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Narrow Sofa Table #1: The design

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Blog entry by Rick posted 11-24-2009 08:25 PM 4900 reads 0 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My Mother-In-Law had a particular need – a side table for the sofa. Problem: The sofa sits away from the wall into a walk way through the room. The end of the sofa where the table is needed could cause a standard table to be in the way.

My thought was a narrow table (12” wide, perhaps 24” long), but then I was worried about stability. If it’s narrow, and has legs that stay within the dimensions of the table top, it may tip easily.

My solution was to look at putting a foot under the sofa to weight it down and hold it up.

I’ll be building a prototype out of MDF to test the theory.

Narrow Sofa Table

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success



34 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3561 days


#1 posted 11-24-2009 08:49 PM

I like the overall design.

I can see the stability would be an issue for the table with such dimensions.

Would it be better to attach it to the wall?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#2 posted 11-24-2009 09:06 PM

Hi Todd,

Problem there, the sofa is sitting out from the wall with a sofa table behind it. It had to be free standing.

However, what I just started to try to SketchUp is a design where the table would extend out from the farther back, possibly giving more room for a wider stance, and only the top extending out. Something like either a tripod but with 2 legs in front that stay within the dimensions of the top, back legs wider. Ok, that sounds confusing, but I’ll see if I can mock it up.

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View hardwoodflooring's profile

hardwoodflooring

202 posts in 2659 days


#3 posted 11-24-2009 10:08 PM

nice design. it would take me days to draw that design up.

-- hardwood, South Carolina, http://www.palmettohardwood.com

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2810 days


#4 posted 11-24-2009 10:21 PM

rroades

Instead of trying of solve the tipping problem with geometry (by extending a foot) you might want to try to solve it using weight, for it is really a physic (statics) problem (you know lever arms and center of gravity sort of thing). For example if you were to lower the stretcher then hollow it out from the below (so it wouldn’t be visible) to create a void that could be filled with something heavy (lead comes to mind) you could lower the center of gravity to the point where it might actually be difficult to tip over even when you tried. Think in terms of those sand weighted inflated punching clown toys.

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

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1430 posts in 3020 days


#5 posted 11-25-2009 01:38 AM

Nice design! My girlfriend just asked for a similar table for the front of the sofa for cups and remotes.

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

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#6 posted 11-25-2009 04:27 AM

Jismith – I doubt that would have EVER occurred to me. I’ll have to think through the aesthetics and balance of the piece. But I’ll definitely model that one up. I’ve got to see that one work just out of curiosity! I have some 8/4 mahogany I could use for the trestle to give visual weight to it as well. And it frees it from sitting “under” furniture.

THANKS!

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2810 days


#7 posted 11-25-2009 06:02 AM

rroades

I would completely agree that you will want to think through the aesthetics… Glad I could be of help.

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3039 days


#8 posted 11-25-2009 06:11 AM

Interesting design I have the same concerns Todd has about stability

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#9 posted 11-26-2009 05:23 AM

Next question was the joinery. The legs are leaned in at 5 degrees. So there are tenons at a 5 degree angle. I assumed it would be easier to cut the tenons at an angle than the mortises.

I was planning on mortise and tenon, with the trestle being a through-tenon. But to keep the weight down on top, was considering a 3/8” top. Not a lot of room for a tenon. So don’t know there. Perhaps a cleat in dadoes at the top of the legs, then screw the top down from the bottom. Otherwise, a couple 3/16” long tenons on each leg at the top, to increase glue surface however slightly.

I’ve been thinking through the cuts (I may not know all the right parts exactly).

The legs at the foot:
  • Edge shoulders, miter gauge +- 5 degrees for opposite sides
  • Face shouldeers, Table saw at 5 degrees, miter guage in left and right slots
  • Cheek? I have a tenon jig I can lean 5 degrees one way, but it’s not reversable and won’t go the other way 5 degrees.

The trestle will present a similar challenge. Can the tenons be formed at the router table? Laying the piece flat to slowly plane away the checks?

Feel like I’m making this more difficult than it has to be . . .

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2810 days


#10 posted 11-26-2009 07:46 AM

The top could be a frame and panel which would provide several things. The frame would give enough thickness to make a mortise. The panel could be quite thin minimizing the tops weight, (you could even thin the panel out and then add ribs underneath to stiffen it) and finally, you could locate the groove for the panel such that the frame creates a slight rim for the panel not allowing things (like a round pen) to roll off the surface.

Regarding the constructing the 5 degree lean, given you apprehension with how to making it I would suggest you backup a bit and and reevaluate the design. Ask yourself what is the purpose of the 5 deg in the first place? Is it worth the trouble it seem to be causing you? Is there another way, aesthetically, to accomplish the same thing and be easier to construct? Don’t get locked into something for no reason, designing is dynamic process, the design should always be evolving.

If you still want to construct the 5 deg lean there are several ways to do it but your own skills and tools should dictate which method to use.

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

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#11 posted 11-26-2009 03:01 PM

The 5 degree lean was really aesthetic, I just didn’t like it at 90. So while new to me, I’m eager to learn to do it. The piece will be seen as you enter the room, so I wanted to give some visual interest.

The frame and panel was another idea that never occurred to me. But with the lean, it puts the mortises too far in.

Immediately after my last entry, I watched Norm make tenons with his dado – that solves that for the trestle. I can do passes at +- 5 deg with the miter gauge for cheeks, then tilt the blade for the other cuts. For the legs, I’ll still have to figure that one out, but I’ll get there!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! And thanks for the help so far!!!

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2810 days


#12 posted 11-26-2009 07:37 PM

Well of course trying to make something you have never made before is one of the core pleasures (and frustrations) of woodworking. Good luck with the 5 degree lean, it’s easy to get turned around when trying to keep track of angles, so take your time, making sure your not cutting the reverse angle by mistake.

Btw perhaps you could show the model from the angle it will been seen when entering the room (at human not dog or cat eye height)....

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

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#13 posted 11-28-2009 05:35 AM

good advice. Because I’ve never done this, I was thinking of doing a MDF mock up, and try to make a list of each cut/set up for each angle. I hope to keep myself organized that way. I hope the practice run will make the real thing easier!

The table will sit near an doorway into the room from the entry. There is nothing to the left of that doorway but the wall, so the only real view is as you enter the room.
Table Entering the Room

From the other way into the room, you’ll be walking directly in front of the sofa, and not see it until you pass it.

I’m also uploading a model of the table and room, where the sofa will sit, being about 12” off the wall with a sofa table behind it. The sofa is about the same size, and the armrests are about the same style. If you use Sketchup, you’ll be able to do a 360-view.

Sketch Up Model...

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2810 days


#14 posted 11-28-2009 11:50 PM

The Sketch Up error message when trying to open the file: “Does not appear to be a Sketch Up file”.

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

View Rick's profile

Rick

144 posts in 2971 days


#15 posted 11-29-2009 01:20 AM

Thanks for the heads up – I just got the same thing, and a 2nd time after uploading a second time… Working on it!

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

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