|Project by Francois Vigneron||posted 01-31-2014 08:21 AM||1080 views||4 times favorited||7 comments|
I build this coffee table over the Christmas vacations of december 2011 and completed it by january. There are three different stories attached to this table so here they are.
1. The inspiration. I was inspired by a family heirloom maple rocking chair with a walnut back (seen in the last pic next to the table). This chair belonged to the great-great-grandmother on my wife size. It was restored by her uncle in Passadena, CA then disassembled and bought to France in my Mother in law’s airplane luggage. I reassembled the rocking chair. I liked it so much that I wanted to have a piece of furniture that would match the woods (maple & walnut) but I decided to reverse the balance and use the maple only for the decorative parts. I tried to incorporate some Greene&Greene design elements and was pleased with that “reverse” contrast (they used to add dark ebony accents in lighter mahogany tones).
2. How it was build. As we where spending the vacations at my parents house, I mail-ordered a bunch of walnut and maple and had it delivered at their house. Then we traveled the 200miles with the kids & all my tools in the back of the pickup truck. The kids watched me during the most important phases of the construction. They where not yet 2 years old back then and could barely pick the boards up. But they where very impressed and kept saying “Daddy, daddy, look ! I got a big stick for you”. We drove back home with the puzzle pieces glued-up in sections and I completed the assembly back at home. Overall, it was lots of fun building it and a whole family experience.
3. The walnut surprise. I was very pleased with the walnut that was shipped to me and that’s another nice story. I had send the drawings of the table to the mill and I guess they really liked it because I discovered at the bottom of the package that they had included for free 4 extra pieces of wood. They where all covered in dust and had obviously been kept on a shelf for a long time so I knew it had to be something special. Once I ran it through the planer, it showed the beautiful grain and I understood that the guy at the mill had given me a jewel for the legs. I tried to honor his gift as best I could.
Thanks for watching. Here are a few pictures of the details. The cascading feet are inspired by the hall table of the Gamble house. The shape of the table top and the insert are inspired by the Tsuba of japanese swords, a detail used by the Greene brothers in the Gamble house bed. There are many cloud lifts details, the two most subtle ones are on the maple belt which is thiner and protrudes less at each end, and on the lower stretcher that raises slightly in the center section while the 6 connectors are slightly recessed. Basically, the design idea is that the pieces will never meet at the same depth. Slight offsets of different magnitudes should create a natural perspective effect.
The last nice feature is that the table can balance on only two legs once you raise it up. It is really neat for housecleaning because you don’t have to hold on to it while you vacuum under it…
-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA