Pensai Table #2: Version -0.75

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Blog entry by chscholz posted 08-17-2011 06:23 AM 7500 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Motivation and Design Part 2 of Pensai Table series no next part

Here’s another practice version of a “Real Asian Style” table. I tried to use traditional Chinese joinery (or at least what I think would be traditional Chinese joinery). Design is as simple as I could possible think of, not waisted as it really should be, no moldings.

Material are a few 2×4’s that probably don’t quite have the right proportions. At this stage for me it is really about learning the joinery so I did not bother preparing the stock.

I got this done much faster than the previous version, that took me 2 years I believe (to be honest I get to dabble with wood an hour or two on the weekends).

What can I say, it did not turn out that well…

The main learning form the previous version was the order in which to cut mortises and miters.
The next think I need to learn is how to make this miters nice and tight. Any great ideas appreciated. Maybe I need to do some major investment in high-end tools but probably it’s as simple as cutting exactly to the line.

The design:

The “final” table:

Few detailed views:

In short, I think I’ll end up with a few more practice pieces before I’ll tackle indoors furniture.

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX,

9 comments so far

View naomi weiss's profile

naomi weiss

207 posts in 3422 days

#1 posted 08-17-2011 08:27 AM

That looks insanely hard to do! Thanks for having the balls to post a project that you’re not entirely satisfied with so we can all learn.

-- 'Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots'--Jeremy Taylor

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 3843 days

#2 posted 08-17-2011 05:19 PM

I dont think I will live long enough to even try those joints

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3117 days

#3 posted 08-18-2011 08:02 AM

Relly interesting.
Could be a beautiful table.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3740 days

#4 posted 08-20-2011 04:39 PM

I think the best improvement in your joinery would be squaring the stock before you start otherwise it seems you’ve got a good grasp and practical knowledge of what needs to be done. Squaring the stock makes doing everything else accurately much easier.

I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily cut exactly to the line, but give yourself a little extra material so that you can trim the joints (with chisel or plane) to a tight fit. You have an interestingly complex joint and it seems to be working well which is the whole point of joinery.

Now having said all the above I really like what you did on this project and think the joinery is pretty well done. Certainly a piece of furniture to be proud of.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2721 days

#5 posted 08-22-2011 04:10 PM

All things considered, I actually like how things aren’t square.. it gives a rustic/artsy element that I really enjoy

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View chscholz's profile


36 posts in 4104 days

#6 posted 08-26-2011 07:44 PM

Thank you very much for all the comments. Yes, stock preparation, I think I’ll do that next time.
I’ve never really understood the artsy look, really not what I am striving for. I’ve been told in the arts community the term is vernacular,and this is pretty desired for today’s Chinese Ming-Style furniture. Strange world…

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX,

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2721 days

#7 posted 08-26-2011 07:57 PM

It may not be what you’re striving for, but it works..

When in doubt, just say you meant it to be that way. It shows you’re not confined to the rigid constructs of society and its norms.

Or something like that

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2721 days

#8 posted 08-26-2011 08:40 PM

You might actually have better results with “the good stuff”, meaning some nice hardwood. It looks like you’ve got the joinery figured out; I suspect the wood itself might be generating some of the final obstacles. It’s a very ambitious project and I like it a lot.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View chscholz's profile


36 posts in 4104 days

#9 posted 08-27-2011 03:31 AM

Yes, I know I am too cheap, I really should get better wood to start out with. On the other hand after I master the hard stuff, the good stuff is easy. Still a lot of space on my porch for not practice pieces.

A while a go we went to a “custom” furniture store. This was shocking to me. Pretty much everything looked like it was roughened up with a belt-sander, finish was banged up and selectively scratched, and the prices, the prices were astronomical! I suppose this is popular, and if so I take the freedom not to be popular. I can’t help but thinking that the craftsmen who do these pieces of furniture take “the obvious shortcut” without ever learning how to make “proper” furniture (whatever this means). And I do have similar feelings when looking at some modern paintings.

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX,

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