Table Top Design: A Makers Year. 82


A Makers Year 81 Table Top Design

I have this lovely client called Daniella, with whom i have worked  before, she has asked me to make a dining table for her.

Daniella loves wood and wants the table to have distinctly woody feel about it.  We chose Walnut and managed to get in five good sequential boards of French Walnut for the table top.


We had in the design of the table a wiggle that emulated the natural waney edge of the timber running down the centre of the table. I saw that two of my five boards could be placed together to actually do this naturally without my intervention. But this was more subtle than my drawing.

So I worked to bring the surfaces of the boards together. Even with six boards its possible to assemble them in hundreds of different ways. But there is only one very best way.


Having done that I took photographs and covered an area of timber with water to show the colour when the polish is applied. I also worked out an idea for the end grain.



A lot of figuring was near the end of these boards. They were covered in blue paint to show the drying but if that were cut off, if we can emulate the direction of the chainsaw cut but polish it up . I have never seen that done before. But how was i to explain all this development to Daniella?


I wrote a careful e-mail explaining what had been my thought process. This often takes time to evolve and I was glad that Steve who is making the table was not on the job all the time. I explained what i was thinking and showed her photos of the timber and a sketch of my idea for the end grain.

My heart was in my mouth as I pressed the send button. But back came this:

Hi David,

WOW the wood and its grain and markings look AMAZING.  Love the idea of

following the natural curve in the middle to make the gap.

Very happy for you to do one end with your idea and see how it looks.  It

does sound exciting and love the idea of minimal intervention and showing

the tree to its best effect.  Only concern is that it is still easy to get

one (or maybe 2) people sat at end without them hurting themselves on the

edges!!!  But so long as seating will work well enough then do go ahead and

do one of the ends and then lets have a look.

VERY EXCITED – its a privilege to be involved in your creative process!



Now that my idea of a supportive and helpful client. But if i had not taken the design on past the paper stage and developed it with Daniela we would not have such an interesting design to play with. Do not allow CAD to stop your design process at the presentation stage. The materials should be a part of the design process.

May your wood never warp

david savage


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