Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ve' got a new client, my son !!!

He lives in England, and I promised to make a coffee table for him. The saga has been going on since last December, but was delayed for various reasons.

Coffee tables are most symbolic pieces of furniture in western houses. They can be tragically big (if your living room is like a warehouse), or outrageously eccentric (a huge brass propeller about 1.50 meters accross with a crystal on top has been my record), superlatively heavy (a whole tree trunk - try moving it to hoover the carpet), or with extremely sharp edges (so you deduce that all users have bruised legs) or intricately delicate (so if you pour the soup bowl on it, you can't clean it). I think, in old Eastern Europe decoration, there were no coffee tables; a central dinner table occupied the middle of the living room, instead. This used to be the case for Greece as well, especially in traditional village decoration.

Nowadays, you want to be able to rest your legs on it, to see the tv across the room over it, to have some food to nibble, even to be able to sit on it. So I deicded the height would 45cm, the same used for chairs and benches. Scandinavian coffee tables are more "tables" than that; they are 53 - 55 cm tall.

The living room is rather small, so my son ordered it 50cm wide x 125 cm long. I would go for Fibonacci numbers, and make it e.g. 55 x 144, but he will be using it, so let him decide about the size.

My usual cypress planks are the material, and the thin legs will have to be replaced by wide plank-like sides, in the manner of medieval furniture.

It took me a long time to draw, plan, cut and assemble it, and now it is ready for final sanding and varnishing. I decided this time to present it at the end of its construction and not to keep you awake for months until I finish the thing. (ambition, eh?)

Pictures to be uploaded tonight.

Ay comments and criticism welcome, exchange of opinions helps me understand different points of view.
 

·
Official Greeter
Joined
·
19,858 Posts
Hi Dimitri, Love to see some photos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
As long as you and your son are happy it no one else's concern what the end result is, they may disagree with the implementation technique but the design is sacred to the builder, a piece of art in wood. Ditto on looking forward to the seeing the pictures.

Good luck, Baker
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
first pictures

As promised, and sorry for the delay:

DESIGN: based on the leg design of the middle ages, where it was not possible to cut furniture legs of square shape and oblong, these here are made by joining 3 - 4 planks and then cutting the middle off to make two legs at the bottom ofeach board, and then cutting off a design to make the legs aesthetically (and actually) lighter.Two pillars, partially joined as wedges through a loop in the base, secured with dowels to the tabletop and to the leg along its length, to protect from "matchbox" instability. One through-and-through drawer, sliding of wooden side rails.

MATERIAL: Cypress planks 25mm to 30mm thick, and 2200mm long x 320mm wide, directly from the sawmill. No planing, no thicknessing.

METHOD: dowel joints all over, no metal parts at all. 8 mm dowels for precision joining boards or planks, 10 mm dowels for strenthening and securing the cypress so it will not split and it will warp less. No planing, no thicknessing. The only power tools used are: radial arm saw used for ripping, router for precision dowel joints and rounding the edges, electric drill for long 10 mm dowelling , belt sander and orbital sander. A LOT OF ELBOW GREASE to soften all edges, natural or not; I believe it is the smooth curves that make it beautiful.

All questions will be answered (so please no questions on the scope of life etc, show some mercy !!!). Please tell me what you think of it ascarpentry from the hands of a doctor.

With thanks
 

Attachments

·
Official Greeter
Joined
·
19,858 Posts
You can operate on me, anytime, Dimitri.....

Excellent work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
James, thank you, your comment is really superlative...

[I just added my pic, but I must have mixed up something, instead of my pic showing on the left, it shows under all comments - I must withdraw it, I can't stand seeing myself so often on the screen...]
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,056 Posts
read your post Dimitri.....looked at the pics..

but darn ole James stole my line *LOL*...

sometimes ya just gotta laugh... very nice work!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dear Bill, James and Richard, please tell me what you think of it as a style, technique and result. It is a pity I can only put here a few pics; I would like to talk extensively about its weak points, about the lack of accuracy in its angles and surfaces, about my religious devotion to perhaps unnecessary processes, and I am curious to see how others perceive such a result. If you can, I would deeply appreciate it if you showed the pics to your ladies and see what they say; do they enjoy the not-so-perfect look? Would it bind with more stylish furniture? Would they mind if the grooves and asymmetries on its surfaces collect dust or dirt when by mistake something is spilled on and has to be cleaned?

With thanks to all
 

·
Registered
Theo
Joined
·
7,195 Posts
I like that. A lot. Not only the style, but the fact you used all dowels. :yes4:
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
It is good to see you back on the forum Doctor D. Once again, your design work is exceptional. You say you didn't use Fibonacci proportions in the design but it still looks very well proportioned and has some nice architectural touches.

It would easily blend in a rustic setting and should probably go well with traditional styling.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,056 Posts
Hey Dimitri.. round here the style or design of your table might easily be considered to be “country” or “rustic”. Being very utilitarian in design as well as function. Personally I look at coffee tables to be a focal point of a room and at the very least, a major contributing factor in a rooms overall style. I think it would be safe to say that the vast majority of folks really don’t put that much stock into it. Folks like a coffee table, they like it and off they go.
Being a hobbyist woodworker, I tend to build things with a purpose in mind. Be it a commissioned piece or something given as a gift built hoping it will fit nicely into whatever décor surrounds it. The table you’ve built here demonstrates my point. Built for someone to their specs and taste. You worked with your son to give him what he asked for. A very cool thing in my book. These are the projects I most enjoy. As Baker said earlier, as long as you and your son are happy with it, that’s all that matters :)
So, in hopes of answering a few of your questions, here goes. First, style.. I like the style of the table. Unique design (something I really enjoy in woodworking). Given the reasoning behind your choice of design, who can argue with it. Considering it was purpose made to your sons liking, you nailed it IMHO. Incorporating a specific ‘period’ into the piece was pretty cool. I’ve personally never done a piece with a period theme such as your “middle ages”. Actually kinda cool. I’m gonna have to play with that concept sometime. Your choice of material and deciding to not do any further mill work only compliments the concept. Staying true to the period. Again, well thought out! The soft edges and natural contours compliment the piece as well. Giving an aged look to a new construction. You asked about the lack of accuracy to the angles and surface. Were you attempting to “copy” a piece, then perhaps this might be a bigger issue. Since this is your interpretation of a period piece..its all good. You’ve already demonstrated skills that were you of the mind to have created sharp, crisp angles, you could have done so. Leaving the surface factory milled is cool. Nick, scrapes, dings, rings or whatever will only add to the patina of the piece.  One of the problems with fine furniture is that as soon as you get one decent scratch… holy crap, it stands out like a sore thumb. You spend more time looking at the scratch than you do at the piece itself. You stand there and say oh my…its ruined. Whereas with your table, you could just as easily stand there as ask “who done dat”?..
You asked for the Mrs. Thoughts.. so here they are..
She like it…a lot.. but she’s a good ole country gal who’s tastes in furniture lean towards the more contemporary. I’ve built some beautiful pieces of what I’d consider high end furniture and she’d just say, “oh, that’s very nice”. I've built straight forward, nothing special oak boxes and she absolutely loves em.. go figure :) You’d almost certainly need to put this into the right kind of surroundings for it to fit. But, you pretty much have to do that with anything. Unless you’re going for an eclectic look. A little bit of everything, not to much of anything… :nono::nono::nono:And finally… never, NEVER ask about having to dust or clean something. You’re gonna lose. *L* Unless its self cleaning, self maintained, that much of it, nobody likes..
Hope ya didn’t mind my being a bit long winded here… but ya asked  Nice work Dimitri!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
SIR,
You did just fine, yes sir that is OK !!!!!
Like said above, I believe that not only the coffee table size has to be taken into consideration but what type of surroundings it to be place in,,,furniture, flooring,,taste has to do when asking, "What type of styling does the customer like". Then you get into the design,,,,in this Dimitri the wood you picked, the overall design,,,,,well it goes together,,,,"just fine". As the Bridish have this saying to echo, when everyone agrees,, "Here, Here"...........!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
I like it a lot, the box on shelf design makes it reminiscent of very early colonial furniture and European working man's furniture from the 1400~1650's. I have also seen sketches of similar pieces (taken from mosaics) dating to the Roman and Early Greek periods. Truly a work of love, art and beauty.

Thank you for sharing this with me,
Baker
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Charles, thank you for your remarks; I want to ask, the name "Chuck" is what somenoe calls you or is it some sort of professional nickname, related to Jacob's Chuck? I am asking because I call my son "Chuck", I think after a character in some comics, can't really remamber now where I caught it from. Fibonacci numbers, are another long story, I have posted my point of view (and got some extremely interesting comments in another thread I started here (please see "stools and Fibonacci numbers"). Thank you for your comments.

Bill, many thanks for the time and sweat to analyse so much on the subject, perhaps it is not worth so much, but you really showed me a lot. On its style, I need to explain that a lot of my "medievalism" comes from the lack of proper and accurate woodworking machines: no band saw, no planer, no thicknesser; I have a very good friend who is a capable carpenter with a fully equipped workshop, but I hate going to him to say "please do these 10 things for me, so I can glue up a Lous XIV chair", and then take the glue brush, put the bits together and boast I made a Louis XIV chair myself. So, eventually, I ended up working with what I have. On the other hand, I lack professional knowledge, I do not have much time to spend in the workshop, and never made a penny out of it. Yet, I worked and worked things over and over in my mind and came up with these answers my furniture shows. (Saw marks, rounded edges, dowel joints, all you see here). It did not start as an eccentricity, it came out as the only available technique. You mention very cleverly the significance of a single scratch on an otherwise immaculate tabletop; yes, I am very happy I can use the table in peace; it is certain that pizza, sauce, coffee and others will be spilled on it at times. And I will never ask if it is easy to clean, but I am sure I will hear long comments ! And don't worry about not hearing good comments for what you do; a lot of people are stringy on their praises and eloquent on their criticism, although this does not reflect their true feelings.

(I will continue later)
 

·
Registered
Theo
Joined
·
7,195 Posts
I want to ask, the name "Chuck" is what somenoe calls you

I need to explain that a lot of my "medievalism" comes from the lack of proper and accurate woodworking machines: no band saw, no planer, no thicknesser;
So, eventually, I ended up working with what I have.
Yet, I worked and worked things over and over in my mind and came up with these answers my furniture shows. (Saw marks, rounded edges, dowel joints, all you see here).
And I will never ask if it is easy to clean, but I am sure I will hear long comments
Over here Chuck is a standard nickname for Charles.
I happen to like that medieval style, keep it up.
You understand it perfectly, you work with what you have.
I happen to like the dowel joints too.
I would say put a few coats of a good varnish, or something similar on it, and you should be able to wipe clean easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
(continuing what I left half-done above)

John, thank you for your comments. I must add that in Greece we don't stick to styles very much usually, just try to make things comfortable (at least the friends I have). A hand-made, medieval-looking centerpiece I have not seen before, so the ability to make such pieces seems interesting to me, and I am sorry my house is already full mostly with furniture purchased. So, the idea of making something for my son, gives me hope, and I spent a long time day-dreaming that many years after I am gone, he will be caressing the edges thinking that I smoothened them with my hands, and it gave me a very warm feeling (realistically, it is quite possible that his lady will talk him out of it and into a "proper" coffee table that will match couch*LOL*) ... And as for the British "HERE HERE..." I heard it several times when I was there, but I never saw it written, so I don't know if it is "HERE - HERE" or "HEAR - HEAR", since they say it cheering for someone.
And thanks for your comments and approval.

Richard Baker, I am honored indeed if its appearance springs into your mind so many historic things, I am sorry to say I have nothing about ancient greek furniture. If you could suggest a book i am happy to chase it and have a look at it.

Theo, thank you for your comments. As I have done with other pieces I have made, it is important to enhance the contrast of the grain; cypress has the dull color of pine and it has the tendency to present "stains" as the time passes. Only after a number of years, the color becomes nice and sweet. So I use walnut-colored stain in polyurethane varnish, and usually get acceptable results.

With thanks to all
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,056 Posts
(continuing what I left half-done above)

So, the idea of making something for my son, gives me hope, and I spent a long time day-dreaming that many years after I am gone, he will be caressing the edges thinking that I smoothened them with my hands, and it gave me a very warm feeling l
Dimitri...

For this reason, this is why we do, what we do..with what we got :) It does not take a shop full of high end equipment to produce memories and warm feelings that have the potential to last several lifetimes....:yes4:
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
As Theo said, Chuck is a common nickname as is Charlie and Chas. I answer to all of those and one or two that my wife has for me that I can't print.

Dr. you seem to have a talent for being able to take a number of elements and blend them together into something very pleasing to look at.
 

·
Premium Member
Retired since June 2000
Joined
·
15,065 Posts
Dimitri, how can I apologize for having missed this thread. Without my many power tools there is no way that I could have achieved results like you have. I think that you know me well enough to know that I tell the truth, sometimes at the risk of offending the odd person, so bearing this in mind, believe me when I tell you that you have excelled yourself, if you lived in a more financially stable country you could probably give up surgery and concentrate on custom furniture selling for thousands of dollars for a small masterpiece.
One thing that I keep forgetting to ask you, aren't you scared of injuring your fingers/hands, do you take any special precautions?
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top