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!
David (Tue PM TG) –
Here are a few pics of a little table I just finished. It is made from a plank of Tasmanian myrtle, following a design shown in Fine Woodworking as a “One board table”. The biggest challenges were cutting the fake “cabriole” step on the upper legs, and the complex tapering of all the legs which needed a template, band saw, spoke shave and card scrapers. It is finished with Danish oil except for the top which got polyurethane for water resistance.
Karen (Wed AM TG) –
The desk top is Vic ash veneered plywood with a solid timber edge. The drawer, legs and shelves are all solid timber whilst the panels are veneered plywood.
Dominoes have been used to make the cabinets. The most difficult part was deciding how to cut the veneered plywood as the figure on that piece was very attractive and most of it is not seen in the desk in situ being up against walls.
The desk is finished in Cabot’s Danish Oil with the exception of the top which is finished with water based Integrain Ultra Clear to ensure it stands up to the use it will get.
Bernard (Thu AM TG) –
It was built following a request from my wife for a bench to go into our outside bathroom at the beach house. Accordingly, a George Nelson design was selected and built using Accoya, which in this case is pine that has been treated with “vinegar” to render it more durable for outdoor applications. You can Google Accoya to find out more information on the treatment.
The challenges in such a piece were in trying to accurately cut the multiple joints of the deck and the angled finger joints for the legs. The deck joints were cut on the router table and cleaned up by hand, while the leg joints were cut using a Verities magnetic saw guide. Needless to say it was very time consuming.
The Accoya was very soft and great care was needed to reduce the incidence of tearout.
Epoxy glue was used for its strength and durability. It’s also good for filling gaps where my craftsmanship was found a bit wanting.
The deck of the bench has been finished in clear polyurethane, and the legs are simply painted KD hardwood. I think the contrast works well.
Karen (Wed AM TG) –
Here are some photos of my third project completed recently at MSFW… another two bed side tables! These are made out of Fijian mahogany with the drawers in American Rock Maple. I used the domino for the first time to do these joints.
In comparison, my first lot of bed side tables were made out of Vic Ash with strips of blackwood in the top and each shelf (see last photo) and the joints were done using dowels.
I put one coat of shellac and several coats of Danish oil on the Ash and Blackwood tables. I did the same on the table legs and sides of the Mahogany tables and have used the water based Integrain clear on the Maple drawers.
I am doing the top of the latest bedside tables with oil based cabothane gloss and then Danish oil.
Mel (Wed AM TG) –
I wanted to make an elegant table with a bit of an Asian feel to it, for my entrance hallway. I roughed up the design, and then on the advice of my instructor I added a lens-shaped drawer. I used Sydney Blue Gum, with the exception of the sides of the drawer, which are of Maple for colour contrast. I found the Blue Gum fairly good to machine and to hand-plane, with a good tight and generally parallel grain. Where the grain went a bit twisty, I just avoided machining, and used scrapers instead. I joined the frame with mortise/tenons at the corners, reinforced by wedges, with hand-cut dovetails on the drawer and sliding dovetails to secure the drawer slides. The leg tapers were rough cut on the table saw and then hand-planed and scraped.
The drawer is very slender, just 35mm top-to-bottom, with a depth of 25mm. With the allowance for the plywood bottom, there is only one dovetail holding the back end together.
I found when finishing the table that the Danish oil caused the drawer slides to thicken slightly. So I had to carefully sand off the slides to release the drawer. I then waxed the slides.
I polished the table with Danish oil and finished off with wax.