Peter (Wed AM TG) – 

I have never studied design, or even read much about it. For a functional piece of furniture, I am a firm believer in function dictating form. For a coffee table, that is very simple. All you need is a flat surface of the desired dimension at the desired height and then you are free to do as you like. For furniture to appeal to me, it must have a dynamic quality which makes you want to move your eyes over it (of course, after touching it). Sometimes, but rarely, this will be achieved with the grain of the timber. For instance, a piece in Black-Hearted Sassafrass will make your eye travel over it; however, with a big grain or figure, the piece of furniture can dominate the room in which it is located. I did not want this to occur with the coffee table. Although the Redgum is quite heavily figured, it is not a figure which commands the eye or creates any movement.

I came up with a dual answer to this issue. First, I had seen somewhere, I cannot remember where, a chair with legs using reverse angles which had created the impression that the chair was walking on its elbows. I tried to re-create this impression with the legs of the table. I think that impression is created here, but next time I would increase the angle a degree or two.

The second way I tried to create some movement in the table was with the central display of wood shavings in epoxy. I am pleased with the result as your eyes are drawn to look at the shavings, and when you realise what they are, to look at their various shapes, sizes and configurations.  Additionally, as the shavings flow over the table top and into the third leg, they give an impression of a waterfall of shavings.  This, with the asymmetry of the third leg, adds to the sense of movement.

I think the more woodwork I do, the fussier I become with the quality of the finish. As, inevitably, hot coffee or tea cups will be put on the table, I wanted to use a heat resistant finish. I chose a buffed and waxed varnish. However, the R

Redgum had many voids, holes, cracks and splits. These, and the central feature, meant that I spent many hours filling the table top with epoxy and cutting it back to flat. I got there in the end, but the finish took so long to complete to a level with which I was satisfied, many times the table was at considerable risk of becoming firewood!

 

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