WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Dining Tables

Dining Tables
by Kim Carlton Graves with Masha Zager

Taunton Press: 2002
Paperback, 185 pp., $24.95
ISBN 1-56158-491-6

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     Another in Taunton's new 'America's Best Craftsmen' series (other titles are: Beds, Bookcases, Chests of Drawers, Tables and Desks), this is a full color volume of projects from the simple to the complex.
     The first chapter is 'table building basics.' This includes standard heights, optimal spacing for place settings, clear space around a table for its setting in a room, and construction considerations: wood movement, torque and lateral forces. Joinery and assembly procedures are also covered. There is a well-explained section on grain matching for tabletops, and orienting wood grain in legs.
     The basic, first table the authors present is the square kitchen table with tapered legs. They go into detail with descriptions of mortise and tenons, a tapering jig, beveling a profile, assembly and glue-ups.
     Beyond that, the fun begins: a long trestle table with corner bead details, and the jig to do it. An expanding rectangular table with the top sliding along grooves in fixed aprons. Oval tables needing many clamps, pedestal tables, a classic Queen Anne design and a modern round design with a tabletop veneered in a reverse diamond pattern. Torsion-box construction is explained with a boat-shaped pedestal table, using MDF skins over a cardboard honeycomb interior to reduce weight, then vacuum-veneered.
     A real treat is the tilting-top 'vineyard table' designed and constructed by Wood Central's own Neal White. Neal designed an eliptical tabletop 60"x46" which sits on a trestle table base and is supported by a swiveling, harp-shaped support. When folded parallel to the table's base, the harp is out of the way, allowing the large top to pivot to a vertical position.
     Detailed cut lists and multi-view, exploded construction drawings accompany each project. The jigs and procedures needed for each one are full explained. This is an excellent collection of samples for dining table projects, with a good source list, an appendix on finishing and buying wood, and recommendations for further reading. Contributing craftsmen are listed in the back, with contacts.

. . . Barb Siddiqui