Recently on Facebook I was mocked for this gateleg table with the quip: “But in the picture, do not you see a Ikea style table?”
This table design pre-dates IKEA by about 150 years. Gateleg tables with clean lines and simple but robust construction begin to show up in the furniture record in the 18th century (the form might actually be earlier, but that’s as far back as I’ve found).
It’s a useful furniture form for the 18th-century home where a room would need to be converted for several tasks during the day – working, cooking, eating, relaxing. When folded up, this table is only 21” x 38” – it’s but a sofa table, really. Unfolded, it offers a tabletop that is 38” by almost 75” long.
It’s also useful for the modern home – it’s easy to move for an apartment dweller or student. With one leaf up it’s a great breakfast table for a married couple. With both leafs up, there’s room for friends and family.
This version is built using poplar for the base. All the joints are drawbored mortise-and-tenon joints. The base is painted with General Finishes Milk Paint’s buttermilk color (note, this is a water-based acrylic, not a casein paint).
The top is made from 30-year-old air-dried walnut that has been finished with three coats of garnet shellac (Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood) and two coats of organic beeswax.
The plans for the table will appear in a future issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine so you can make your own.
Of you can buy this one if you like. When I write an article on a piece, I cut my hourly rate – this allows me to sell the furniture a bit faster and gives you a deal. The table is $750 plus shipping (free pick-up at our shop, of course). If you are interested, send us a message at email@example.com. Note, this table is now sold.
Or you can buy one at IKEA. While I’m certain my table will last at least a couple hundred years, there are no guarantees like that on the IKEA version.
— Christopher Schwarz