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Mennonite Furniture Studios, Mennonite & Amish Heirloom Furniture Rosette

Mennonite Furniture Studios / American Heirloom Furniture
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A QUALITY DINING TABLE FOR YOUR HOME

Mennonite Furniture Studios, Mennonite & Amish Heirloom Furniture Rosette
Mennonite Furniture Studios » Furniture Buyers Advice » Hardwood Dining Table Guide » Our Dining Table Heritage

Our Dining Table Heritage

The Discriminating Furniture Buyers Guide To Heirloom Quality Dining Tables - Part 2

Do You appreciate beautiful hardwood furniture built by craftsmen to last for generations?
Are You seeking just the right dining table to grace Your dining room or kitchen?
If so, read this Furniture Buyers Guide To Heirloom Quality Dining Tables

Mennonite Furniture Studios Hardwood Dining Table Guide - Download FREE e-Book

Mennonite Furniture Studios FREE e-Book - Hardwood Dining Tables Furniture Buyers Guide


Shaker Dining Furniture by American Heirloom Furniture
Heritage Shaker Dining Suite
by American Heirloom Furniture

Our Formal Dining Table Heritage

Colonial, Shaker, Mission… there are many different styles of quality dining room furniture, rooted in our rich heritage passed down from the early American furniture craftsmen. Today, our ‘Heritage’ dining room furniture continues to evolve, assuring increased comfort and functionality in Your dining room, as well as increased durability with the minimum possible maintenance.

The focal point of every dining room, and many kitchens, is a beautiful hardwood dining table and it’s companion set of hardwood dining chairs. Today’s dining tables have certainly come a long way from the “board” of our Colonial forebears (literally a board laid on a pair of trestles). Perhaps, you are thinking, “A table is a table”. But wait, not all tables are created equal! Note with us the finer points of a true ‘Heirloom Quality’ dining table, and why it provides such supreme and lasting value.

We Don’t Build Quality Dining Tables The Way They Used To!

We work hard to ensure that each piece of today’s Heirloom Quality dining furniture is better in many ways than the original furniture of old that it is based upon. We apply the best proven designs and legacy joinery techniques that have evolved through generations of craftsmen, and we also take advantage of advances in furniture manufacturing technology and the quality of modern glues and finishes.

The Simple “Farm Table” evolved from the earliest “boards” used in the American colonies. The board was just that - a board set on a trestle or a braced leg base. Some of the earliest boards were made of 2 to 4 inch thick planks, and a massive base was needed to support such a heavy top. Tables evolved considerably as sawn lumber became more plentiful and thinner table tops braced with a narrow skirting could be supported upon more delicate turned legs.

Before the days of built-in cabinetry, the solid-top kitchen table was a must as a “work table”. Everything from kneading bread dough to grinding meat at butchering time was done on these sturdy tables. Early American Farm Table designs were characterized by their beaded skirting (aprons) and Colonial fingernail edge around the table the top. Look for the solid Colonial-style legs, which echo the turning motifs of the Windsor chairs of that period.

Today’s Heirloom Quality Farm Tables - retain the sturdy solid-top and are designed to function equally well as a place to prepare meals or to serve them. They also retain the proven and elegant styling of the best farm tables of earlier generations.

Colonial Farm Table with Optional Drawer by American Heirloom Furniture
Heritage Colonial Farm Table With Optional Drawer
by American Heirloom Furniture

Where space is limited, an Heirloom Quality Farm Table which fills the area “just right” may be Your best choice
The ideal solution for a kitchen, nook, or a small informal dining room!

The Draw-Leaf Extension Dining Table was an early attempt at making a table which could be enlarged when required. Prior to this time, long tables were generally solid-top tables used where a large group would dine on a daily basis, such as monasteries or colleges. The idea of a table that could be expanded when needed seems to have arisen in the sixteenth century. Draw-tables from that time use essentially the same sort of mechanism as those employed today. The extension leaves are stored under the ends of the table top. When needed, they are “drawn” out and up, then pushed back flush with the center top.

Todays Heirloom Quality Draw Leaf Extension Tables provide for simple and rapid extension of Your table top without the need to move the table or remove items from it. The leaves stow within the table structure when not in use, and are quickly and easily extended by one person when more table area is needed. Quality draw-leaf extension tables must be designed so that the extended draw-leaf interlocks with the table top, securing firmly into a level position. Typical draw leaf tables allow for 25 to 50% table area expansion.

Heritage Queen Anne Draw Leaf Table by American Heirloom Furniture
Heritage Queen Anne Draw-Leaf Extension Table
by American Heirloom Furniture

The Drop-Leaf Dining Table was another early attempt at making a table which could be enlarged. Invented during the sixteenth century, the earliest prototype had six or even eight legs, of which two or four “gate legs” would swing away from the central frame to support the leaves when raised. Later developments in the drop-leaf table included the smaller “butterfly” drop-leaf, so named for another swinging support, always used in pairs, and which, with some imagination, could be supposed to look like butterfly wings. Narrow-leaved “harvest tables” utilized simple pull-out supports, often two per leaf. Sets of “sectional” drop-leaf tables constituted some of the first very large formal dining tables.

Today’s Heirloom Quality Drop Leaf Tables also provide rapid expansion of table area when required, via their hinged leaves that simply lift into position. Quality drop-leaf extension tables must be designed so that the raised drop-leaf interlocks with the table top, securing firmly into a level position. Typical drop-leaf tables allow for 25 to 50% relative table area expansion, although some narrow table designs allow for much more relative expansion.

Colonial Round Drop-Leaf Table by American Heirloom Furniture
Heritage Colonial Round Drop-Leaf Extension Table
by American Heirloom Furniture

The Pedestal Extension Dining Table first appeared on the American furniture scene circa. 1840. Prior to that time, dining tables were extended either by raising drop-leaves or by placing two or three tables next to each other. Sometimes both of these options were used to create very large “sectional dining tables”. However, these were only for the wealthy, since even in their smallest form, sectional dining tables needed a very large room to store them in. Numerous variations on the pedestal extension table have appeared over the years. Some of the oldest had pedestals which split, revealing a turned center support leg. This type of table had some disadvantages. Principally, that too much lateral stress was placed on the slides. An improved version kept the pedestal intact and only split the top. The later invention of geared “equalizing” slides spelled great progress in the development of this genre of table.

Today’s Heirloom Quality Pedestal Extension Tables are built on the strength of understanding of generations of earlier craftsmen. One distinctive feature of extension pedestal tables is their geared “equalizer” slides which keep the extended top precisely centered over the stationary pedestal base. The leaves must also be designed to be easily and quickly inserted, and provide a level surface when in place.

Colonial Oval Reeded Double Pedestal Table by American Heirloom Furniture
Heritage Reeded Double Pedestal Extension Table
by American Heirloom Furniture
(With Geared "Equalizer" Slides Inset)

The Formal 4-Legged Extension Dining Table first appeared on the American furniture scene circa. 1850. It originally arose to meet the needs of a growing middle-class for a table that could grow with the family, or be extended when many people would be fed (such as at harvest time). Then considered as “cottage” furniture, an extended table still conjures up thoughts of the country farm houses of yore.

Following the American Civil War, the increased availability of wood-working machines enabled reproduction of relatively accurate table extension slides. These met the demand for a table that could be easily extended and closed, and that would not sag when it was fully extended. This feature is one that is still of highest importance in Your search for a quality extension table.

The incredible ‘Eency-Weency Table’ measures only 30" by 36" when closed, but extends to 10½ feet long with seating for 12 people. The leaves conveniently store in a versatile rack or inside the table.

Today’s Heirloom Quality Extension Dining Tables possess the advantageous ability to extend, up to more than three times their original length. However, this ability requires a carefully engineered structure in order to provide reliable service in the long-term. On the longest extension tables, self centering central support legs are required to add stability.

Extension slides must have sufficient slack to open easily, yet also be tight enough that the table will never sag in use. The leaves must be carefully designed to be easily inserted and provide a level surface. Extension tables, when closed, may comfortably seat 2, 4, or 6, depending upon the style.

When fully extended by adding more leaves, some extension dining table styles can comfortably seat up to 22 people!

Understand which features You should demand and which ones You should avoid in order to get the best value from Your next quality dining table purchase:

  • What To Insist On: - Find out exactly what to look for in a true 'Heirloom Quality Table' that will beautifully accommodate Your needs, and be easily maintained to last for generations.
  • What To Avoid: - Find out how to look for, identify, and avoid common table manufacturers cost-cutting steps that will simply not bear the burden of normal use in Your home.
  • Heritage Shaker Extension Table by American Heirloom Furniture
    Heritage Eency Weency Table by American Heirloom Furniture
    Heritage Shaker Extension Table (top)
    Heritage Eency Weency Extension Table (bottom)
    by American Heirloom Furniture


    For Fine Furniture Collectors
    Authentically Reproduced Antique Table Tops Available

    Antique Table Top Reproduction
    Fine furniture collectors will recognize that our craftsmen fore-fathers originally produced table tops by hand planning with a wooden block plane.

    Regardless of the skill of the craftsman who created the table, antique North American table tops naturally feature tear-outs, gouges and rippled surfaces.

    Antique table edges were hand spoke-shaved, exhibiting similar ‘imperfections’.

    Wooden Block Plane
    Wooden Block Plane
    (Courtesy www.uh.edu)

    Custom 'Collectors Table Option'
    Today’s Heirloom Quality ‘Classic’ and ‘Heritage’ fine dining tables feature essentially ‘perfectly’ finished tops and edges that are uniformly flat and even.

    However, You can request a craftsman hand-finished table top to reproduce an authentic antique finish.

    This custom ‘collectors table option’ is recommended for cherry wood rather than oak tables.

     

    Mennonite Furniture Studios American Heirloom Furniture - Only The Best Endures!

    NEXT>> Part 3 - What To Insist On When Buying Your Quality Hardwood Dining Table


    Uncompromised Beauty, Functionality, Durability, and Value
    The Quality Dining Tables of yesteryear were built to last by caring men who thoroughly understood their tools, materials and craft.
    Today, our Mennonite & Amish furniture makers undergo a long apprenticeship to develop keen eyes and skilled hands, and these expert craftsmen are dedicated to unhurriedly building Your dining furniture the right way - offering exceptional value without compromise!


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