Dining Tables – Old & New

A tour of some of the custom dining room tables La Puerta Originals has created using materials such as antique Mexican doors and ox yokes, antique carved panels overlaid with glass, antique carved columns and much more

Just finished re-doing the Dining Tables library book (an old blog entry, A Visit to the Library would explain what that means), so I thought I would share the “Best Of” in a blog entry.  Understand that some of the photos are old, and not of the best quality, but the pieces in the photos are too good not to share.

We have done a big variety of tables, the results of clients’ needs and/or suggestions, or Scott’s proposals.  They run the gamut from a good number of ox yoke tables, to incredibly long, to tables that convert from square to round or are extended with leaves, painted and naturally finished.

 To start with we have a couple of versions of the ox yoke tables.  It takes a number of yokes to make the legs and supports of the ox yoke tables.  The stretcher, running the length of the table is usually an entire yoke, with the two neck pieces on the end connected by the carved portion that spans between the animals.

Each leg is usually the section of the yoke that goes over the ox’s neck, turned on its side, bowing outward, and these are joined by a shortened section of the piece connecting the two.

The table top is usually an antique door, of Spanish Colonial or Mexican origin, often decorated with clavos and L or T-strapping.

This table features a dark, hand-rubbed finish, with what look to be the original clavos, with a nice, worn patina.

This next one is a light, blonde finish that shows up the clavos and L-straps nicely.

Here is a smaller version, in a warm reddish-brown finish, clavos and L and T-strapping.

This is a very long ox yoke table that was in our showroom.  It was refinished and modified with the addition of the end leaves that can be inserted directly into the table ends.

It has rather small clavos, and the L and T-straps are inlaid into the table.

This one is a super duper long table.

Here the yoke is upside down.  We do have arched carving pointing downward, but you can see that the thicker part that actually goes over the ox neck is facing upwards.

The brace is extended with beautifully carved pieces in a sweeping Y reaching for the legs.

The legs are wonderfully beefy turned pieces, two at each end and two supporting the middle section of the table.  I would say this table seats at least 20 people.

This is another table in the super duper long category.

It seats 16 people.

It features a custom carved stylized “yoke” running under the center of the table, and again we have that sweeping Y at each end.

The legs are carved in a rustic manner, rather than being turned.

Here we have it with the chairs, finished with leather padding and bronze upholstery tacks.

These were tables that we did for The Nature Conservancy.  I am guessing they were for a cafeteria.

There was a set of sixteen longer tables, seating maybe 4-6, and a set of eight smaller tables, seating maybe 2-4.

This table is interesting.

It is listed as a “Monastery Table”, but here it is used as a dining table with bench seating.  The tabletop is original antique, refinished.

I can’t decide if the legs are original to the table or not.  I don’t think so.

Unfortunately, we only have the benches before they were upholstered, so you will have to use your imagination to replace the black paint.  The black paint always means that that area will not be seen.  Sometimes it is because cabinets abut, or that a bookcase is going to be built into a wall, but in this case it means that the seating will be covered with padding and upholstery.

Here is another table with bench seating that is to be padded.

The banco is custom-built to fit into a breakfast nook bump out (I asked Christina, and that is the term, I didn’t make it up), and the table curves into the bench seating.  I love those nice heavy, carved legs.

I have always thought those spaces so charming, but they almost always need something custom to make them work well, and here we have the custom breakfast nook table and banco!

I know it is not the dining table, because, aside from the casual feel, the large dining table for this client in also featured in this entry.

Moving on, we have the convertibles or the converted.  Here is one from a set of three convertible dining tables built for the same client.  They go from square to round, with the extensions tucking away neatly under the table.  The carved legs end in scrolled feet.

Then we have a smaller version of a convertible table that a client brought in to have permanently converted into a round table.

My guess is that the aim was to preserve the really lovely, again, carved, scrolled feet, while making the piece into a more useful table for the client.

The top of the table was removed and set into a larger, thicker, more stable tabletop.

That is one of the great things about the work that LPO does, is to make thing work better, fit better, be more useful.

We have a bunch of tables that convert with leaves.  This is a pretty substantial table in and of itself, but insert the two leaves at either end of the table and you have space for at least two more at Thanksgiving dinner.

The table legs are made with sections from antique columns, so each leg is unique, and the stretcher running the length of the table has a graceful curve at each end.  The finish is a warm combination of a number of honey shades.

The table top is inset with L and T-strapping, accented with large clavos and is already set with candle holders made from the finials of antique dowry chests.

This graceful little table can also be extended with leaves on either end.  The top of the table is inset with intricately carved fragments from an antique door surround, a detail that is continued in the leaves.

The legs are cut into scrolls, and the underside of the table is fitted with custom forged ironwork.

Next up in our convertibles category is a set of two square tables that convert to a big long table, with the addition of a matching leaf that is set between the tables.   The tables are inset with carved material from an antique door surround, as is the leaf, and the bases are made from antique column sections, and antique corbels.


We have done some interesting things with corbels, either antique, or freshly carved, in the construction of dining tables.

In this example, the corbels are plain, the only carving being a bevel at the end of the slope.  They are the feet and table supports, set at either end of a section of elaborately carved column, making the table legs, joined with a stretcher cutting through the column section and adorned at each end with a finial from an antique dowry chest.

The table top is inset with antique carved panels, with the finish touch being that each separate panel is topped with inset glass, as opposed to being overlaid with a single sheet of glass.  That is really a nice detail.

This is a handsome little table, probably for a breakfast nook, or the like.

It is fashioned from heavy, reclaimed lumber, inset with T-straps and large clavos.  The legs are made, again, with nice, heavy lumber, with the feet carved into scalloped corbels.

This is a very dramatic dining table that really celebrates the detail in the antique corbels.  Unfortunately, the glass was installed on-site, so I don’t have a photo, but it was set with a very thick slab of tempered glass.

The top of the corbel upon which the glass sits was scooped out, and inlaid with additional carved material that in a way becomes part of the tabletop. The feet of the table are inverted corbels that are then topped with sections of intricately carved columns, forming the legs, and they are topped with two additional corbels, forming the support for the heavy tabletop.  An intricately carved stretcher is inserted, mortise and tenon-style, into the section of carved column that forms the legs, for a very solid table base.

None of this beautifully carved antique material is obscured by a solid tabletop.

Here is another table that was topped with glass, again showcasing all the wonderful detail of the table base.

This is one of those that I was saying, the photos aren’t great, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the table.  Here it is before the glass was installed.

And then, we are lucky enough here to be able to see the table with the glass, which has an accented beveled edge, installed.

I include this next table because I thought the progression was interesting.  This is the table as it was when it originally came out of the finish shop.

We have the feet formed by inverted, carved corbels, the legs formed by unadorned sections of antique columns, and then two carved corbels atop, forming the base for the tabletop.  The stretcher is run through the column legs, with either end being capped by an antique finial. The thick tabletop has a nice, beveled edge. And then here we have the table set up with the chairs.

You can see that the corbel extends too far for those seated at the side to sit comfortably at the end of the corbel feet.  The solution was to trim the uncarved ends of the corbels off, to shorten the feet so that everyone could sit comfortably at the table.  Here we have the before and after photos.

This table, too, went under a modification.

It is somewhat similar to one of the tables we saw earlier in the leaves section.  The tabletop is inset with antique floral carving,

and the legs are carved in a sort of take-off on the outward bowing of the ox yoke, ending with the feet carved in a scroll style. The legs are joined with some very graceful curling ironwork.  A lovely table, so what was to be modified?  Well, if you look at the table from the side, you can see that the scale of the tabletop doesn’t really match the legs.  It looks thin in comparison with the thickness of the legs.  So the tabletop was removed, and beefed up, with some additional beveling around the edges, resulting in a much more balanced look.

The modification for the next table was the color.  Here we have the table and chairs as they first came out of the shop.

The tabletop is set with L-strapping, and the heavy, turned legs are accented with flowers at each exposed corner.  The chairs have the floral accent both at the top and directly below the seat.  The finish is a warm honey color, giving the set a casual feel.  The color was then changed to this dark brown, with the result of a more formal feel.

Speaking of tables with heavy legs and a honey finish, this table went around the block several times.

I just love it.  With the beefy legs with the rope design, the graceful arch at table ends and the heavy stretcher running the length of the table and then the reclaimed planking of the tabletop – yummy!

It was in the showroom for some time,

and it went through a number of client files, but I think it was always as a springboard for another table design.

One of the last client files it appeared in, it was accompanied by this table,

so I don’t know if the client got two huge dining tables, or if, again, the ultimate table was loosely based on the rope-legged table.  This table is slightly more slender in scale.  Instead of being turned, the legs are made from sections of antique columns.

The same style of arched end piece is employed, though instead of being inserted into the legs, it looks as though it is clamped onto them.  And the top is made either from reclaimed Douglas fir, or pine.

I do think that this was ultimately the table that the client chose, and that it is interesting to see the progression from inspiration to final product.  And I don’t know who ultimately ended up with the rope-legged table, but I envy them.

This table has a similar feel, with the warm honey color and the heavy legs, but here the rope motif is in the table edge.

These next two tables also have very heavy legs, but that is where the similarity to these past few tables we’ve seen end.  The tables themselves are quite similar, but, as you will see, that is no coincidence.  When people come to meet with us, one of the first stops is the library.  It is here that they start winnowing down their choices from the vast possibilities open to them.  Really, the only limit to what we can build at La Puerta Originals, is the imagination.  But the books help to guide the choices, but marking pieces in ways such as, “I like the finish on this piece, and the carving on that piece”, or, “I like the legs on this piece, but not the top, and I want a more colorful finish”, and so on, until there is a clear vision of what is ultimately desired, and then Scott goes to work, drawing up the ideas.  I have to laugh here, because one of the pieces chosen for raw material on this project was the rope-legged table.  I told you it bounced around a lot of client files, and here it showed up again!

But the resulting table is nothing like that table, so it was the scale of that table that told Scott that the client wanted beefy construction.  And then I am guessing that the client wanted antique and carved material incorporated into the table instead of the turned legs of the rope-legged table, and they also chose an antique Mexican door instead of the planking. And that is how we ended up at the finished product of this fabulous table.

We have the antique Mexican door with incorporated into the top.

It is fleshed out with other antique material, which is joined in a number of styles, with a puzzle-like feel.

And we have the antique carved columns deconstructed and reassembled in the legs,

and the floral carved fragment in the stretcher.

That was just an incredibly unique table.

Except that it wasn’t.  At least, not for long.  It was completed in July of 2004, and the next table was completed in October of the same year. Unless things are really crazy busy, our lead times average 4-6 weeks, so my guess would be that this next client saw the table in progress in the shop, or when it was just completed, and wanted something similar, and here we have the result.

It is a shorter and wider table, and the legs are more squared off and symmetrical, but the construction is very similar.  The antique material, carved columns and fragments

mounted between graduated platforms, with an intricately carved stretcher attached to a thick piece of carved material that joins the legs.

There were the slight differences in the squareness and symmetry of the legs, but the top of the table is really quite different. The first table incorporated an antique door and other rough antique planking that was assembled into the tabletop.  This tabletop is made with reclaimed Douglas fir and finished to a smooth shine of perfection.

I can’t top those two tables, so that must mean this is the end.  I hope to see you soon with more recent pieces.  The guys have been pedal to the metal, even working Saturday’s, so there is lots to show you!

No two pieces are the same.

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