Bob Hoffa's Bubinga Table

Unique laminated stretcher system makes this table unusual.


    Here's a dining table made from figured bubinga, mahogany and walnut. It is reminiscent of timber frame construction, with unique pegged mortise-and-tenon joints.
     The bent laminations are mahogany, and the pegs are walnut. The legs and table top are solid bubinga--yes, it's heavy. There are also two leaves (not shown) which attach to the ends of the table by means of two wooden guides on the bottom of each leaf that slide onto extending wooden rails.
     The first table I built with this design was made from 4/4 ash, since that is all I had. The bubinga commission has the same finish thickness for the components, but the lumber was just over 1 1/16-in. thick in the rough. Because of its interlocked figure and unruly grain angles, it required abrasive thicknessing.
     The unusual bent-laminated stretcher assemblies--one near floor, the other floating the top--were each made of seven 1/8-in.-thick mahogany strips that I resawed on my band mill with a resaw attachment. The mill is pretty sensitive for a log machine. I dampened the strips, then glued and clamped them in a form.
    The curved parts of the stretchers on the original ash table were positioned intimately together, with a cherry strip projecting out from the interface. The bubinga table has wider proportions, so I used two auxillary stretchers to spread it's stance. The spring of the stretcher assembly allows for the coming and going of the top, so I hard-mounted it to the top with appropriate mounting blocks.
Tricky Joint      The featured joint is an "open-frame-wedged-thru tenon" that I milled on my Bridgeport milling machine to exact tolerance. It depends on a calculated amount of spring from the center cut-back, a subtly tapered wedge, and tiny shoulders on the outsides of the stretchers. I cut the mortises with a Makita portable timber-frame chain mortiser that is mounted on a salvaged surface grinder machine frame.
     Another design feature is the two end leaves that plug into retracting rails mounted under the tabletop. I finished the table with a dozen coats of linseed alkyd resin with flattening agent added.

. . . Bob Hoffa

ED'S NOTE: You can visit Bob's website at




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