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Redwood - what to do?? #3: 1st Design in Sketchup for the Redwood Burl End Table

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Blog entry by brukilla posted 07-19-2009 07:42 AM 1707 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Deciding on a table base - is there an unwritten rule?? Part 3 of Redwood - what to do?? series Part 4: Hello Birdseye!! »

I got through designing my redwood burl tabletop end table. The sketchuo file is located here.

I would like to hear some criticism on this, even though it is my first piece of furniture. I would also like to know if I have the inlay pieces set up correctly. I thought about mitered, but I thought it would look more distinct with darker end gran at the corners. I wouod also like to know if my approximations for the mortise & tenon joints are ok. Let me know…

I also created ssome screenshots of the sketchup design for those who don’t have or use it:
Table Base
Inlay around the table base
Top of table base
Front Leg Bottom Tenon
Front Leg Top Tenon
Rear Leg Tenon
Rear Leg Bottom Tenon
X-Ray Top
X-Ray Side
X-Ray Back
Parallel View - ISO - X-Ray

-- "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." - Thomas Jefferson



8 comments so far

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2813 days


#1 posted 07-19-2009 09:29 AM

A few of comments:
The profile of the base seems too complex when compared to the rest of the piece, the base of the piece shouldn’t distract from the top of the table. There are lots of reference materials regarding traditional base profiles and even if you chose not to construct a traditional profile, a clear understanding of moldings will help you when you are designing profiles.

Neither the 3 legs or the shape of the top suggest ‘square’. Visually the square base seems small making the model appear top heavy and maybe even unsteady. Perhaps if the base was elongated into a rectangle along the long axis of the top it would be visually (and physically) more stable. Also, some type of concealed feet might be helpful in allowing the piece to sit firmly on a floor.

I don’t understand where the inlay is intended for, if its a true inlay the end grain will not show.

If you make the tenons at the base through tenons the construction will be a little easier and you could even practice through tenons with wedges without having to worry if they don’t come out just right.

I consider this design a very challenging first piece, with properly locating the mortises in the top particularly difficult. I wish you good luck with the project.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1086 posts in 2860 days


#2 posted 07-19-2009 03:25 PM

I agree that the table seems top heavy.
Is it too late to change your approach?
At the very least, I’d like to see the base plate larger so the table will enjoy greater stability.
It wouldn’t, I think, detract from the burl too much.
My thinking is that the burl, while the star of the show, could be considered PART of the show.
Your work on the base and legs should also have equal “billing”!
Good work on the SketchUp modeling.

Best regards,
Don

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View brukilla's profile

brukilla

74 posts in 2708 days


#3 posted 07-19-2009 05:13 PM

I must admit that I was concerned with the top heaviness. The burl tabletop is so light though. With a dense hardwood bas and legs, I think it will be anything but top heavy. I do not want to detract from the design, so I may just enlarge the base to at most the width ot the tabletop, approximately 15 In at the center. However, I do not think it is necessary. When I choose the hardwood and feel it’s weight, I will be able to make a better determination.

I will have to seriously consider elongating the base into a rectangle. I will be doing a mock up with some inexpensive ply, so I should be able to gauge the “look” of the piece then.

Now, matching the mortises in the top will have to wait until the very end. Basically, I will have to have the completed base and legs with the tabletop resting on the top of the tenons for placement (or upside down) and then scribe the outlines for the mortises. Then continue on with sneaking up on the fit.

As for the inlay, how would I get it around the corners? Would I have to sandwich a 10×10 x 1/4” piece in between the base pieces. This inlay thing is really racking my brain now.

Also, to comment on the bottom not detracting from the top: I don’t think it will. I will be using a dark wood, so that alone will help disguise itslef. This table is a chance for me to practice and challenge myself. I guess if you knew me, you would understand why the first furniture project has to be beyond my skill level.

I will be taking my time and practicing with some inexpensive wood to make sure I get the right feel for the piece.

Thanks for your help so far.

-- "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." - Thomas Jefferson

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1086 posts in 2860 days


#4 posted 07-19-2009 05:28 PM

For the inlay I’d make the groove either with a router, preferably in a table, or by kerfing the base on a tablesaw. Other methods may occur to you. I think plying the base may also work as long as the pieces are firmly connected so the table doesn’t wobble.
My personal opinion (you know what they say about opinions) on the corners would be miters. I wouldn’t care for the end grain.
But that’s just me.
Depending on the width of the inlay I might even spline the miters.

Best regards,
Don

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View brukilla's profile

brukilla

74 posts in 2708 days


#5 posted 07-19-2009 05:44 PM

Don,

Ok, I see where you are going with this. The width of the inlay, currently, is set at 3/32. How wide would it have to be for you to consider the spline? Also, plying it all together seems like doing too much for such a small accent. Do you think it would be easier with the router table, etc?

I will be using a router table for the groove.

Any remarks about the top heaviness after my explanation?

Thanks.

-- "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." - Thomas Jefferson

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1086 posts in 2860 days


#6 posted 07-19-2009 06:22 PM

I always use a 1/8” spline, making the kerf on the tablesaw using a jig I built for that. So, 3/32” would be to small for that technique. Just simple miters should do well for the inlay.
My observation about top heaviness is this: Even if the table isn’t actually tippy, it will look like it.
Of course, that look may work in its favor because it draws the eye.
“Whoa! Look at that!”
So, whether you wish to excite that kind of reaction or something else, the table will almost certainly be unusual and attractive.

I look forward to the photos of the finished product!
Don

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2813 days


#7 posted 07-19-2009 10:56 PM

brukilla –
Perhaps the comment regarding the detailing of the bottom was a bit unclear. The ‘fine grain’ detailing of the bottom seems out of character with the rest of the design or vise versa. I understand you wanting to take full advantage of the project to develop your skills but don’t forget that designing is a skill to be developed as well. Producing a well developed design and challenging your construction skills are not mutually exclusive.

Regarding the issue of the design being ‘top heavy’, there are at least 3 things to consider:
1. Will the table be physically top heavy (you say it’s will not be).
2. As a result of the geometry of the design is the table prone to tipping if a ‘normal use’ of weight is applied along the edge of the top (particularly along the long axis).
3. Is the visual weight of the top causing the perception that the table is top heavy and thus adversely effecting the aesthetics of the table.

It’s understandable that you want this project to be a big skill stretch for yourself. My comments were meant only as a ‘fair warning’, not as a suggestion to scale back your aspirations. Again, good luck.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 2735 days


#8 posted 07-23-2009 05:30 AM

I would have to agree about it being a bit topsided….if you put too much weight near the edge of the table…and thar she goes…..Nice design and use of Sketchup…..

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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