The Full Nelson. George Nelson’s Gate Leg Dining #4656 for Herman Miller.
George Nelson Dining Table #4656 for Herman Miller restored by TC Woodcrafters.
George Nelson’s gate leg dining table #4656 was designed for the Herman Miller Company in 1946. The table illustrated was recently restored by my friends at Tim and Anne Donn at TC Woodcrafters in Traverse City Michigan. Woodcrafters beautifully restored the finish and damages that occurred from normal use. The table was produced from 1947-1960 and is shown in American Walnut. It was also manufactured in South American Prima Vera solids and veneers. The underside of the table top is stamped with #17. It is unclear if this a factory “batch” number or the 17th table produced.
This type of table gate leg table converting from a console table to a dining table borrows from traditional designs as far back as the 17th century Jacobean period. The table stylistic departure from traditional furniture as well as Nelson’s design accentuating the joints function into a design detail is unique in American mass produced casegoods of this period. The top featuring large notched style rule joint “knuckle joint” creates a beautiful interlocking pattern across the width of the top. The more refined rule joint with hidden hinges would have been the only acceptable method traditionally used on high-quality furniture. Here Nelson makes a feature of the joint on both top and the gate leg supports. More research needs to be done to see if Nelson borrowed this technique from Danish cabinetmakers or this construction detail unique to his work. This type of exposed knuckle joint was later widely adopted on dining tables by American Craft Furniture makers in the 1970’s. The Nelson table #4656 is in the permanent collection of the Vitra Design Musem in Germany. Dimensions H. 29.5″, W. 18.5″ – 65″ D.40″
The dining table was one of Nelson’s very early designs for Herman Miller. He was appointed the company’s first Director of Design in 1945. Max Depree the president of Herman Miller sought out George Nelson after the death of the great American designer Gilbert Rohde in 1944. Note: click on images to enlarge.
Nelson Table fully open
Underside of top showing spring catches to hold the legs in place when the table is closed
Nelson Table with hinge detail along edge of leaf
Top stamped #17. Hinge knuckle detail for drop leaf. A wire rod runs the width of the table to act as a hinge pin. A wood block is glued in to fix it in place.
Gate leg joint detail on center pedestal
Detail of typical rule joint construction used on traditional furniture
7 Drawer Desk in Walnut & Parchment.
The 7 Drawer Desk in Walnut & Parchment was inspired by the interest in modern furniture from France in 1930’s the 1950’s. This period of design is frequently described as “40 French Furniture”. In the late 1990’s when I was V.P. of Design and Product Development at John Widdicomb Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I produced a number of furniture collections based on this wonderful period of design. Designers of the 40’s period looked back on the opulent French Louis XVI Cabinet Makers and reduced the bronze ornamentation but kept the silhouette. The French designer Jean-Michael Frank is the acknowledged master of the distillation of 18c French interior design. Frank used parchment not only furniture but covered entire rooms with square panels wrapped with the skin. The 7 Drawer Desk is constructed of solid American Walnut with Parchment covering veneered panels. The walnut top is fitted with a recessed parchment panel that has a glass panel over the top for protection. The Greek key style pedestals are cantilevered over the open plinth. Polished Stainless Steel drawer pulls are graduated in size on the drawer fronts. The left pedestal features a unique drawer that functions as a small lock box and is illustrated below.
Please click on the images to enlarge.
Clear Desk in Solid American Walnut
The Clear Desk is handmade in solid American Walnut and is fitted with two drawers on each end. The drawers fronts feature beautiful inset circular Stainless Steel drawer pulls. The back of the desk is finished so that can be used in the middle of the room or against the wall. The finish is a hand rubbed oil and waxed to a satin luster. The dimensions are Length 54″x Width x 24″ x Height 30″.
Walnut & Bridle Leather Bar Stools
Walnut & Bridle leather bar stools are custom made in solid American Walnut. The bar stool seat and backrest are woven with 2.25″ wide x 3/16″ thick bridle leather from one of the finest Tanneries in the United States. The leather strips are ripped by hand from a whole finished cowhide then cut to the required lengths for the weaving. The edges of the strips are burnished and dyed before they are soaked in warm water bath, then they a woven tightly onto the polished Walnut bar stool frame. The leather strips are fixed with small screws and allowed to dry and achieve a wonderful tension when the process is complete. The bar stools frames are finely crafted from hand selected American Walnut planks that are chosen for their color and grain. The joinery on the rails and stretchers are mortise and tenon with exposed Walnut grain plugs used as a decorative element. The front legs are sculptural in form with a sweeping curve on two sides, the back legs flare gracefully at the bottom. The stools have a seat height of 24″ and are designed for a 36″ counter height. Seat depth is 13″. Width 17″. The height of the back is 36 1/2″. Custom sizes are available. Please click on image to enlarge.
Please click on images to enlarge.
Saddle Seat Bar Stools in Solid American Walnut.
The Saddle Seat Bar Stools are handcrafted in solid American Walnut. The sculpted seats are constructed in a frame and panel style construction with the seat rails shaped by hand to develop the contour and profile of the saddle. The trumpet foot style legs are thru mortise and tenon construction into the frame assembly. The Walnut leg stretchers are tenoned into each leg to create a very stable and strong construction. Each stool is carefully and oil and wax polished to warm glow. The stool size shown is 14″ wide x 10″ deep x 24″ seat height. The stools are designed for a 36″ counter height but custom sizes are available to meet your specific requirements.
The Chareau Tea Table with two drop leaves.
The Chareau Tea table was designed for the client so it could be used as a tea table in front of the sofa and as console table along the wall. Each leg moves independently on the hinge assembly at the top and bottom of the fixed center support post. Shown closed as a console table, The table top is made from four Walnut planks, Traditional drop leaf table rule joints were used for the construction of the hinged flaps. Shown with turned walnut stools designed by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller. The table was inspired by the work of the early 20th Century French architect Pierre Chareau. Dimensions are 42″ x 42″ x 25.5″ H. shown open. 42″ x 18.5″ closed. Please click on the images to enlarge.
Table folded closed
Table in open position
Stainless Steel hinge detail underside of top
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