Hand Joinery Bedside Table

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Project by Byron posted 11-19-2011 11:50 PM 2620 views 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Quarter-sawn Mahogany, 2010

“Hand Joinery Bedside Table” was my first project completed at Rochester Institute of Technology. The requirements for this piece was to use all hand tools to make a small table, using only the bandsaw to rough out general shapes, every finished surface and all joints are created using solely hand tools. The other requirement was to use three specific joints; a half lap, cross lap, and bridal. No other types of joints were allowed. All joints were cut using solely a hand saw and chisels.

Bending wood was also not allowed so with this piece I challenged myself to use solely straight lines to create a table. This was a big design challenge as my design vocabulary seemed to be based solely upon curves. Using inspiration from Santiago Calatrava. I used intersecting curves to initialize a visual dialogue representing a parabolic form, hence creating a curve. This idea of creating a curve is not taken to the point where a curve takes form but it is heading towards that direction.

As a warm up to this project one of the first assignments given was to take a block of wood, 18”x10”x8/4” and transform it into a perfect rectangular prism only using a hand plane. Our tolerance was 3 thousandths of an inch, the thickness of a hair. There had to be no lines left from the hand plane as well, and all sides had to be respectively square and parallel to each other. We continued to cut that slab up into a mallet.

This project was sanded to 220 grit in most places and 320 in some more visible areas. Numerous coats of Bartley’s Gel Varnish were hand rubbed and buffed in.

“Hand Joinery Bedside Table” was completed in the fall of 2010.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my work,

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

6 comments so far

View brazjuca's profile


54 posts in 1610 days

#1 posted 11-20-2011 12:02 AM

Beautiful, big project congratulations.

-- Brazjuca guarapari Brasil. All worth it when the soul is not small. (Fernando Pessoa)

View glue4you's profile


162 posts in 1519 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 12:16 AM

once you leave the road of squareness things quickly become art. I am (in many ways) a square person and couldn’t come up with a design like that. Curves are somewhat threatening to me, I’m a member of the secret 90-degree-society. Very inspiring!

Congratulations, this is a real masterpiece.

-- Alex ----- Bavaria in Germany

View Andy123's profile


226 posts in 1513 days

#3 posted 11-20-2011 01:52 AM

That is a very cool and creative project. You’ve better got an A.

-- The mistakes I make in woodworking are not mistakes they just give my projects character- Me

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 1700 days

#4 posted 11-20-2011 03:19 AM

Looks very… weird. :) But beautiful and elegant, definitely an attention-grabber.

View exelectrician's profile


2285 posts in 1466 days

#5 posted 11-20-2011 12:37 PM

You had your work cut out, in order to get all thase angled joints to line up, and be as perfect as they are. I am sure you got positive feedback from the instructor.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Buckethead's profile


3100 posts in 907 days

#6 posted 05-05-2013 03:26 PM

Amazingly beautiful joinery. I love this piece.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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