Black Walnut Dining Table: Live edge book-match with bowties.

One of the ways to obtain a width large enough for a dining table is to book match individual “sister” slabs. The slabs need to be from the same tree and share a common cut. The two slabs that share the cut are opened up (as if turning a page in a book) and then laid side by side. Next, the two center edges are cut and joined. At this point, if you want to make the table less wide, we can take more width off the inside seam, and the outside Live Edge won’t be affected. The result is a beautiful mirroring of grain and color and  a natural meandering live edge shape. Removing the sapwood from the joining edges produces a perfect seamless match. In this case, the sapwood was left in the seam as an aesthetic choice by the client to highlight the bowtie inlays.

Bowties are both aesthetic and practical.

The client wanted to keep the sapwood in the center seam of this table, which allowed an extra two and a half inches of table width. The lighter sapwood also presents a perfect contrast for the bowties that we inlayed to the top of the table. These bowties are handmade in our workshop on the bandsaw, and are inlayed carefully in the traditional way using chisels and blades.

We extensively use bowties on the underside of live-edge tables to stabilize cracks and splits. We use a router to make and fit these bowties, and they add a great deal of stability to the slabs. To ensure the stability of live edge slabs, we sometimes fit more than fifty bowties to the underside of a live edge tabletop. Bowties on the undersides of slabs are included in our standard labor pricing, whereas bowtie inlays on the tops of tables are an extra cost. For the inlays, we have also done steel, and brass bowties, as well as bowties made from contrasting wood species which can create a nice effect.

Advantages of a book-matched tabletop.

A book-matched tabletop can possibly provide an opportunity to save on material costs. The price of a forty-inch single slab (meaning one solid piece for a 40” diameter tree) is typically always more than two twenty-inch slabs of the same species. This is simp[le supply and demand. As the trees get older, and larger, they are more rare. As such, slabs wider than 40” become exponentially more expensive that their more slender counterparts. Even with an extensive network of suppliers, we work to find single slabs wide enough for dining tables can be time-consuming and difficult, so using two smaller slabs, book matched, is often the solution. Another advantage to a book-match, is having the ability to manipulate the width of the table from the inside seam, without disrupting the natural live edge on the outside. Another advantage to a bookmatch is symmetry. Some people really appreciate symmetry their table, and a bookmatch table is usually more symmetrical than a single live slab due to its mirrored nature.

Oil buffed Finish for beautiful grain enhancement.

To further enhance the beauty of the walnut grain, we used a protective oil finish.  While we offer multiple finishes, The client favored oil's natural feel and texture for this table. We always apply an additional maintenance oil over the initial oil coating to protect the wood for as long as possible.

The stable and efficient base design

To support the 96' by 48' table, we used a 1 x 2 powder-coated steel tubing to create a stable "V" base that would allow the chairs to neatly tuck in below the tabletop. Have a look at some alternative steel base designs here.

So, if you have a design for a spectacular piece of furniture unique to your requirements and aesthetic, we will welcome your call. Our goal is always client lead design. We always try our best  to convert your ideas into a beautiful well-built table from locally sourced materials, and built right here in Boston.