Federal Details Transform a Simple Table
Tapers, veneer, and inlay give this table style to spare
Synopsis: A Federal piece doesn’t have to be big or complicated to stand out. Combining details in a smart way can enliven even the simplest form. Without the banding on the legs and waist, and the stringing and cock beading on the drawer, this table by Steve Latta is rather plain. But add those Federal details to the mix and the piece goes from simple to stylish. Learn how to use these Federal details to transform your own furniture.
Since i began building period furniture more than 30 years ago, I’ve developed an affinity for the Federal style. The neoclassical lines and detailing in the furniture really speak to me.
A Federal piece doesn’t have to be big or complicated to stand out. Combining details in a smart way can enliven even the simplest form. Take this table, for instance. Stripped of the banding on the legs and waist, and the stringing and cock beading on the drawer, the piece is plain and unassuming. But add those details into the mix and the table goes from simple to formal, drawing attention from every angle.
The anatomy of the table is straightforward, so this article is going to focus more on adding the Federal details than on the construction of the piece. I’ll tell you how to make the double-tapered legs, and on p. 67, I’ll demystify the process of making and inlaying banding and stringing. Then, in the Master Class on p. 82, I’ll demonstrate how to use the traditional technique of hammer veneering to add walnut burl veneer to the drawer front, and cock beading to the edges of the drawer. Let’s start with the leg tapers.