Inspiration comes when you least expect it. I was in London last year for 100% Design. There were tons of beautiful things, but the plywood table that Carl Hansen built for their display (below) stuck with me. I wanted to copy it for my own dining table some day. That day finally arrived.
THE CARL HANSEN VERSION IN LONDON
This super long table struck me as the most elegant plywood construction I had ever seen. Since the joinery was also so easy to see and copy, I decided to take pics and bring the idea home. Key to the design was the closed ends, which make it very tidy and bold (but eliminates a seat on the end) and the double-layer design, which makes it much stronger and heftier than typical plywood fare.
MY MODERN PLYWOOD TABLE
For my own dining table, I decided to experiment with a different length and width. I wanted a long table that was still intimate, so I went narrower than the typical 35" wide American table. I also decided to use clear, smooth 3/4" Birch plywood, since I was going to live with this table longer than the display version in London.
I gave my measurements to Steve Tsevdos, my contractor, and he had the pieces cut off-site. We then assembled the table in my dining room in about 20 minutes. He used a nail gun (but screws would be fine) and also added glue to the top piece so that you can't see any nail holes on the top. In other words, the top piece is attached with glue and nails from the underside only.
What You Need
3/4" Birch plywood
Overall dimensions: 92" long, 30" wide, 29" height
Butcher block oil & wax
two pieces 30" x 28 1/4"
two pieces 30" x 27 1/2"
two pieces 89" x 13 3/4"
one piece 30" x 92"
one piece 30" x 90 1/2"
1. Glue and attach two brace pieces together.
2. Set up first sides and attach to brace with table upside down, so brace is resting on the floor.
3. Flip table and lay on first top. Attach to first side.
4. Attach second side to first top with glue and finish nails.
5. Attach second top to first top and second sides with glue and finish nails.
Since this pic has been taken, I've been oiling the plywood to seal it and give it a darker, warmer color. I haven't used it to eat on yet, but I can already tell that I'd probably want to go a few inches less wide to make it even more intimate.
- Edited from a post originally published July 1, 2013 - DF
(Images: Maxwell Ryan)