Not-So-Thru-Tenon Table

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Project by Simeond posted 04-05-2012 04:49 AM 1987 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked to donate a piece to an auction for a non-profit on short notice and so designed this piece around some wood I had in the shop. The top, legs and stretcher are cherry, the accents are walnut. I initially made the stretcher through-tenons really long because I didn’t know how far I wanted them to protrude. Then, once I was putting them through the mortise, I was struck by the look of the tenon only going half-way through. So, I went with it and added walnut pins on either side of the legs. The walnut “base” was just having fun as well. I needed some front/back support for “tippyness” but then played around….

Comment and especially critique welcome!!!

-- "...a band of small discoveries, strung like pearls on a thread of curiosity, lending richness to our work...." - James Krenov.......

8 comments so far

View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 3509 days

#1 posted 04-05-2012 11:45 AM

I like it. Sort of a hill billy show off kind of thing. And a different way of showing off tenons.

-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2680 days

#2 posted 04-05-2012 12:30 PM

You did a really good job on this. I like it a lot. The walnut accents are well done and the last pic really shows it to be a good working/drawing table.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View StumpyNubs's profile


7696 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 04-05-2012 01:33 PM


Thanks for posting!
Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
New episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is now online!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View mbfunke's profile


76 posts in 2930 days

#4 posted 04-05-2012 03:24 PM

This is going to sound terrible, but…well, there is no nice way to say it…I hate this thing.

Some caveats…
You are clearly a skilled wood worker, I am a duffer at best.
You seem keen on experimentation (see: and I very much appreciate this. I am too lousy at woodworking to push the boundaries, I am learning the basics. However, my day job emphasizes creative thought and I know how challenging it can be.
I love your emphasis on making wood speak for itself, especially in your cabinet doors
Your design for the library cabinets ( is great, I can easily imagine kids curled up in those nooks reading.
The wood you use in this project is beautiful and I like that you leave it looking natural.

My Criticism…
This project looks unorganized to me. The design appears haphazard and almost accidental—something like a Dr. Frankenstein table of assorted parts.
The walnut base is too much of a contrast with the cherry and breaks up the nice vertical lines running through the top.

I sincerely hope this is not offensive, I really do like much of your work and do not want to upset, I just thought you might want some honest criticism. Anyway, that’s my 2cents, take it for what it’s worth.

-- Mike Funke

View pintodeluxe's profile


5860 posts in 3085 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 03:34 PM

It is like an exploded diagram, i love it! I always wanted to make a table with extremely long through tenons. They could protrude three feet, except I would bang my knees on them.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View cplant's profile


226 posts in 2835 days

#6 posted 04-05-2012 09:40 PM

I like it because its different. To me, it is modern meets rustic. the pins on each side of the tenon looks cool. I think I would love it if the shoulders in the stretcher where further from the legs. Great work and great choice of woods!!!

-- "...if america is any indication, i was born into one great big vacation...." RMB

View JoshOne's profile


54 posts in 2963 days

#7 posted 04-06-2012 04:33 AM

Hmm I’m torn on this one. On one hand I really like the creativity you show in all of your pieces, but on the other hand, I cant stop looking at that tenon piece and feeling uneasy. My first impression, honestly, is that you mis-measured the distance and didn’t give enough of a crap to recut the piece and then decided it would look artsy like this. Now, I know that isn’t the case, at all. What I’m saying is that I feel like there should be more indications given so the viewer understands this is a design choice. Like Mike, I think you’re an incredibly skilled woodworker (much more so than I) I just think that there is a gentle subtlety shown in your other work that is missing here. Not trying to offend at all, I think it is otherwise a stunning piece.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

View Simeond's profile


83 posts in 2675 days

#8 posted 04-06-2012 05:53 AM

I first have to say that I LOVE that there is genuine critique on this forum! Especially on pieces that are experimental. With a straight-forward piece, the extent of the critique can be on quality of craftsmanship and maybe a few tweaks on design. When I’m experimenting, I’m making split decisions (especially with a piece like this with which I had three days to build). I follow a gut, but have no earthly clue whether I’m making the right decisions…

I think I stared at the piece with the tenons tight and then with them half way (as they are now) for a good two hours. This was truly a, “design as you build” piece. After committing to the “half-way tenon”, I decided on the walnut pins on either side to try to make it more obviously a design choice. These pins are hardly necessary for the construction: The mortises were drilled out and chiseled (i don’t have a mortising machine, so they have circular ends) and then I hand-filed the tenons to fit. A painstaking processes, just a little at a time until they fit just snug enough.

One of my habits is to stop a second in the middle of construction – especially if I notice an alternative – and then to stare and ponder. I did that a lot with this piece.

I made some bold decisions – the kind you either love or hate, and I know that. Perhaps I had too much liberty to do that with this piece, since it was for an auction and not a specific customer…

Truly, thank you for the kind comments and thank you, mbfunke and JoshOne, for the great contructive criticism and opinion.

-- "...a band of small discoveries, strung like pearls on a thread of curiosity, lending richness to our work...." - James Krenov.......

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