Construction Notes: Light Extending Table

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Solid Wood Extending Table
Solid wood naturally has a tendency to expand and contract over its life, so planar elements must be braced (for example by cross-bars) to limit movement and prevent warping. Hence the material is not classically suitable for extending tables. After three years of development, Matthew Hilton overcame many challenges and realised fully his vision for an extending solid wood dining table. Following is some key information on what exactly he achieved, and how.

Engineered Solid Wood
Matthew Hilton makes use of an innovative material, engineered solid wood, which consists of 4mm thick planks of timber cross-banded with alternating grain directions bonded around a partical board substrate. This material has the benefits of solid wood in the traditional sense including a renewable surface, and has the added benefit of the greater planar stability required for the extending function and slender form.

Complex Joinery
The extreme cantilever of the solid timber leg puts the joint of the leg and foot under enormous stress, requiring a clever joint with great strength. The complex leg is constructed of 6 components, joined with lapped timber joints, glued long grain to long grain for maximum strength. Hidden dowels help locate the joints during assembly.

Slender profile with interior space for storage
A further challenge Hilton set for himself was the extremely slender profile, and the requirement that the drop leaves fit within the table when not in use. The table has a chamfered edge which creates visual lightness, but minimises interior storage space. In response, the extension panels and sliding mechanism were configured in a way that maximises all the available room. .

Craft
Although many components are precisely machined on a 5axis CNC (2-3 hours of CNC time) the final construction of the table is always completely hand assembled by a skilled crafts person, taking approximately 20 working hours or 3 working days.

Key Features
Durable, long lasting construction with renewable surface
Extends easily and intuitively
Drop leaves can be stored within the table in a fabric lined compartment.
The table includes 2 drop leaves, for three possible lengths, and a maximum length of 290cm (114 1/6”), seating 12-14 people

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Light Extending Table shown in Danish oiled walnut

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Light Extending Table shown in Danish oiled walnut - 1 leaf in place

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Light Extending Table shown in Danish oiled walnut - 2 leaves in place

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Light Extending Table shown in white oiled oak

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Light Extending Table shown in white oiled oak -tabletop detail whilst opening