Like I mentioned before, I am building a matching coffee table along with my “hall table.” I have been making an effort to document the time I spend on larger projects for my own reference. But since I am building two projects together the concept of time is getting a little blurry. I spent a few hours the other day just getting the coffee table caught up in the process. All the joinery is the same as before.
I decided to try taping my joints to make it easier to peel off the glue squeeze-out. It did help a lot.
Here it is with the glued-up top but I haven’t finished it yet. It still needs the beveled edges and a lot of sanding:
Here is the MDF I got for the bent-lamination forms:
I started by laying the table on the MFD and tracing the legs and apron:
Through trial and error I came up with a low-tech but effective method of precisely drawing the first arch on the MDF. I used a pen attached to a piece of string around four nails. Its not a simple radius but more of a “compound radius” since it is wider than it is tall.
Then I used a Kleenex box to mark a series of parallel lines that would serve as clamping areas around the curve after being cut:
I cut the straight clamping edges with a jigsaw and then cut the two inside curve lines on the bandsaw. Then I screwed one side of the form to another piece of MDF that will serve as a base to keep the lamination flat:
Mock-up of the arches
At this point, I am still doing a lot of designing “on the fly.” I was planning on making a prototype lamination to see how the shape looks. But then I realized that the arch that I cut out of the form was already the shape of the final lamination. So I grabbed it and attached it to the table to see how it looked.
Then I found some thin scraps that I bent into position for the smaller side arches as a mock-up:
Then I attached a few clamps to temporarily hold the lower shelf in position to get a sense of its location:
My intention is to somehow attach the shelf to the arches rather than the legs so that it appears to “float.” I am having a hard time seeing how that is going to work now that I’ve got a tangible model to play with.
This is the reason I believe that Sketchup has its limits as a practical design tool. I personally need to literally put my hands on certain parts of a complex design problem to work out a solution.
I am also realizing, as I look over the original Sketchup drawings, that I had drawn the arches differently than I arranged in my mock-up (I didn’t have my computer in the shop with me). Notice how in the drawing the arches start at an angle from the legs as opposed to flush against the lower portion of the legs:
Another thing I am seeing at this point is how thin the “side” arches need to be in order to look proportionally correct, which doesn’t leave much room for a pin or dowel to attach the shelf on the sides. This is appearent in both the original Sketchup drawings as well as my model arches.
At this point I am unresolved in how to shape the arches and attach them to the legs as well as how to attach the shelf to the arches. I’ll have to sleep on it but would also love your input if you’ve got any.
I’ll apply today’s 4 hours of work to my timeline since I was actually working on the hall table… Total project time: 22 Hours
I couldn’t resist bringing the two unfinished pieces up from the shop and see how they look together in my living room. The coffee table will get arches as well (but no shelf)...
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