This little Ming style table was inspired by the illustrations in Gustav Ecke’s classic Chinese Domestic Furniture. It’s made of red oak, fumed with ammonia, oiled, and finished with polyurethane.
The solid wood frame parts all came from a cut 32” long from this plank of 8/4 oak about 21” wide. The layout of the cuts produced rift or quarter sawn surfaces for almost all the exposed faces. I was really struck with how much more refined this appearance was compared to flat sawn oak.
I followed the miter and tenon joinery illustrated in Ecke’s book pretty closely. These are extremely rigid but unforgiving joints. There is no play in either the tenons or in the end grain to end grain contact of the miters. I did substitute dowels for the stub tenons that connect the legs to the underside of the top. The glue lines in the legs run diagonally, so all the faces appear as unbroken grain. Starting with 8/4 stock produces a 2 5/8” square leg blank.
The curved legs are shaped in a box jig. The blank is indexed in the jig by dowels in both ends. Bearings top and bottom make for very secure registration of the cutterhead against the jig. Flipping and turning the jig allows 2 sides of the leg to be cut always working down grain on a single spindle setup. Turning the blank 90 degrees in the jig finishes all 4 sides.
The fine beaded edge brings out the taut grace of this design. To make the bead really stand out, a lot of material behind it is removed in a wide, shallow recurve. It took half a day to hog out the material in 4 passes with different tools in this little plunge router I made from an air die grinder. It took half a day to finish each of the 4 sides with small shaped scrapers and sandpaper.