Gateleg Dining Table

This project took a fair old while. It started out as out as an engagement present … then became a wedding present. And when that event came and went, it became a housewarming present instead!

I work only with handtools, so everything is arm-powered. Starting with rough sawn white oak meant every piece needed to be planed flat by hand before attempting to make all the parts for this complex design.

I really wanted everything to be made of oak, so the panels and the drawer bottoms are resawn slices of oak (they were particularly hard work). Even the drawer pulls are custom little dovetails incorporating the octagonal design I’ve used on the tapered legs.

The table top pieces are made using breadboard ends, held securely with drawbores. I’ll admit the table tops are a little over-engineered, so some big tapers on the underside help to soften the edges.

The dropleaves of the table use some robust hinges to carry the weight, and I used some metal bullet nose dowel and liners to help guide them into alignment. Lastly I used traditional wooden turnbuttons to hold the table top securely in place.

The central body has drawers on both sides for cutlery, serving spoons and placemats. The gatelegs fold in nicely so that the table can be packed away to save space.

For finish, I used Osmo Top Oil, which is an oil / wax blend. It is really quite durable, has a pleasant, natural feel, and can be easily spot repaired if needed.

The table ended up being quite heavy, but it can comfortably seat six people, so I guess that’s only to be expected. On the plus side, it folded up small enough to get in the back of a largish car for delivery, so that saved some bother.

Proud of this one 🙂

Basic centre frame for the gateleg table
Mortise and tenon joinery for the legs on the central table frame
Assembling the central table top piece
Table tops in progress
Matching up the table top leaves
Putting finish on the side panels
Side panels fitted for the central table base
Routing out the dropleaf hinge recesses
Drawbore detail on a tabletop dropleaf
Tapers on the underside of the tabletop
Roundovers on the table top
Detail of the half blind dovetails on the drawers
Applying finish to the drawer fronts
Detail of the octagonal dovetailed drawer pull
Drawers fitted to the central base
Fitting the table top
Finished gateleg table with leaves extended
Overhead shot of the gateleg table with the dropleaves extended and a drawer open
The finished gateleg table with the dropleaves folded down