Walnut Sofa Table #1: The Design

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Blog entry by Thomas Keefe posted 01-10-2011 10:00 AM 1416 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I was recently contracted by my wife to design and build a sofa table for our den. This describes the design of the table. As I receive no monetary remuneration for this contract and I live in the house too, I have some design input. However, I was limited to some constraints: (1) Dimensions must be roughly 6’ long and no more than 12” wide; (2) Simple design; and (3) Moderate cost. My goals were to please my customer and try out a new beading plane I recently bought (an old Stanley #45). The sketchup design of the table is shown below.

The legs and stretchers are made from Walnut and I plan to use Mahagony for the top. The stretchers attach to the legs using mortise and tenon joinery. The adjacent tenons are shown as intersecting. It turns out that this is a lot easier to model with Sketchup but it doesn’t work well in practice. ;-) Instead, the tenons are mitered. I divided the tenons to minimize the problems with tenons expanding vertically faster than the mortise. This arrangement is shown below.

The legs have 1/4” taper over their length on the two inner sides. There is a small bead along the lower edge. The design shows a single bead. During construction, I messed up one of the beads. To correct the problem, I added a second. Here is a forum posting that discusses the problem.

The top is held on with cleats mortised into the stretchers. To add rigidity to the frame I added two cross members that are also mortised into the stretchers. This is shown in the figure below.

I will be happy to provide the sketchup model on demand. Thanks for looking.


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