Double Action Card Table


There is one fundamental design flaw that plagues almost all Georgian card tables to a greater or lesser extent and results in what we in the trade term the dreaded ‘smile’. The top flap normally consists of a pine carcass, with its bottom surface covered in baize and its top veneered in (say) mahogany. Any differential shrinkage over the years between the carcass and the veneer causes the flap to bow, usually with the centre upwards. By contrast, a tea table has veneer on both sides of the flap and the stresses are usually equal and opposite, cancelling each other out.

The safest way to avoid a possible warp is to make the carcass out of the same wood as the veneer, most commonly mahogany: the cost of the timber for the whole table is doubled as a result. Such expensive quality is rare but I recognised it fairly quickly when I attempted to lift an apparently mundane card table in a dingy provincial saleroom – the weight was extraordinary. At first I attributed it to the fact that it was a double card/tea table, with two flaps on a double-jointed hinge; then I spotted that the carcass wood was mahogany.

This is a classic Sheraton demi-lune design, with a fifth leg swivelling to support the flaps, the first revealing a tea table, the second a card table. Needless to say it is as flat as a pancake, as you may judge for yourself.


 
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