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HE table consists of a flat, level surface, suitable to receive what ever may be piaced upon it, supported on one or more uprights. The word table properly applies to the top which in early times was called a board, and it was, indeed, nothing more, the supports being trestles not attached in any way to the top itself. The top may be made of wood, marble, glass, etc., and is spoken of accordingly as a wooden table, marble table, glass table, etc. If the material is not mentioned it may be supposed to be of wood. The name of the material is sometimes linked with the geometrical form of the top; thus, a square table, a circular marble table, an oval slate table, etc.
Tables are made high or low, according to the purpose for which they are used, and may be either with or without drawers. They are composed' of three parts—the top, the frame and the legs. Plate I. The top has been described above. The frame is composed of horizontal rails immediately beneath the top and parallel with its edge. It is sometimes omitted on small tables, called "stands," but is common for the larger varieties. It serves as a means1 of binding the supports and top together as well as strengthening the top, which might otherwise sag beneath its load. The depth of frame gives apparent as well as real solidity to the whole structure. The legs are the supports for the table, and may be secured in several ways to the frame, or its equivalent. There may be but one leg, or post, directly under the center of the top, and ending at the floor in a spreading foot, thus forming a "pillar table." There may be two uprights, one at the middle of each end of a rectangular top, terminating in spreading feet, usually connected by a horizontal rail, near the floor. There may be three, four, or more legs, but four are most frequently used. These legs may be of an endless variety of shapes, and decorated by mouldings, carving, inlay, etc.
On Plate II. are shown twelve legs which can be termed elementary forms, as nearly all others can be reduced to one of these. They are shown as chair legs, but they differ from table legs in proportions only. By comparing the plans and elevations the drawings explain themselves clearly; but it is desirable to study particularly numbers 11 and 12. Eleven is the "bandy leg" with the ball and claw foot used on "Dutch" and "Colonial" furniture. In many ways it resembles 12, which is the "Louis XV." or "French bandy leg." This latter is much lighter, more graceful and ornamental than the Dutch form, but it at times seems too frail to support the weight it carries; and, again, the curved lines make it appear as if bending- beneath the strain. In many of the exaggerated patterns of these legs the violent curvature causes the defects not only to become more prominent but actually makes the leg weak. If the curvature is great the vertical grain of the wood crosses it at one or more points, and at each of these places there is danger of the leg breaking. By examining the drawings Nos. 11 and 12 (a larger drawing of 12 in three position« is shown on Plate III.) it will be seen that a vertical line may be drawn throughout the entire length of the leg without intersecting its curved outline. This vertical line represents, then, a portion of the stick from which the leg is cut that has not had the strength weakened. The leg increases in strength directly in proportion as the distance between the contour lines and such a vertical widens. The draughtsman is to observe that, although moulded and cut in irregular forms, the cross section of this leg at any place is practically square, and that in making it a square stick is first sawn so as to have the shape shown as front and side elevation (Plate III.) and then turned over at right angles, on the vertical axis, and the same form cut again. As a result the diagonal view will curve as shown. When the leg is complete and casually examined it is seen in the diagonal view. It is with the recollection of such a view in mind that the designer too frequently lays out the curve for the front and- side elevation, giving them the sharp sweep he really intends for the diagonal resultant curve. When the work is made from such a drawing the draughtsman is surprised to find how great the curve is. In designing the bandy leg the proper method is to draw its three elevations and plans as on Plate III. and study the outlines carefully till sure they are right.
Whatever may be the shape of table legs they should be proportioned to the dimensions of the top that they may not seem either too frail or stronger than necessary for the purpose of support. Occa-
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