Transforming Dining Tables - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 1 Old 02-14-2020, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Transforming Dining Tables

I think that if had been born more recently I might have loved the "Transformer" line of toys.

I say this because I've always been fascinated with tables that can change their size, particularly ones that store the components of their expansion within the design itself rather than as leaves in a coat closet. This thread walks us through some of my favorites.

The Adam Expanding Table, whose skirt is the subject of another thread of mine is my current project.

You've got to hand it to people who design stuff like this, likely seeing a camera lens and thinking they can make a table out of it.

Another favorite of mine is the Seer Table by Mathew Bridges:

One of the trickiest parts of attempting this on my part was the square in the middle of the table that drops down/goes up one plywood level of thickness as the table is moved from small to large size and back. My solution was to create a piece of equal size below this square that has 4 "ramps.

No discussion of expanding tables would be complete without discussion of the original Jupe table and the variations and advances in its design over time.

In the DIY realm there's Scott Rumshlag's version. You've really got to hand it to someone who can not only think so well in 3 dimensions, but sells plans for you to build your own, complete with links on where hardware can be purchased to complete it:

With Mr. Rumshlag's design plans purchased, it's on my bucket list.

Of course if money is no object then the Capstan/Hampstead/ Fletcher versions, complete with electric mechanization, are pretty awesome:

In some of the other videos on YouTube about this table, its designers show how little was spared in getting their version of this table to be state of the art, including dimensionally stable leaves of aluminum honeycomb and wood veneer (veneer that is matched up). Anyone with a little geometrical knowledge can appreciate that the table cannot technically be perfected round in both large and small states, (at least one size must be faceted) and yet this version is round in both sizes by virtue of its skirt. The designers chose the larger size to be perfectly round and then design a skirt that is perfectly round on its exterior, but on its interior it perfectly integrates with the facets.

When it comes to the mega expanding tables, I think the Israeli firm of Wishes Tree has really cornered the market.

With butterfly leaves and solid leaves that fit within their assortment of tables, they're really impressive! No way could I reproduce this. I can't afford the slides, and found only one company who makes them, mostly for industry and not consumers.

Although a little "of scope" because the table doesn't change dining size, the Nils Frederking table deserves honorable mention here:

Resource Furniture, a leader in modular space saving furniture for urban environments where space is limited has partnered with him to produce their Icaro table:

One no doubt cheaper is available on Amazon:

This proves to not be trivial to make by virtue of the fact that the leaves must be at least as thick is the legs that support them if the table is to store flat. No wonder the Resource Furniture version has a handle to carry it with.

This next design by David Koch, featured at Yanko designs is the space saving 3 in 1 table:

Transforming Dining Tables-kochtable.jpg

The key (no pun intended) to this table's design is its keyhole attachment hardware. I did a recreation of it with these:

Transforming Dining Tables-newel.jpg

Finally for now is the Grand Central Table. This table took its inspiration from a paper map its European designers came upon at the aforementioned NYC train terminal that opened up to a circle, but folded down into something similar to a baseball home plate, only with one side curved.

Transforming Dining Tables-grandcentraltable.jpg

Originally I was only able to re-create this with butler hinges, unable to find an exoskeleton for its design that was strong enough, yet resistant to expansion and that could hold a bend without fatigue.

Recently I came across synthetic roof shingle unlayment in one of the Big Box Stores and glued it to both sides, slitting in the places where the opposite side bent. I coated the whole thing with FlexSeal brand given its ability to, unlike paint, flex at these bend points.


Last edited by Arbee; 02-14-2020 at 01:09 PM. Reason: save and expand upon
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