Nakashima Dining Room Table – Walnut – 2015

Revati settled on the design a couple of months ago.  Even a couple of months before that Richard the master woodworker from Phineas Rose gave me the bookend maple slabs.  I’ll never know why it took me four months to swap out the piece of plywood and two sawhorses which had been acting as our table.  I am ecstatic to have the table completed before the holiday – a goal I surely would have missed if I hadn’t had a reservoir of technical know-how and labor arrive with my parents two weekends ago.  Revati is ecstatic not to have three slabs of lumber stickered and drying in our living room.  Rather than an original design, this project is a reproduction of George Nakashima’s conoid table.  You learn alot designing by eye and mind; you also learn alot studying how a master approaches a project.  I was working off photographs, so I had to make some guesses, if I ever get a chance to see a conoid table in person I would be thrilled to see how Nakashima constructs it.

_DSC0876 _DSC0877

Splayed legs are easy on the eyes but hard on the mind.  Between a bevel, a little trigonometry and a lot of head scratching, it all came together.  I am a little taller than most, so fortunately in spite of all the revisions the table ended up a little taller than standard.
_DSC0857 _DSC0871

It felt like a huge project but when it comes down to it, there are only a couple of joints in the whole project.  Its always a leap of faith applying finish – you are never quite sure how the grain takes shape.  In the final assessment the black walnut and maple really work together.


_DSC0874 _DSC0875

I filled the cracks, knots, grooves and all the other soft spots with clear epoxy.



_DSC0376 _DSC0396

Ripping the walnut is no fun!  About midway through the 60 inches I became much more prone to skewing.

_DSC0467 _DSC0471

For all those who think I don’t measure twice – here I am pondering about the junction of all my measurements.


_DSC0481 _DSC0482 _DSC0479

I used the router plane to cut a groove for the legs to fit into the cross brace.  The challenge is making the joints tight enough that I can use hardware rather than glue to keep this thing together.  I know we just moved in, but I am already anticipating the next move.

_DSC0772 _DSC0757

The feet and legs all fit into the cross-brace.  phew.  Cutting the angle on the legs is harder than I expected.


Looks nice – I need to get this photo angle in before the top obstructs the view.

_DSC0490 _DSC0634 _DSC0636

Fitted the arm into a slot in the leg.  Checking for level and securing the fit.  As always getting things to look nice is  half the challenge, getting it all true and square is the rest.


An exciting moment the base is securely fastened to the top.  This whole thing became alot more complicated than initially expected – some deep breathing and a little bit of extra hardware help stiffen the feat and reduce play.


I like this photograph.



A cross brace is fastened to the bottom of the table – the brace is cut at a skew to match the angle of the legs.  I know I said this already – but I am really glad my folks were here for the home stretch.  I can’t believe how much woodworking we packed into a single weekend.  I also can’t believe how many shavings we left on the floor.

_DSC0702 _DSC0666 _DSC0715

Planed the whole thing flat.  The table is long enough for six dinner guest but I think that three people planing is just about the max.  Usually I do, scrub/jointer/jack in succession rather than simultaneously.  I should try and track down one of those crazy two people planes.  Like woodworkers of yore, my pops is not slouch – he wore a dress shirt to the shop on a sunday morning.

I don’t think I need to state this – but this step is a hell of a lot of work.


There is a rub with using your boards before building the table:  I am really glad all of the spilled pasta sauce and remnants of meals long past gone sanded off.  I will have lots of time to add new spills after the final coat of finish is applied.


Lots of beautiful plane shavings, photo credit for this one and most of the rest goes to Revati


_DSC0608 _DSC0584

I chamfered all the edges with a plane specially designed for the task.  I really really like this plane.  I mean, I really like this plane.  Also, my first Japanese plane, I am sure there will be some intensive web traffic from our residence when I try to figure out how to sharpen it.


Poured a thick layer of west-system clear epoxy into the knots.  I think epoxy is too impersonal of a finish so I sanded the table flat after the epoxy hardened.  The table is finished with Behlen Rockhard Table Top Urethane.  Epoxy is vicious stuff – fortunately was able to avoid spilling any of it in my hair.  I wish I had thought to check before hand, some of those knots go right through the table and took a little bit of after-the-fact jerry rigging to prevent a large puddle of epoxy from developing on the floor.


Long boards and lots of shaping you quickly ended up with a lot of tools on the bench and not all that many in the toolshed.


Now all I have to do is figure out what the first supper will be.



4 thoughts on “Nakashima Dining Room Table – Walnut – 2015

  1. Pingback: Dutch Tool Box – Yellow Pine – 2015 | raecreation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s