Side Table - Prototype

  • Advertise with us
Project by MJCD posted 02-22-2021 03:55 PM 384 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In Cherry and Maple, this side-table is a thought that I had on something to site alongside a contemporary chair. It is a prototype… to access proportions, visual weights and measures, and to re-engage a shop that I’ve been absent from – a polite way to say that I’ve made mistakes on this piece that I normally would not. Regarding posting this piece, I often search woodworking sites looking for design ideas – this may provide some considerations for like-minded travelers..

Standing 24” tall, 16” deep, and 28” wide, it is relatively small, and continues a recent trend of a very open design (though, the weighting of the legs is heavier than I prefer, and adds a visual bulk to the piece – my daughter disagrees with me, though, she may just being kind!). All joinery is M&T (floating), and the finish is one coat of Sealcoat and two coats Deft Interior Poly – I recommend both.
The maple legs are a two-piece composite, to allow for the arcs – they have a progressive curve starting with approximately 3” of vertical straight length, spanning 11” at the top flat. the top has a 2” flat to provide a glue surface to the top underside.
From a design perspective, the arcing legs are either visually interesting or a distraction – some will say that it does not have a clean elegant look: given the piece’s small size, there may be too much going on. From my perspective, taking some of the weight off the legs should prove beneficial.

I’ll re-make this piece with the following changes, and I hope absent some amateurish mistakes on the M&Ts.
The legs are 1.25” – I’ll probably thin this to 1”, with the width decreasing from 1.5” to 1.25”. I could increase the quarter-round radius… but I’m undecided on this.
I’ll spray the finish, as I usually do. For this piece, I brushed-on the three coats, and I’m not good with brushing.

I hope you find the piece interesting; and, I’m always interested in serious feedback

8 comments so far

View freestateworker's profile


18 posts in 1982 days

#1 posted 02-22-2021 06:51 PM

Frankly I like the curving legs—gives it a point of visual interest from every side. I agree with your plan to thin the legs down. They do appear too heavy for what they’re holding up. It might be worth pondering if the 2 legs that curve out on the back edge should be thinner than the side legs. Just a thought. I like your choice of woods. I think the coloring keeps it visually light and is keeping with more modern styling. It is a nice looking prototype.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1553 posts in 3674 days

#2 posted 02-22-2021 06:55 PM

Yup I to love the curves, great choice of woods, thin up the legs. Great work.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Ocelot's profile


2883 posts in 3649 days

#3 posted 02-22-2021 10:06 PM

Nice. I’m always looking at the practical side. The shelf seems a little hard to reach. If you were sitting in that chair, and wanted to put something on the lower shelf, it seems a bit awkward.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View swirt's profile


6024 posts in 3982 days

#4 posted 02-23-2021 12:49 AM

I like what you’ve done with the design. The arcs are attractive. I think they are appropriately sized. If anything seems slightly out of proportion I think it’s the feet. They could probably be a touch thinner, but then maybe they would lack the strength needed.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Kerux2's profile


281 posts in 2742 days

#5 posted 02-23-2021 02:33 AM


-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Madmark2's profile


2308 posts in 1599 days

#6 posted 02-23-2021 02:39 AM

Pretty damn good “prototype”! Nice work.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View mtnwild's profile


3737 posts in 4538 days

#7 posted 02-23-2021 03:22 AM

I like it. Looks good. It looks sturdy to me. I don’t mind a little over build. That one will last forever. A more delicate one would be cool to. I always look to see if anything could be removed if not really needed. Simple but sturdy is good. Most of my enjoyment comes from the design process. The work part is hard for me, till the end, then I just have to accept it, and move on…By the way, really nice projects you have here, Awesome…Jack…....

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View MJCD's profile (online now)


608 posts in 3382 days

#8 posted 02-23-2021 02:14 PM

Great Comments! Thank you for the thoughtful feedback.

I’ve thought about this, and I agree with the comments made. What I’ll do on the re-build:
The feet need to narrow, and I’ll replace the contrasting color end-cap with simply an extension of the Maple – this reduces both the physical and visual weight… in a sense, the cumulative reduction become one plus one = 3.
The legs need to narrow slightly; though, I’m not trying to make this elegant, as I like the somewhat over-built look.
The shelf is set-back too far – perhaps an inch, and in the current context appears design- rather than functionally oriented.
The front of the bottom plinth needs to arc continuously, rather than have a 90 degree angle as the feet attach to the back.

A further design idea, or a variant, would be to eliminate the two back legs, and have the top shelf resting solely on the side legs. This approach may require an underside bracing for the top – this would take the form of a dado-ed 1”x 1” stretcher somewhere toward the back of the top.

Additional Build Notes:
The top and shelves are nominally 5/8” and 1/2” respectively. the arcs are templated at a 93” radius.

Thanks again for the very thoughtful comments.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics