Author Topic: Vaguely mid-century modern side table  (Read 681 times)

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3886
Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« on: August 06, 2019, 08:37 AM »
Shortly after I first joined the FOG, I remember seeing an image of a small table design that I really liked, which had curved legs capturing two shelves/surfaces.  I didn't bookmark it at the time, and I subsequently had no luck tracking down the image, even after posting a help find thread in 2015:

http://festoolownersgroup.com/member-projects/help-finding-member-project-post-about-bubinga-side-table/

So I've had this design kicking around my head for quite a few years.

The second driver of the present project was to try something in the mid-century modern vein.  It's a style I don't particularly like, but it's been back in vogue now for a number of years, and since I have fielded a few inquiries for commissions of mid-century modern pieces in the past couple of years (but which I ultimately passed on), I figured I would do well to experiment with the aesthetic to expand my repertoire.

So I decided to tweak the original, inspiring design by building it in walnut and making the shelves/surfaces more curvy, and so better approximate the back to the future Jetsons look that is the hallmark of mid-century modern.

I sketched the two elements of the design in Fusion 360 so I could produce the templates with my Shaper Origin:





The key was having the top and bottom mortises in the legs fixed to the same longitudinal construction line, such that two equally dimensioned shelves would ensure the straightness/squareness of the whole assembly.  Using a template for the two shelves -- as opposed to producing the shape by hand -- was also a way of ensuring that their dimensions matched exactly.

I thought I got lucky at the lumber yard in finding only a 6ft long piece of 8/4 walnut, which was more than enough for the legs, and so did not have to overspend on excess wood:



Some additional twisting and bowing appeared after cutting the individual pieces though:



Which, on top of the depressions on one side meant that after jointing and planing it I was down to only about 1.65" thickness.

I realized too late when routing out the legs with the template:



that my flush-trim spiral bit was dull, which caused the bit to catch on certain parts of the grain and create some nasty tear out on a few of the legs that I had to work down further with the spindle sander:



I squared the mortises by hand, taking advantage in the layout of the fact that they ran along the same axis in the leg:

 

After I had already completed the shelves I also drill pressed the access holes where the screws would go to hold the whole assembly:



Shelves and assembly follow in the next post

Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3886
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 09:20 AM »
I got two 7 ft. long, roughly 9" wide 4/4 walnut boards to do the shelves, cutting them into 36" pieces, dominoing them along the edge and then gluing up two roughly 17" x 36" panels:





Routed them with the 2200 using the Shaper Origin produced template:



Ending up with this:



Next came a whole sequence of moves that proved to be unnecessary, or at least the care and precision I thought I was exercising ended up being wasted.

I made the slots on the legs 1/2", so that they would mate into a 1/4" mortise cut on the shelves at the corners.  The original design idea was for the shelf mortises to be on the top side.

So I carefully laid them all out so that I could replicate the approximate angle of the leg, wasting the bulk with chisels and then finishing up with the router plane:

 



For the lower shelf, I had taken advantage of the fact that the 1/4" lip on my combination square exactly matched the depth of the mortise, such that I would get the correct measurement for where to start the mortise on the shelf:



I couldn't do this for the top slots however, since it was on the downslope of the curved, so I instead transferred the dimension at measured 1/4" up the curve from the template design file.  The problem is that I forgot about the extra thickness I had had to sand away on the spindle sander to remove the tear-out, so when I eventually did the dry fitting, I realized the mortises on the top shelf were at least an 1/8" too big:



If it were just that, I might have just left it alone, but my impatience got the better of me during the initial dry fit.  Individually each of the shelf mortises had a good, snug fit with the corresponding slot on the legs.  But it's another matter when you put everything together and try to mate 8 snug fitting connections all at once.  To overcome the resistance, I ended up twisting and banging the boards too hard, which resulted in the top lip on two of the legs snapping off:



That meant I had to sand them down on the spindle sander even further -- but with the mortises in the shelves already cut, this would make for a very unsightly gap.  So I decided just to flip the shelves over so that mortises were on the bottom out of sight ( I had to chop the top shelf mortise a bit wider to accommodate the greater projection of the slot further up the curve of the leg -- though reversing the bottom shelf required no additional adjustments):



Besides the wasted effort, I ended up with the visible face of both shelves being the B-Side rather than the A-side.  Not a huge deal, but this means the whiter sapwood is visible along the joint on the top shelf, whereas what is now the underside had a more seamless joint.

Last up, finishing.

Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3886
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 09:44 AM »
Even after routing a generous roundover -- especially on the legs -- I ended up doing hours and hours of sanding with the interface pad up to 320 to soften everything up to the desired shape:



Assembly was very easy.  Everything is just held together with screws, 4 per leg, that I counterbored:



And then filled with some walnut wood plugs knocked out on the drill press:

 

Excited I got to use my recently-acquired LN 101 violin makers plane to trim the plugs:



Applied some satin Osmo Polyx Oil yesterday, and will do a second coat today, and will finish up by tapping holes in the bottom of the legs for some adjustable feet:

 

 

 

Despite there just being screws, the connection formed by the shelf mortises and leg slots is very solid -- though if I were going to do another iteration of this design, I would try to make it even sturdier.  The main thing I might change is to mate the legs together with some stretchers rather than just rely on the shelves.  I would obviously need to tweak the leg design to create little nubs/projections perpendicular to the ground that could be dominoed to mate the stretchers.  And the stretchers would require an odd angled cruciform lap joint in the middle, but this should be pretty easy to create either on the table saw with a miter gauge and dado stack or on the MFT.  The shelves would then just sit on top of the stretchers, though perhaps I could cut out slots in the corners so that they wrapped around the legs.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 11:35 PM by ear3 »
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline ChiknNutz

  • Posts: 84
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 09:55 AM »
Neat execution!  Love walnut.

How do you like the Osmo Polyx Oil?  I recently just ran across it on the web, have not yet tried it.
-Chris
Rotex 150/5 FEQ, CT 36 E, ETS EC125/3, TS75, Domino XL

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 873
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 10:09 AM »
Very nice!

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3886
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 10:47 AM »
Thanks, and thanks also @HarveyWildes

I like it a lot -- I alternate between Surfix and Osmo on most of my projects, but tend to teach for the Osmo when I want a more durable finish.

@Peter Parfitt of the New Brit Workshop has done a lot of coverage of Osmo if you're curious:

http://festoolownersgroup.com/finishing/methods-of-applying-osmo-polyx-video/

Neat execution!  Love walnut.

How do you like the Osmo Polyx Oil?  I recently just ran across it on the web, have not yet tried it.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 851
Re: Vaguely mid-century modern side table
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 11:18 AM »
Edward, as usual, I enjoy seeing the results of your work.