New couch needs new table...

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Blog entry by knapster posted 01-17-2010 03:40 PM 831 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently got a new couch in my apartment and now I’ve been looking for an idea as to how I could make a useful and nice-looking end tablemagazine rack/ and possibly a laptop table as well… (even a cupholder would be handy, ;-))
I sketched around a little and came up with this… the long base for stability, the slotted tabletop platform more or less for decoration…
I’m a little worried that the joinery might not hold up to a lot of abuse or a laptop though….does anyone have any ideas how i could work on that???
I really wasn’t too keen on inserting a piece of angle iron at the top and bottom, tho a nicely polished piece might look good too!


-- jk

5 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1407 posts in 2977 days

#1 posted 01-17-2010 05:29 PM

I’ve been thinking about doing the very same thing. We’ve got an additional problem; the couch sits directly on the floor. I’ve been percolating about Craftsman design details mostly. I think it will need some kind of support on the inside corners. There would be a lot of torque on the corner joints. Not that the joint would fail, but I would think there would be a lot of spring to it, especially when writing on a laptop. We just need a place to put drinks, so our top would be smaller (less torque).

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View knapster's profile


39 posts in 2894 days

#2 posted 01-17-2010 05:38 PM

Yes that would be an additional challenge as well!
I have plenty of space under the couch but having a 17 inch laptop it will take a very durable support!
Maybe some sort of decorative steel…:-S
I’ve been looking all over but havent particularly found anything practical like this thing… maybe someone else has!

-- jk

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2528 days

#3 posted 01-17-2010 05:47 PM

A couple observations, completely by a novice.

1. I would change the grain pattern of the middle piece. I personally think the grain would flow better if you change the direction from horizontal to vertical in the middle piece.

2. I would add 45 degree supports for that top shelf that would flow into the carcass. These could be decorative, with curves, but you will need that extra support.

Just a couple thoughts.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 2767 days

#4 posted 01-17-2010 11:54 PM

Here are some comments and questions you might find useful:

The most stressed joint will be the lower joint. Any weight on the top will be multipled by the lever arm distance from the top surface to the bottom joint. You are right to be concerned about how to build this so that it can withstand the stresses that will be placed on it.

Stiffness (technically rigidity) in the joints will be critical to the success of the design. Do you have any technical limits as to the type of joint you can construct (due to lack of certain tools or skills)? A traditional method of reinforcing a joint is a glue block. While this is usually hidden inside the carcass perhaps you could design a decorative glue block that would run the length of both joints. You could also construct the joint of your choice first and see if it is rigid enough and if not you could try adding a glue block. Also, you didn’t say if this is plywood or solid wood construction. If solid wood is being used you will need to consider the cross grain joint in the current design.

Is the stand intended to be kept to the side of the couch and pulled over from the side over your lap when being used as laptop stand? Have you worked out the measurements so the table will be at the right height for typing (making sure to take into account how much you ‘sink’ into the couch when you sit down)? Are you planning to add feet to ease the sliding of the piece? Given the designs center of gravity and geometry do you think the piece will be easy to slide back in forth pulling from its top?

Have you considered the maintenance (dust and such) that grooves will require?

Ok enough of the peppering of the questions, good luck with the project.

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

View knapster's profile


39 posts in 2894 days

#5 posted 01-18-2010 11:01 AM

Thank you thank you guys…. its great to hear advice, I find any comments useful, so thnx jlsmith!... making a successful project is a lot easier when you have some experienced counsellors…I find it great about LJs that there are so many ppl who share their thoughts and can make you think further than just your idea!
I have 2 more exams to finish this week but I’m hoping to have the project finished and put it up in here next week!!!

PS: now I have switched the grain pattern on the back board to vertical(good point David!), the grooves are all but eliminated (I prefer to have the dusting-off done in one sweep, and I’m checking up on the glue blocks and the possibility of wheels or feet!

-- jk

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