Furniture Styles: Waterfall Tables

Waterfall Oak Coffee Table

In the realm of interior design and furniture craftsmanship, few styles are as visually captivating and conversation-starting as the waterfall table. Originally these tables were in vogue in the 70s and 80s and you would commonly see the style on tables and benches. With its seamless flowing lines and organic beauty, this unique furniture piece adds a touch of sophistication to any space. Historically the waterfall style simply refers to the rounded edges of the top of wood pieces which started becoming popular in the 1920s. Not all waterfall style furniture pieces have been made out of wood, many were also made out of glass, resin, and other types of plastics which is part of what led to their popularity in the 70s and 80s where the style popped up again in full force. Today we are seeing the rise of the style again, and here at Oregon Woodworks we are happy to see it!

What is a Waterfall Table

A waterfall table for us at Oregon Woodworks is a type of furniture that showcases the natural beauty of a single wood slab. Its distinctive feature lies in its continuous, uninterrupted grain that flows seamlessly from the tabletop down to the floor, mimicking the cascading flow of water – hence the name “waterfall.” The design emphasizes the raw, organic qualities of the wood, creating a striking visual effect that can become the focal point of any room. The best slabs to choose are those that have continuous lines that extend at least from before the cut to the bottom and through it to the floor.

Choosing the Wood Slab

The process of creating a waterfall table begins with the careful selection of a wood slab. This is a critical step as it determines the table’s overall aesthetics and character. When choosing a wood slab, factors such as color, grain pattern, and size are taken into consideration. Popular choices for waterfall tables include richly grained woods like walnut, acacia, cherry, and maple. Each wood species has its unique charm, and it’s important to select one that aligns with the desired aesthetic and complements the surrounding décor.

Processing the Wood Slab: Once the ideal wood slab has been chosen, it has a few more steps before becoming a beautiful piece of furniture. The slab is carefully flattened and sanded to create a smooth, even surface while retaining the natural contours and imperfections that give it character.

Turning A Wood Slab into a Table

The transformation from a raw wood slab into a beautiful waterfall table is a labor-intensive process that requires skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. Here are the key steps involved:

  • Shaping: The wood slab is cut to the desired dimensions, considering both the tabletop and the legs. If you cut in the wrong spot, then the table won’t be the correct height. The edges of the slab are then meticulously shaped to create the cascading effect, with one side flowing seamlessly into the legs.
  • Joinery: Precision joinery techniques, such as mortise and tenon or dowel joinery, are used to secure the cut off portion of the slab to the tabletop at a right angle. These types of joints are essential to maintain stability and ensure the longevity of the table.
  • Finishing: After the piece is assembled, the table undergoes a finishing process. This includes sanding the entirety to a smooth finish, followed by the application of a finish in the form of oils, varnishes, or lacquer to protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty. The choice of finish depends on the desired look and level of durability. Personally, us here at the shop love to see a lighter finish that simply enhances the natural look of whichever wood is in use. But there is always a place for more fun and deep finishes on these and other pieces!

Waterfall style tables offer a harmonious blend of nature’s elegance and refined craftsmanship. From the careful selection of a wood slab to the intricate process of shaping, joining, and finishing, each step contributes to the creation of a stunning furniture piece that seamlessly integrates into its surroundings. The allure of a waterfall table lies in its ability to captivate with its flowing lines, showcase the wood’s innate beauty, and become a timeless centerpiece within any space. Whether it graces a modern home or a classic interior, the waterfall table serves as a testament to the harmony between nature and human creativity. If you want a table in this or any style made specifically for your space, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here!

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