NYC Trip Report, Part 3

Linda and Joel study the Nakashima table (that you can actually sit at and touch and everything!)

The day after our Makeville Studio spokeshave workshop Linda, Joel and I visited the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan. The Met is so large, the collection so vast that it defies description. Joel grew up nearby so this was one of his playgrounds. He led our tour of the various galleries and collections, particularly the ones with all the furniture.

Really nice furniture

But there was one table that we couldn’t figure out.

Three hinged tops?

Two leafs, simple: pull the table out from the wall, extend the extra leg that’s hiding behind, flip the top leaf over to double the table top surface and deal the cards. But three leaves?

Hinges on each leaf

Joel thinks you can swap out tops for different game boards (checkers or backgammon, perhaps). I decided that the middle leaf would just stick up to form a barricade between the two sides for playing battleship. We asked the guards but they had no idea. They did keep an eagle eye on us, though, because they sensed that we were that close to opening that sucker up. I asked Linda to create a diversion but Joel stopped us from going through with it. He hates handcuffs, apparently. Maybe something from his past. Anyway, does anyone out there know about these and how they work and what they’re for and and?

Anyway we saw remarkable things, many many remarkable things, and I doubt we saw a small fraction of the collection. Just amazing. Highly recommended.

Carved Balustraude — Joel’s learning to carve and spent some time gazing at this wonder
Incredible marquetry behind the two hams

Cloudy but warm; a walk-in-the-park day — which we did.

Central Park in late October
In Alice’s lap — Joel commented on how much easier it is to climb up there than it was when he was a kid

It was a great day in New York. One I’ll remember.

Author: Ron Hock

Owner of HOCK TOOLS (.com) and author of "The Perfect Edge, the Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers"

4 thoughts on “NYC Trip Report, Part 3”

  1. Dear Mr. Hock, thank you for these delightful shots! V. Very impressive balustraude carving and the 3 leaf table is quite a puzzle….why doesn’t the Met get someone to at least video/time lapse photo of how it opens? alas, we’ll have to just wonder…

  2. Hi,
    I’m actually a security guard at the MET, I hope that you guys were able to see the Roentgens special exhibition because there is a three leaved table there that has a special spring loaded backgammon part that pops up. The one in the American wing I would assume is a simplified version of this German made one which has different game boards for checkers, and playing cards. The leg that pivots out on the German one also has a simple adjustable piece of wood that accounts for the different leaves depending on which is in use.

    Here is a video of the Roentgens table:

    1. Wow! Thank you for responding to (and reading) this blog. Mystery solved! What a well-made video and with such a timely answer to my Museum Mystery post. We couldn’t stay for the Roentgen show — during our storm-enforced extra days in Brooklyn there was no way to get to Manhattan. So close! Anyone within range should seriously think about a trip to the Met. This show looks like one of those you’ll regret missing. Thank you so much for your response!

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