|Project by Mark Kornell||posted 12-20-2015 04:57 AM||1043 views||3 times favorited||10 comments|
This Christmas, all of our kids (& their spouses) are coming home. And bringing a couple of grandkids. My wife wants a couple of tables so we can seat everybody – one for the adults and one for the kids. I haven’t quite got the big table done, but I finished off the little one today.
This was one of those rare times when a design flashed into mind, fully formed, and I knew exactly how to build it. Usually the design process takes a while between paper sketches, modelling in SketchUp and even doing prototypes. Still working on the design for the legs on the big table, by the way. This piece, when my wife said “table for the little kids”, it was like I was looking at some pictures and a detailed plan in my head.
Yeah, it is only 5 pieces of wood, so we’re not talking about a lot of detail or complex joinery. No real joinery to speak of, actually. Still…
Iit is a fairly typical mid-century modern piece. Simple, clean lines. No adornment to complicate things, no joinery to mess up.
By virtue of the simplicity, though, any flaws get magnified. The real challenge is to execute flawlessly. And to finish flawlessly. The legs need to have a smooth, graceful shape – and all 4 have to be visually identical. The underbevel on the top has to be the right angle and depth. The corner radii must all be exact. The dye on the legs must be evenly applied. And the topcoat can’t show any runs, dust nibs or other imperfections.
Well, just to keep me humble, the top coat does have a few flaws. Not visible unless you look close, but they’re there and I know it. I’ll probably sand it back and re-spray later, but the kids are arriving tomorrow and the table is going to see some use immediately.
The top is approximately 21” x 23”. Just under 1” thick, made of beech.
The legs are hard maple, 18 1/4” long. Turning them to be exactly the same was the big challenge for this project. If I did this type of leg a lot, a copy lathe would be very handy.
To attach the legs to the top, using a 1 3/4” forstner bit, I drilled a flat at a 7° angle to the corners. In the center of each flat, I sunk a hole into which I epoxied a 5/16”-16 nut. On the top of each leg, I drilled a hole and epoxied a length of threaded rod. Cut to the correct length, the rod screws into the nut and holds the leg in place securely.
The legs were dyed with Lockwood #163 – Weathered Oak at a standard concentration.
The top was painted with Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Co.’s Snow White. 4 coats were necessary to give it a solid color.
The top coat was Varathane Nano Defence floor finish, satin sheen. Yes, it is a floor finish, but it is really tough – appropriate for a table for toddlers – and dries quickly.
-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design