The Dining Table
by Emily Lore, BID, CHS
September 12, 2023
At no other time does a Dining Table shine as brightly as at Thanksgiving. In his novel “The Table Comes First”, Adam Gropnik emphasizes the central importance of the dining table to family and community. “Never before have we cared so much about food. With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik charts the America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes.” (Penguin Random House Canada, Sepember 2023). Friends gather around the dining table to share food, holidays and special occasions, harvests, rites of passage, each day's events and important discussions. Many memories are triggered by a dining table and the smell of a good meal or a glass of wine. A dining table is privy to the most intimate and celebratory events of a family.
A solid maple live edge table (pictured below), built by Live Edge Design nearly 20 years ago was recently brought back in to Live Edge Design for a modern facelift by the original customers. Discussions with them revealed that while they wanted to increase the seating capacity and modernize the look, they wished to save the wood, which was salvaged from a local tree as well as the special memories embedded in the table. Because the table was made from solid maple it could be re-worked and refinished and could be again used by the next generation in 20 years. There was opportunity to add more wood or leaves, but together it was decided that resin to the outside of the live edge would create a modern straight edge and make the table larger. The effect of clear resin on the outside edge of the table creates the impression of a “shoreline” and made the table markedly larger and, with the straight edge, easier to sit more people closer together.
The wood was stripped of all finish and placed in a mold to hold the epoxy resin which is poured in as a liquid. The resin is vacuum treated to prevent bubbles from forming and being trapped in the finished product. Once the resin is cured a few days later, the entire table is put through a giant planer and sanded to perfection. Fine woodworking is 20% joinery and 80% sanding. The original legs were able to be reused with just a thorough refinishing. Solid wood furniture has a near infinite ability to be reworked and refinished; it is always the best choice for heirloom furniture.
Gathering around the Thanksgiving table can bring out some of the best – and worst – conversations. In general, good things happen when we are brought together for meals. For instance, research shows that when children eat with their parents, they consume more vegetables and have higher self-esteem. If food is one common thing that brings people together, then the dining room table is, without a doubt, the home's soul. The dining table is a place of emotional value, perhaps it’s where you hosted a child’s birthday, or learned of tragic (or fantastic!) news in the family. It is a place for a focused audience where you can have one-to-one private discussions away from the prying eyes of others. Sisters share their deepest secrets, parents counsel their children, and kids can share the highlights of their day. The dining table also allows limited space in a home for families and friends to be unplugged from distractions by their gadgets or other technology.
The dining table has long been one of the most important elements of a home. As our dining habits change, it’s no secret that the function of a dining table changes with it. The ability to rework and refinish a dining table is something that has never before been grasped. Eating at the dining table doesn’t have to mean longer mealtimes. It’s simply a dedicated space for eating meals, so the right dining table should actually make it a more efficient process. A dining table is a place that fuels conversations, strengthens bonds, cements relationships, and weaves memories - the dining table is the heart of a home.
Live Edge Design is a full-service custom furniture design and build company, located in the
rainforest of Vancouver Island, B.C.
Our work can be found all over the world in luxury hotels, homes and extraordinary dining establishments.
From sourcing and milling trees to drying, design, production, and finishing, the Live Edge workshop
does it all with creativity and quality.