Karen's Drop Leaf Table.
Karen asked me if I could build a table that was small but could expand to allow a couple of people to sit around it and have a meal. We discussed the project and decided on a drop leaf table that would stand against the wall like a hall table when folded but would allow for comfortable seating when the leafs are locked in the up position.
there were two tricky parts to the project. One was the finish. I made the table out of hard maple and Karen wanted it to be black. I could have painted it but I wanted the character of the wood to show. I decided to try to ebonize the maple. I started with a black aniline dye and coated the wood. The dye coat dried to a charcoal color. I wanted it to be darker so I used an ebony stain on top of the dye. I topcoated with Poly and I had a real hard time getting a smooth surface. I ended up applying a coat and wet sanding with Mineral Spirits numerous times. Eventually I decided enough was enough and I called it done. The table looks good - the finish is black and shiny but the wood grain shows through and gives a marble look to the table top.
The other hard thing was deciding how to lock the leafs in the up position. I did a lot of research and decided to mount two pairs of sliding rails to support the leafs.
These disappear into the base of the table when the leafs are down and they have a small leather tab on the end to make it easy to grasp them.