Origami Table/Stool

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Blog entry by KnickKnack posted 12-19-2008 06:26 PM 4093 reads 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Project is here.

I finally bit the bullet and tried a design that included joints, moreover, important joints.
I periodically go through the offcuts box to see if anything jumps out, and I had a few “long triangle” bits of ash. I’ve made stools/small tables in every kind of wood I’ve used except the ash, and, after a bit of playing about and brainstorming I came up with this idea. I’d also been wondering for a while about a “2-legged” table.
It got the “Origami” nick name while it was being glued up…

Origami 1
!Origami 2

Being only joined to the top with 2 legs, it was important that those joints were strong, and could survive a turning moment, so I pushed the boat out and went for some kind of weird “slidy” sort of joint – I daresay that has a name…

Sliding Joint

I managed to “sneak” up on the fit, so it was pretty tight.
So far so good!

The “small leg” I attached with a tapered “flap” joint. Not half half, so I could attach the cross piece…

Flap Joint

This I couldn’t sneak up on, so it ended up a wee bit looser than was ideal, but by making sure I clamped it under the right strain, I could make sure the crucial bits to take the strain were actually flush during gluing.

The cross piece was the first time I’ve ever actually aimed to cut a piece to the exact correct size, rather than cutting big and sanding down, and I actually managed it just about right. Getting the faces at the right angle without a table saw required planing at an angle, but someone was obviously watching over me and that seemed to go OK. Gluing it in place, what with all the weird angles, was a challenge, but it worked OK.

Leveled the legs and cut the small 45 degree on the top and it was finished, except for removing glue and lots of sanding.


Learnt lots.

I like the ash, but one thing I don’t like about it is that the end grain “dumbs down” when the oil is applied.

I think this is, technically, the best thing I’ve ever done. And I like the result too – a bit weird, but not toooooo weird.
It was also enjoyable to make – most projects have enjoyable bits and bits of drudgery, but this was mostly fun – small but not tiny helps, as does not messing stuff up and having to recover along the way.

I think I might try some more joints soon :-)

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3179 days

#1 posted 12-19-2008 06:57 PM

Beautiful design and execution!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View bsherman's profile


76 posts in 2952 days

#2 posted 12-19-2008 11:48 PM

I like the design. Very unique.

-- Brian

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3220 days

#3 posted 12-20-2008 05:35 PM

I like it a lot. There’s definitely not a lot out there like it, and that is always a great thing in my book. And, since it’s a good looking piece and executed well, it’s chock full of win :D

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Dusty56's profile


11804 posts in 3112 days

#4 posted 01-03-2009 08:51 PM

Now that’s refreshing….something out of the “norm”. I wish that I was this creative ! Other than fine woodart , do you have any plans for its use ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View KnickKnack's profile


1062 posts in 2990 days

#5 posted 01-03-2009 09:29 PM

Thanks for the kind comments.
It sits in the lounge with an old silver candelabra on it so I get to see it for many hours a day, and, though I built it myself, it’s really growing on me – something about the angles, maybe, or that it looks somehow “mechanical”, or like a monster, or that the wood has a luster – the teak oil/varnish really seemed to work on it.
My problem is that the lounge is starting to fill up with small tables and footstools – she who must be obeyed is putting a stop to it, but i have a bunch more designs I’d like to try.
I like the ash too – here in the wilderness of Portugal my choices is limited to pine, oak, beech and ash – I look at all those projects with purpleheart (I always thought that was a drug), cocolobo (thought that was a cocktail) and other exotic things and I get really jealous – so I have to make up for lack of wood contrasts with weird design, or at least I try to. Actually, I tell a lie, I can get mahogany and teak, but they can’t assure me of its provenance, so I refuse to use it – I remember being in Burma and Malaysia a few years ago looking at literally football pitches worth of “unsoundly managed” teak and I don’t support it.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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