-why can't i just build a rectangular table?

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Blog entry by learnin2do posted 09-20-2010 04:56 AM 12078 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I need to make some money, so i am going through the pile of milled walnut to find goodies. I have so much trouble trying to build something traditional and desirable, but i am trying. I just never can true or square anything. I know it can be done with minimal tools; it must be impatience and lack of training. -or my round brain.
-why can’t i just build a rectangular table?cleaning wood


-- ~christine @ used2btrees

11 comments so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4842 posts in 4349 days

#1 posted 09-20-2010 05:06 AM

Hmmm, it looks like your style lends itself to non-rectilinear forms. There’s nothing wrong with that, you’ll just need to find your market. If you feel you MUST make things all square, get a reality check from the number of people here (myself included) who have trouble making things perfectly “square”. But, in my case, I look for square in the thousandths of an inch over a foot of travel. I have no problem making that in metal, as I design it and it gets made via CNC, no problem. Wood working isn’t that kind of precision, generally. If you want to buy the large milling machine, jointer, panel saw, etc., you’ll get stuff square. But a way expensive way to start.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4258 days

#2 posted 09-20-2010 05:49 AM

Because that’s boring!? You do wonderful unique projects and need to stay with that kind of work in my opinion. If you make rectangular tables you are in direct competition with all the furniture stores around you and have to contend with their “sales”. Maybe check out some of these furniture stores and see if they would be willing to show/sell for you? “Nothing ventured nothing gained”

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4082 days

#3 posted 09-20-2010 06:01 AM

Because rectangles look too square. And you don’t want to be a square. To some people, square is boring. So if noone was like you, then the world would be boring. So instead of worrying about being boring, why not just be thrilled that you’re not boring and build another NON-square, NON-boring table.


View rdlaurance's profile


381 posts in 4587 days

#4 posted 09-20-2010 08:45 AM

learnin2do… be happy in working outside the limits of the forced and human (industrial) preoccupation of hard geometry. Organic geometry is natural, abundant and speaks of life itself! Your work is unique and carries its own sense of aesthetics and purpose.

I personally wish that industrial designers could slip back into the Art Nouveau or Jungendstil of the turn of the 20th Century, which embodied the organic.

I mean no offence to modern day architects, as styles change as the calendars do, but I have seen many houses (here in Scandinavia, leastways) designed in what is called I believe the style of ‘functionalism.’

This present day ‘Functionalism’ must certainly stem primarily from Chicago’s historical architect, Louis Sullivan, who had popularized the phrase ‘form ever follows function’ to capture his belief that… ‘a building’s size, massing, spatial grammar and other characteristics should be driven solely by the function of the building.’ His implication was that if the functional aspects are satisfied, architectural beauty would naturally and necessarily follow. Yet I look at some of the house designs and wonder if the new academics had taught these graduating pupils only in how to use a straight edge and square. The houses, I refer to are no more than a square box and with some of the minimalist furnishings within, they appear to be no more than a LARGE box! Not exactly what I prefer to live in. A dwelling should have a soul and character and reflect life… and life is not about hard-edged geometry. Just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less!

So just rejoice and be content in working with your hands and your mind and try not to pin yourself down to absolute perfection, unless you start designing nuclear energy plants… then I would appreciate your extra attention to the micro-meter, just for everybody’s additional assurance of better safety….


-- Rick, south Sweden

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 4635 days

#5 posted 09-20-2010 02:38 PM

Working in freeform is fine, but if you want to build , let’s say a built in cabinet, true and square may be something to strive for.
In my own desire to make things exhibit real 90 degree squareness (within the limits of real- time woodworking) I found these things important to me.
1. set all my tools to the best squareness and trueness I can.
2. develop my assembly technique so I can have a reasonable expectatioin of squareness.
3. have and use MANY clamps of MANY sorts and learn to use them.
4. have a flat and stable work surface upon which to assemble things I wish to be square.

That said, it occurs to me that your question may not be serious in this regard, and you may be referring to your lack of desire to make things that are square and true, and if that’s the case then I say, -

Have Fun!


I had a look at your projects and it looks like your preference is for freeform objects.
Nicely artistic.
Forget what I said above!

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 4321 days

#6 posted 09-20-2010 05:28 PM

Another great project. I’m glad you don’t conform to the norm. It’s what makes each of us different and gives us our own style. Keep up the good work!

-- Matt -

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4180 days

#7 posted 09-20-2010 09:56 PM

Because square is boring! Do what you do, do well! I think there was a song like that..

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 4078 days

#8 posted 09-20-2010 10:17 PM

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA—- That’s really really funny Christine.. LOLOLOLOLOLOL…. Now,I am looking at your photo and I see in the upper left hand corner 2 lovely boards just crying out to me to take them and turn them into long tables, live edge with a Y at the end (crotch?). Just need sanded and planed and mortise in some nice LOG legs put in some twig cross members and wala—a beautiful live edge table… with no square required. Now, why would you want to take those lovely pieces of perfectly wonderful wood and turn them into a square table? Some people are linear thinkers and others are lateral thinkers. You my friend are a lateral thinker. And remember square pegs don’t fit in round holes.. Never.. ever. But you made my day. :) :) :) :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View learnin2do's profile


891 posts in 4091 days

#9 posted 09-21-2010 02:17 AM

I do need more clamps!! -good ones

-yeah, rg-it was hard cutting them. -notice i still have yet to really square them; i’m not sure that i can do it.

-Thanks, guys; maybe yo are right, and what comes from me without fighting it is what appeals to others more anyway.

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

View rdlaurance's profile


381 posts in 4587 days

#10 posted 09-21-2010 08:30 AM

Seeing some of the LJer’s clamp tool boards…. I shake my head and wish Santa would drag in a large bag of clamps to my household as well. I’ve only 6 (very old) of assorted sizes and never enough of any size I could REALLY use when I need it….. LOL one day, I’ll probably get a couple more, as well…. LOL

-- Rick, south Sweden

View learnin2do's profile


891 posts in 4091 days

#11 posted 09-23-2010 06:43 AM

i had to make a jig with 2×4s -then i tilted the boards i was gluing and screwed them from the back at a slight angle, then flattened them back out and pressed the thing in the vertical jig (does that make sense) -the edges tightened from screwing them at the angle on one side, then straightening…
anyways, i wasn’t sure it would work, but it seems to have worked as well as i could have hoped. especially with my crooked edges and untrue slabs. -i’ll fill it in with dust-glue filler! -worse come to worst, i’ll make some decorative inlaid c**p to camouflage it! shaky start


The oak has been cut but not routed enough to flush-fit the walnut yet. It is just sitting in the space while i think about it and walk by and see what i should have done -what rg was envisioning and suggesting!!

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

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