Early Oak Reproductions - British handmade furniture.


Buy with confidence. Trading standards approved

“We absolutely love the table. It's a beautifully crafted piece of furniture & lovely to think of all the happy times we'll enjoy around it for years to come.”     Rachel, Cambridgeshire


Click to View Products by Category

Dining Table Stretcher Layout Designs

The majority of original 16th and 17th century dining tables, whether oak, walnut or fruitwood, we're made with all round, or 'box' stretchers (see first diagram below). During this period (particularly the earlier part), stools were far more common place than side chairs and, unsurprisingly, sitting on a stool feels perfectly at home with this configuration. Knowing there is no back, the sitter is naturally projected forwards, without actually having to be partly under the table. Furthermore, whilst seated on a stool, your feet instinctively rest on the actual stool stretchers, or on the table stretcher immediately in front. So, several centuries ago, this layout was considered absolutely fine and there was no reason to modify it.

Curiously, the situation changes as soon as we sit on a chair. We feel compelled to shuffle under the table, even by a small amount, but are constrained by the stretcher. Moreover, stools could be rotated and stacked away underneath the table, on top of the peripheral stretchers. Chairs cannot, and would therefore be at odds with our natural desire to tuck them neatly away, when not in use. (Note that there are a few styles of chairs, with high placed side stretchers, that can be stored halfway over the peripheral table stretchers; traditional ladder-backs, for example).

So nowadays, we tend to make our tables with a default single centre stretcher, thus eliminating any of the aforementioned hindrances. Apart from the slight deviation from authenticity, the downside, if you can call it such, is that there is a slight loss of visual strength to the table (compare the top two diagrams). To a degree, this can be retrieved by employing paired centre stretchers (Twin 'H' Layout below). However, in reality this is not of any real issue, for as soon as you place a set of chairs around the table, they pretty well obscure what's going on at the base of the table anyway.

There are various ways of modifying the standard centre stretcher layout, if desired. So I have drawn, and briefly described the options below, including applied capping to original box stretchers which can, of course, be used on any of the other layouts:

Dining Table Stretcher Layout Options

Dining table stretcher layouts
Drawings by Nicholas Berry.

All our table prices include the standard 'H' layout stretcher configuration, shown top right. We will gladly quote for any other option, if required.

As always, we are here to help and will be only too pleased to assist on any aspect of table design, if need be.

Author: By Nicholas Berry
Bespoke Reproduction Early Oak Furniture Specialist

Nicholas Berry, author of Dining Tables Stretcher LayoutsFrom a small boy at infant school, I've had a passion for early furniture and architecture, embracing the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. I've spent almost three decades designing and making replica early oak furniture (and architectural woodwork)...with my own hands!

Nowadays, together with a team of highly skilled and equally passionate craftspeople, I use that valuable experience helping clients commission, from our company, the very best in bespoke oak reproduction furniture, with a particular emphasis on personal service.

Circle Nicholas Berry on Google+ Profiles (opens in a new window)

© Early Oak Reproductions


All our prices include VAT and free mainland England delivery.   Details here of our UK and overseas delivery service

Easy ways to place your order and pay...

1. You can simply place your order here on our website by using our intuitive selection boxes (on any of our product pages) and then continue through to your basket page (you'll need to register with us first - see 'Login/Register'. This will then take you through to the secure server of WorldPay, where you can pay your deposit for bespoke pieces, or full payment for accessories.

2. Alternatively, you can email or phone your order through, or visit us personally at our showroom. Click here for contact details.  We accept BACS transfer, cheque, credit card or debit card payments.

However you want to order, we've made it both straightforward and safe (see our accreditation's below).

Safe shopping - online & offline:

safe online shopping starts with shopsafe Buy with confidence. Trading standards approved Secure shopping Mastercard, Visa, Visa Debit, Maestro


Copyright © 2020 Early Oak Reproductions / Privacy Statement / Website Solutions by Encompass Design