stock rough or skim lightly, just enough to see the grain better.
Really nice is a single board top. The next best choice is to resaw a piece of 8/4 and make a book match. Or just edge glue two boards together that match well (from the same board?). Each method can result in a beautiful top, so if you are unsure just bring your wood. I would not glue anything, as we will talk about edge jointing and getting flawless glue joints.
The front apron is laminated and requires 5 thin pieces at least 43" long x 4" wide x a shade over 1/8" thick. Shoot for a finished thickness of about 11/16" or just under for the 5 laminations.
You can make the laminates to finish dimension, or rough cut them (tablesaw or bandsaw) and leave them thick and we will thickness them all together. Have at least 2 good laminates for the faces, and an extra or two in case one blows up in the planer. The inner layers can be poplar or lesser quality wood (cherry with lots of sapwood for example). They should be knot free.
Cockbeads, inlay, panels. Exotics, interesting native woods, ebony and holly, small pieces of crotch or figured wood, all will work. Just bring the pieces of wood for now.
More about this class and other classes by Garrett Hack
Garrett is a phenomenal teacher and craftsman. Garrett can help you refine and develop your furniture making skills wherever you start out. He'll give the examples, encouragment and confidence to explore new techniques and develop a greater understanding of the tools, joinery and materials.
As an Level II woodworker:
- You should have completed some classes in hand tool woodworking and furniture making - or have the equivalent experience
- You will have started to build your own set of tools and you can sharpen and maintain them (even if not perfectly)
- You will have made some pieces of furniture using hand cut joinery
- You are comfortable doing the selection, purchase and basic preparation of the wood for this project
- If you would prefer to have a kit of parts prepared by us for this class. Please let us know - we will charge you for the wood and the time to prepare the parts.
As an Level III-IV Woodworker:
- You have significant experience in hand tool woodworking and furniture making
- You have own set of tools and you can sharpen and maintain them
- You are comfortable making furniture using hand cut joinery
- You are confident in the selection, purchase and preparation of the wood for this project
Class Information and Registration
Class starts at 9:00am on the first day. The class meets Monday to Friday each week. The shop will not be available at the weekend.
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.
If you are interested in this class, please let us know, and we will let you know when this class is scheduled to be offered.