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Thread: Modern elliptical dining table

  1. #1
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    Modern elliptical dining table

    Here's a dining table I recently completed. It is 97"x54"x28". The top is elliptical. It should seat eight quite comfortably, and ten with a little squeezing. It is made of white oak.

    diningtableoverview.jpg

    diningtabledetail.jpg

    The top has a plywood core veneered top and bottom with shopsawn veneer 1/8" thick. In the field, the top is 1" thick. Solid lumber edging makes the perimeter 1.6" thick. Here's a shot of the table top in the veneering bag. This is the bottom face; you can see knots I didn't want to include on the top face. I had to make a new big bag to fit this top. You can also see the table base in the background.

    veneering.jpg

    The base is made from beams 1.6"x4". I laid out the joinery in the middle so that the long beams run straight through the joint, to keep the beams as strong as I could. Here's a shot of the underside of the short beams, cut to sit firmly on the tops of the long beams.

    jointdetail.jpg

    Here's a shot of the table edge, taken from below.

    table-edge.jpg

  2. #2
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    Very elegant and sleek at the same time! I like the whole thing but the base is very interesting. Nice job on the table edge also.
    How did you cut the ellipse shape? Router jig set up? I did that a few years ago on a good sized coffee table and the cutting was easy but the set up was tedious.

    Jim

  3. #3
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    very nice .

  4. #4
    Interesting table. Complex puzzle....but I don't think you are going to be allowed to take on the plane !
    Just use the "tray table....don't make trouble.
    It must make some really interesting shadows.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Tobias View Post
    Very elegant and sleek at the same time! I like the whole thing but the base is very interesting. Nice job on the table edge also.
    How did you cut the ellipse shape? Router jig set up? I did that a few years ago on a good sized coffee table and the cutting was easy but the set up was tedious.

    Jim
    I laid out the curve on the computer in a 2D design program. I printed it out 1:1. The printer is limited to 8.5x11 sheets, so the curve gets printed to multiple sheets which I tape together to make a full-scale paper template. In this case, my template only needed to be one quadrant of the ellipse. I used rattle-can contact cement to stick the paper template to quarter-inch plywood. (MDF is slightly easier to work with, but I had this piece of plywood on hand.) I jig-sawed close to the line, and trimmed to the line with a handheld belt sander. That gave me a wood template. I used it to draw the ellipse on the table top blank, and jig-sawed close to that line. Then I put a template guide and a straight bit on the router, clamped the wood template in place, and trimmed the blank precisely to my desired curve.

    Then I turned the top over, and used a chamfer bit in the router to cut the taper on the bottom edge. I kinda wanted a bigger taper, at a flatter angle, but this was the biggest bit I could fit in my handheld router.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 10-24-2020 at 4:54 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    .. Complex puzzle...
    Yeah, that joint in the middle took me a couple of days to think about. Definitely a puzzle. After I worked out how I was going to do it, actually cutting the joint took me an afternoon. Well, okay part of a morning for the prototype, and the afternoon for the real thing. It is all straight planes, so I could cut it with a pull saw, and adjust it with a chisel.

  7. #7
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    Very well done Jamie! It's an interesting design and it's well executed.

    How did you lay out your elliptical table top? My wife wants an elliptical dining table but with a butterfly extension. I want to make it out of solid hardwood with the grain running across the width with bread board edges.
    Ken

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Very well done Jamie! It's an interesting design and it's well executed.

    How did you lay out your elliptical table top? My wife wants an elliptical dining table but with a butterfly extension. I want to make it out of solid hardwood with the grain running across the width with bread board edges.
    I addressed the layout process in a reply I posted probably while you were typing.

    I don't see a way to make an expanding elliptical top. The entire table edge is curved, so no matter how you build the expansion the expanded top will not be an ellipse. Maybe draw out what you're thinking, and post it in the Design forum?

  9. #9
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    As I imagined, the prep work is enormous......the actual cut is seconds/minutes. I was wondering about the taper on the underside. Nice look!!
    Jim

  10. #10
    Agree with Jamie. To put in new words. The table without the expansion piece can be an ellipse. But with an expansion
    the curved part will not hit tangent to the straight part. You need to make a round edge to do that . But you could add about
    3 inches of straight to the elliptical pieces to make it work. Draw it out 3 " might show the flat, so you might even have to
    go to just 1 inch straight . And it might just look too weird,gotta draw it out

    I'm sorry , I botched that . The straight expansion leaf would be tangent. The question is ,would the straight leaf look
    odd
    Last edited by Mel Fulks; 10-24-2020 at 7:08 PM. Reason: I goofed

  11. #11
    Looking at the small footprint of the base, do you find it a bit tippy?
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #12
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    That turned out beautifully, Jamie...the base is very striking, too!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Very nice!
    It won’t be “tippy” since the weight of the opposing side is a deterrent and that base foot print is larger than it looks at first glance.

  14. #14
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    Beautiful Jamie. Very clean
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    Looking at the small footprint of the base, do you find it a bit tippy?
    Tippiness is a consideration with any pedestal-base table. During the design process I estimated the weight of the table, and calculated how much weight could sit on the edge of the table before the thing overturned. My estimate was that it would require a 190 pound person sitting on the edge of the table at just the worst sport to overturn the table. And by "sitting on" I mean he has his feet off the floor. It turned out that I overestimated the table weight by a tad, so the overturning weight turned out to be about 175 pounds. I can live with that. People lean against a table, but don't often sit on the edge.

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