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Massive Quartersawn Red Oak Sofa Base

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Project by jetnum posted 926 days ago 1229 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Continuing my adventures in recycling, I obtained a broken curb-side sofa for free. The original legs and base were missing, but the upholstery was in good shape, so I decided to build a base in a simple modern style. The two blocks that form the “legs” are massive urban quartersawn red oak slabs that are 3 inches/7.5 cm thick and 11 inches/28 cm tall. The slabs are tied together by a cross-beam plank that is mortised and tenoned in place. Black walnut dowels reinforce the joinery. Several holes and some dark coloration and streaking on the slabs enhance the character of the slabs. The pure Tung oil used to finish the piece has really brought out the linear grain of the quartersawn slabs. The extremely simple horizontal geometry of the piece also accentuates the linear grain pattern. I am very pleased with this piece.

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.





11 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9130 posts in 1124 days


#1 posted 926 days ago

Very nice, jetnum! Very contemporary, with the wood and choice of finish really anchoring the piece.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Bricofleur's profile

Bricofleur

1094 posts in 1698 days


#2 posted 926 days ago

That is a great design! I’ve been thinking about building a garden bench for a while but couldn’t get started lacking of inspiration. Now I have it. Thanks for posting.

Best,

Serge

http://atelierdubricoleur.wordpress.com

-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. -- http://atelierdubricoleur.wordpress.com

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

2504 posts in 2100 days


#3 posted 926 days ago

Nice sofa. So you have used the term Urban Quatersawn b4 do you mind me asking what that means? I know what quatersawn is but what is the urban term for?

Thanks for the post

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View jetnum's profile

jetnum

47 posts in 1198 days


#4 posted 926 days ago

@mcoyfrog: “Urban lumber” refers to lumber cut from local city trees. A lot of city trees just get chipped which—as a woodworker I’m sure you will agree—is really a waste. The majority of these are hardwood trees: maples, oaks, ashes, elms. Fortunately, here in Ann Arbor and surrounding Southeast Michigan USA, we now have several lumber mills that process urban trees. I’m sure nails and other metal are an issue, but one of these local guys told me that the occasional metal in urban trees is just part of the cost of doing business.

I can now easily obtain urban lumber from small local mills in a wide variety of larger dimensions for less cost than what I would pay from a large mill. I can also get as much quartersawn oak as I want—something that seems virtually unavailable from the larger commercial mills in the area. I have also seen very interesting-looking slabs and boards of unusual species such as Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) – of course, those are fairly commonly-planted street and fence-row trees here in S.E. Michigan, but a bit unusual as timber trees!

Urban lumber often comes with certain “defects” – for example there are some worm holes and some dark mineral staining and streaking in the oak slabs I used in this project. We can look at these “defects” in either a positive or negative light. It is easy to view imperfections in wood negatively; in which case, one always has the option to buy lumber from somewhere else.

Alternatively, we can say that the imperfections and defects in the wood tell a story. In the past, I would try to patch and hide imperfections. Now for the most part, I just leave these “defects” as they are. In a way, this is a more honest treatment of the wood. We can leave bare the history of this tree that was once a living thing that both grew in the sun and suffered in measure as do all living things.

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

View schuft's profile

schuft

120 posts in 1113 days


#5 posted 926 days ago

Pardon what may be a dumb question, but how is the back supported? Is there some sort of futon-like frame built into the upholstery?

View jetnum's profile

jetnum

47 posts in 1198 days


#6 posted 925 days ago

@schuft: Yes. the futon part has an internal wooden frame along with some sort of internal metal racheted hinge that allows one to adjust the position of the back from upright to flat positions. As mentioned, I just picked this thing up curbside. I believe the internal frame is of poplar. I don’t know what the internal metal ratchet looks like. I can only hope that the futon is suffiiciently well-constructred to hold up for a while. But if it doesn’t, I’ll then have an excuse to build the top part of the sofa too! ;-) That would give me an excuse to learn how to do leather upholstery, etc., so I can remain optimistic about this project regardless of the unknown time to structural failure of the part that I didn’t make. Clearly the base is going to last a long time, right?

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

View woodtickgreg's profile

woodtickgreg

199 posts in 1624 days


#7 posted 925 days ago

jetnum, I am from southeast mi. as well. I am a chainsaw miller, not for money or sale of lumber but for it’s use. I started chainsaw milling for many of the same reasons you mentioned. Lumber that is purchased from the larger mills or lumber yards, or big box stores imo is sterile, has no character. I save all those trees from the landfill or fire place and obtain species that the other places don’t offer. I love the mineral streaking, spalting, and all the other things that some people may call defects. kudos to you for recognizing the beauty of this and incorporating it in your builds:) good for you for supporting the small sawyer:) I bet his prices are better as well as his selection.
imo the lumber you chose is beautiful, good job.

-- wood tick tools for turners by woodtickgreg @ woodbarter.com

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14544 posts in 1694 days


#8 posted 925 days ago

Great save and project! Nice work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View jetnum's profile

jetnum

47 posts in 1198 days


#9 posted 925 days ago

@woodtick: Check out http://urbanwood.org/ and the Ann Arbor Reuse Center, http://www.recycleannarbor.org/?module=Page&sID=reuse-center-gallery

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

2504 posts in 2100 days


#10 posted 925 days ago

Thanks jetnum I kinda figured that but wasn’t sure. I need to find someplace to help me cut down some urban logs my bandsaw is too small for the pieces I have…

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View woodtickgreg's profile

woodtickgreg

199 posts in 1624 days


#11 posted 924 days ago

jetnum, thanks for the links, I watched all the videos with great interest, those have always been my beliefs, all of my lumber is local. others need to be informed and educated about the benafits of urban lumber, its all good stuff.

-- wood tick tools for turners by woodtickgreg @ woodbarter.com

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