The Cluny Table: A Bare Bones Version


Cluny Table: The Bare Bones VersionOne of my objectives in researching period furniture is to find designs simple enough so that lots of people can make them for themselves; I sometimes teach a class at Pennsic entitled “Portable Period Furniture You Can Build in Your Dorm Room. My first version of the Cluny table was somewhat simpler than the original, since I left off a number of ornamental details that would have been difficult, perhaps impossible, for me to recreate. It was still quite a lot of work to build and a good deal of trouble to assemble and disassemble. A sufficiently talented and energetic college student could probably build it  in his dorm room with the tools available to him—I know of one who built quite an impressive small siege engine under similar constraints—but it would be a lot of work.

For my second try, I did a bare bones version—mechanically speaking the same table, but simplified down to make it as easy to build and as inexpensive as possible. Drilling a round hole is a lot easier than chiselling a square one, so I made the holes round. A dowel in a drilled hole of the right size makes a pretty tight fit, so I left off the pegs that held the posts into the sockets in the original. I made other modifications along similar lines, and used inexpensive softwood—2x4’s for the base and support, 1x8’s for the table itself. The result was a design that cost less than $25 in materials and took about four hours to make. The figure above shows the assembled table, the two below show  the disassembled pieces and their dimensions.

The construction should be clear from the pictures and the previous article. The table top is made by gluing three lengths of 1x8 edge to edge, with four additional pieces glued underneath for reinforcement. It could have been made from one piece of plywood, but although a little less work it would not look as nice. The tabs are glued to the bottom of the table top, with 3/8” wooden pegs as additional support. Each tab has a 9/16” hole for a horizontal peg, running through the ½” hole in the corresponding support to attach the table to the supports—I made the holes in the tabs a little bigger than the pegs to avoid having too tight a fit. A ¾” dowel in a ¾” hole makes a pretty tight fit, so I sanded the dowels down a little at the ends and rubbed beeswax on them for lubrication.

The table is a little under two feet square. It should be straightforward to scale the design up to something that four, or even eight, people could eat around.

Pieces for the table

 Table Pieces with Dimensions