We have had many inquiries about our tables lately, so we’d like to share some facts about how our tables come together. As with all of our products, we begin the table-building process by selecting just the right log. This log is cut, dried, and matched with superior individual attention.
Hand Selection & Solar Drying
Most of our dining table tops are single piece tops with boards running full length (6-12’ long) and 40-48” wide. For these proportions, we prefer to book match 2-4 boards for the most beautiful grain pattern possible from the log selected. We also make extension tables with tops that separate, with grain running across the width rather than the length. The same considerations are taken with these tops as with one-piece tops.
Our table logs are sawn flitch style in 2” thick boards. These boards are kept as a set (also known as a “boule”). A freshly sawn boule rests and dries in the open air for up to 2 years depending on species. Once the boards get down below 18% moisture content, they are ready for a few weeks in the solar kiln to bring them down to 7-8% moisture content.
A solar kiln has a unique drying cycle that heats up during the day and cools off at night. This gentle cycling keeps the lumber from getting too stressed. This takes quite a bit longer than typical industrial drying methods, but it is well worth it. Solar-dried wood is significantly stronger and more durable, which is essential for large table tops. It also helps to preserve the beauty of the grain and the natural color of the wood.
The benefit from handling wood this way is that we get the most beautiful table tops possible from these premium logs. We also get very thick and superbly stable boards. Both the added thickness and slow drying combine to allow us to design without the traditional skirts. This open design feature provides a lot more leg and knee room while you enjoy fine dining or socializing with friends.
Thoughtful Sawing & Superior Joinery
With this boule or flitch style of sawing we also get a few center cut boards, which make ideal material for the table base. Center-cut boards have a straight-line grain, which is perfect for accentuating structural forms. Most importantly, it provides extra stability in the joinery. Since large joints of table bases move more in seasonal humidity fluctuations than smaller joinery in case goods or chairs, it is very important to keep the gain oriented for the least conflicting movement possible. These center cut boards provide that kind of massive strength and stability.
Once the wood is dried in the solar kiln we let it relax and acclimate for at least a month in the shop. This ensures that once we flatten the boards they will stay flat.
In a table top the key joinery is a straight edge joint. We have one of the finest jointers made for this process, and get nice flat joint lines. But even in this modern era of high tech everything, masterful hand planing yields the truest surface for the strongest edge joints possible. For this reason, all of our edge joints are hand planed.
From log selection, to design, to joinery precision, we take care at every step to ensure that the tables we deliver are the finest tables that can be made. We look forward to making yours.