Early Oak Reproductions - British handmade furniture.


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"The design and finish is really a delight to both looks and feel. Thank you for an exceptional work of joinery."     Jo and Charlie, Suffolk


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How one of our bespoke oak coffee table designs evolved

It goes without saying that early original oak pieces are an enormous source of inspiration for our work. Whilst many reproductions (including ours), are close copies of originals, in their entirety, we have also carved out a niche (excuse the pun) for designing completely new pieces, using one or a combination of details from various early pieces. Of course, there is no such thing as a 17th century coffee table, so this practice comes in particularly useful, where there is actually no original to copy in the first place.

In the coffee tables featured in this article, we have used a type of baluster turning, where the bulbous part is at the bottom, like a tear drop. It is commonly known as a 'classical baluster' and here are a couple of early examples:

Small 17th century oak and walnut gateleg occasional table, from Period Oak
A small 17th century oak and walnut gateleg occasional table, with a good example of a slender classical baluster and ring turning.
© Photo reproduced by kind permission of Period Oak Antiques of Presteigne.

A Charles 2nd oak refectory table, circa 1680, with classical baluster turned legs
A Charles 2nd oak refectory table, circa 1680, with twin classical balusters (of a squatter nature), separated by a turned ring.
© Photo reproduced by kind permission of Period Oak Antiques of Presteigne.

With coffee tables, we can indulge in the early and rather attractive practice, of running the stretchers (that's the horizontal members that connect the legs at the bottom, as per the photo above), around the perimeter of the piece.  

Using this form of construction, the first example we made was designed by our managing director, Nicholas Berry, some years ago when he was still making furniture with his own hands and still using a drawing board! In the design, he uses a very squat version of the 'classical baluster with ring' turning, actually inspired from a James 1st period flour or dough bin.

Period style oak coffee table design
Design and working drawings, for our classical baluster oak coffee table, together with the inspiration behind the design.

Traditional style oak coffee table with chunky classical baluster turned legs
The finished first piece, complete with edge moulded stretchers and moulded rails, as well as the squat classical baluster and ring turnings.

Bespoke design doesn't necessarily mean starting completely from scratch. A proven good design can often be adapted slightly and, although it may be along similar lines, it may also have a different feel altogether.

With this in mind, using exactly the same baluster turned legs, moulded rails and stretchers, we created for another client, a large square version of the above example and added a planked pot-board, set inside and just under the top of the moulded stretchers.

Large square oak potboard coffee table with robust classical baluster turned legs
A large square oak pot-board coffee table, with baluster and ring turned legs, shown here in our clients Sussex home.

Our client was suitably pleased with the result:

"...thank you for a fantastic service. You and Chris were so helpful and knowledgeable but without being pushy in any way, so we really enjoyed choosing our items. Needless to say we are delighted with them but have to give a special mention to the coffee table which is a magnificent piece of furniture and has already become a talking point. Clearly if we ever sell the house the table will have to go with it but hopefully that wont be for many years to come!!"    

To see these pieces on our product pages, with descriptions, sample sizes and prices, click:

Oak coffee table in period style design.
Large square pot-board coffee table in period style design.

To see similar examples in our clients homes, please see:

Large square oak potboard coffee table in Sussex home
Period style oak coffee table in country house sitting room
Large oak coffee table & lamp table in old Sussex priory
Bespoke Traditional Style Oak Coffee Table in Country House
Period style oak coffee table in Wiltshire home sitting room
Large square oak pot board coffee table in panelled room
Large oak potboard coffee table in cosy cottage sitting room


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