20 August 2015

Simply an Old Table

Sometimes the simplest forms and most economic lines lend a confident understated presence to a piece of vernacular furniture. We recently discovered this unusually refined and seemingly simple farmhouse dining table and were immediately taken with its form and details.

The three plank cleated top is unusually fine and thin, which in combination with the generous overhang at each end creates a sense of elegance not normally associated with such a sturdy working piece.

The classic joined frame, with pegged mortice and tenon detailing, is created with a slightly inset frieze rail, which creates exciting touches of light and shadow in each corner. The rectangular “H” stretchers and square section legs, also lend a subtle sophistication to the design and the end stretchers mirror the frieze rail by being inset by the same distance.

There is something satisfying about the scale and relationship between the upright rectangular stretchers and the robust, geometric, almost architectural square legs, which is enhanced by the height at which the stretchers are joined to the legs, giving it a "leggy coltish" feel.

Each joint is pegged, including the stretchers, the long joints with a double peg and the shorter ones with a single peg. It is these details of construction and design that define the quality of a piece and separate the best from the ordinary.

Then there is the scale. This is a generous and elegant six seater, yet looks tidy and of diminutive proportions, due to the well drawn design. It can stand comfortably in a small space and would still be functional to prepare food on, to dine at and at other times or in different circumstances, would make a unique and stylish writing desk. It is also bold and confident enough to command attention and be comfortable in a large open space.

It is created entirely from solid English oak which has developed a characteristically individual surface. The top has a slightly paler honey coloured surface, due to years of assiduous cleaning, scrubbing and being washed with daylight. Whilst the frame and stretchers are slightly warmer, more richly patinated and nutty in colour, as they have acquired a surface skin from smoke, steam, handling and polishing over generations. These qualities are hard to imitate, they are individual and unique.

Sometimes it can be rewarding to look at things a little more closely, to identify the elements that make them interesting, unusual or somehow special and satisfying. After all this is simply an old table, but do you see how cool it is now?

Gallery Tour