Coffee Anyone? (3)

In the week or so since my last post in this thread, I’ve massaged out the design a bit further, and now am at the point where I have submitted ‘final’ drawings to the client. Previous posts may be located in the blog archive to the right of the page.

The drawings are, let’s say, 95% there, though I expect I’ll probably want to make a minor change or three as the construction proceeds. That’s the way it always happens for me and it is a good, iterative process I do believe. It’s called “design” and “build”, and the points connect as if in a circle, if you know what I mean.

I’ve had a couple of glass samples sent to the client, so the glass tint, or lack thereof, remains an open question as of yet. The client doesn’t like to see a greenish hue in glass, so both choices I have put forward thus far are low-iron glass, which have a slightly blue tinge to them.

As I mentioned last time, I was leaning towards removing the pentagonal foot pads from the legs. Well, they’re gone now. Here’s a look at the old leg (right) and new (left):

You can see that the ‘stirrup’ detail on the bottom has been slimmed and made less chunky. I was contemplating carving something there on the older design, but have decided to reduce the scope of that detail, in the interests of simplicity and clean lines.

Here’s a view of the back of those legs, compared:

Now for a few views of the table. Here’s a long-side perspective view:

A worm’s eye 3/4 perspective:

I’ve added a batten to the underside of the shelf and, as you can see, the shelf frame now has a rounded outside face profile with a bead, which ties it into the upper table frame and the front face of the legs more harmoniously. The shelf frame has also been thickened up by 1/4″ (6.35 mm), to 1.25″ thick. The batten will connect to the shelf board with a full-length sliding dovetail, and to the surrounding frame by pegged mortise and tenon. You can also see some pegging visible in some of the pictures in the areas where the legs and shelf meet. I will be using a double-pegged floating tenon in those locations.

Another perspective:

A bird’s eye view of the plan:

Finally, a short side elevation:

The shelf panel is Wenge, and in past days I received a piece of 8/4 edge grain Wenge which, due to the relative scarcity of that material at the local hardwood suppliers, had to come all the way from Ohio. I re-sawed first on my Hitachi bandsaw:

I took advantage of my jointer’s recent resurrection to face and edge joint the pieces:

Of course, a machine-jointed surface is really only a rough-cut, and I finished off with hand jointing the edge until it was ‘light-tight’, with just the scantest hollowing in the middle (not pictured).

Then I put the two boards through my router table in several steps to form a tongue and groove joint:

I well realize that glued butt joints for the planks would plenty strong, however I prefer the mechanical wood connection of the tongue and groove to be the underlying baseline reality, and, as far as gluing goes, the tongue and groove increases the interior surface area of the connection by a considerable amount. That makes for a better connection in my view.

Time to bring out the hide glue and put those planks together:

That joint should be almost invisible by the time it is done, given the black material with its vertical grain orientation, and the dark glue line.

I also had some full-scale plots done of the principal frame sections to aid in rough cutting out the pieces from the lumber:

Another view:

I am holding off cutting into any of that stock quite yet, as I’m awaiting a final go-ahead from the client. Hopefully that will happen in the next day or so.

That’s all for today – thanks for your visit. –> on to post 4

8 Replies to “Coffee Anyone? (3)”

  1. Chris- I get great pleasure from the intense planning and impeccable execution of your work, even the shop repairs. I was looking at the 2 renditions of the coffee table and feel the foot pads add a gravitas. The simplified legs are like a Bracusi sculpture. Nice on first look but losing interest on re-view. Have you asked the client which he (she?) prefers?
    Bruce Mack

  2. Hi Bruce,

    thanks for your feedback, and glad that you are getting enjoyment from reading the blog.

    I presume a typo and you meant Brâncuşi? I must confess to only a passing familiarity with his work, and it isn't of much interest to me, though admittedly I have only seen a few pieces. I guess some people really like his stuff, as he seems somewhat famous.

    I go back and forth on the foot pad. It seems like an unnecessary extra when it is on there, and yet when it is absent it does seem a little like something is missing – possibly that 'gravitas' you mention. The client greatly likes the line of the leg at present, though the discussion is on-going. Possibly some version of that foot pad will re-appear, and I remain open to that idea.

    I'll let things percolate for another day or two.


  3. The reason for the foot pad is for if the piece is on carpet the curve of the leg stays unobstructed. If the piece is going on carpet I'd leave them, but probably just use a simple circular pad.

  4. Jeff,

    interesting. Now, the place of departure from which I take the idea of the footpad is Ming furniture, an era in which most pieces could be expected to spend their lives on a stone, tiled, or compacted earthen floor. The rotting out of the lower centimeter or so of the leg was a common occurrence and a common point of repair, and would have been anticipated at the outset of design. The footpad, it seems to me, might well have served to keep the carved foot up and off the floor in an effort to protect it, to increase its durability. I'm speculating. Some footpads were carved, so my idea may not be entirely correct.

    That said, in this case, the piece WILL be on a rug, and the reason you cite for keeping the pad does make good sense. I'm still chewing over the idea as to whether to put the pad back on or not, and in what form, and your input is most appreciated.


  5. I kind of hate to post this, since your woodworking is so far advanced compared to mine, but here goes… when I look at the drawings, the legs look to me as if they might trip someone on the way past them. Maybe it's just the angle of the drawings, but I keep thinking that. I'll go hide now! 🙂

  6. Julie,

    have no fear, all comments are welcome here. I think that some of the table views might convey the impression that the legs stick out further than they do in actuality. Here's the scoop: if you take the spot where the table top frame tucks inward at a re-entrant corner, in the front of the place where the leg meets the frame, and dropped a plumb line to the ground from that place, you would see that the very tip of the leg 'stirrup' only just meets that plumb line. Since the frame of the table pushes outward from that location in both directions, effectively the lower end of the leg is slightly recessed from the table edge, so I don't believe a tripping hazard is present.

    It was important to put the feet of the table as far out as I could to make the piece as stable as possible – if they came out too far though, there would have been a tripping hazard. Such is not the case.

    Thanks for your concern!


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