Our client for this project loves oak tables and knew that it was the species she wanted for the table in the dining nook of her Needham home, but she was looking for a way to add an extra visual splash.
Here at Cannon Hill, we understand both impulses. This table is built in white oak — a species with a long, proud history in furniture-making here in New England and beyond. Its light colorations and straight, identifiable grain are familiar, which sometimes leads people seeking statement pieces to look in other directions. But we urge our clients not to dismiss oak; after all, it’s earned its place in our trade for good reason.
Aside from all the physical characteristics of the furniture white oak builds - hardness, durability, stability - are the aesthetic considerations. With more natural finishes, like the one we used here, oak radiates a warmth and reliability that feels at home in more classically-styled spaces. In spaces with more contemporary design, the cooler tones in washed-out grays and whites often look best, and the consistent appearance of white oak takes these tints extraordinarily well. Here, though, it’s all about the warm golden tones of untinted white oak.
When it came to that visual splash, that little feature that sets this table apart from all the others, we chose a flourish that, while purely decorative, spoke of the functional tools and techniques that you would see in our shop any day. When we’re working with slabs, we use inlays known as “bow ties” on the underside of the table top to help keep pre-existing cracks from expanding over time. The bow tie - a small piece, typically of wood, resembling the accessory for which it’s named - sits perpendicular to the crack, its flared ends grabbing the wood on either side and holding them from separating further.
On this table, you can see four steel bow ties set into the top side of the table. We carefully chiseled out beds for the inlays so that they fit tightly and flush to the top of the table. Whereas the placement of a functional bow tie would be based on the locations, size, and severity of the checking, the ones here are purely based on a proposed layout drawing we sent the client.
To see another table of ours with visible bow ties, check out the link below. That table is in a totally different style and has a totally different feel, but it has the same decorative nod to functionality.
If you’d like to get the conversation started about furniture designed for your home, fill out the “Contact” form here on our site, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us up at 857-567-6985.