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View fiddlebanshee's profile

stretcher or no stretcher?

by fiddlebanshee
posted 11-03-2018 01:43 PM


28 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

600 posts in 1185 days


#1 posted 11-03-2018 01:47 PM

I think you’ll be fine without stretchers. I’m an M&T kind of guy, so I can’t endorse pockets screws.

-- Sawdust Maker

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#2 posted 11-03-2018 02:07 PM

Lol, it just has to do with my (non existent) comfort level with M&T given that I am a beginning woodworker and this would be my first project this big. I might use this opportunity to practice the MT technique, though and if it turns out well, I could put in a few.

Please also keep your ideas on all design aspects coming. The idea was that the filled in pieces of paper fall through the slot in the top into the drawer and the drawer gets pulled out to collect them. The side trays would hold pencils and the prayer request papers (1/4 sheets of letter size paper). I will probably make dividers in them to make organizing easier.

The drawer will also get a divider in the middle to separate older requests from new ones. That is why the slot is not in the middle of the top. I was thinking of making a small board go down attached to the underside of the top just left of the slot to just above the drawer so that the papers don’t migrate over the divider in the middle when people drop them in, and they stay neatly where they are supposed to be.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

463 posts in 3145 days


#3 posted 11-03-2018 02:09 PM

For public use, I WOULD recommend stretchers. Individuals are likely to approach the desk rarely, and might not respect it as artwork. I imagine that quite a few of them would accidentally kick one of those skinny legs on approach. (And they ARE skinny legs, with an apparently heavy top structure.)

Better make it sturdy.

And toward that end, better use mortise and tenon joinery.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

4212 posts in 1953 days


#4 posted 11-03-2018 02:22 PM

It seems like the desks that I have seen like that, with long, thin legs, have had stretchers. I went to Woodsmith Magazine to see if they had a plan for one and sure enough, they had a stretcher between the legs on each side and a single cross stretcher connecting the middle of the side stretchers on their design. Since people tend to lean on desks like that, I think you want to add the extra strength that stretchers provide, especially for something that tall.

Instead of pocket screws, if you are not ready to tackle a hand cut mortise and tenon, I think that I would join the legs to the desk sides using stopped grooves and dados that you can cut with a router. In other words, rout grooves from the top end of the leg (square the stop end with a chisel) so you can slide in a tenon cut on the ends with the table saw of the sides and back. This will result in a much stronger and durable piece. If you have never done this before just practice with some scraps before you attempt it with your nice wood.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#5 posted 11-03-2018 02:28 PM

Jim and Nathan – good points, esp about people leaning on the desk. Then if I need stretchers they cannot be in the tapered part of the leg, right?

Nathan—great idea about the joint construction. I think I can wrap my head around that.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1055 days


#6 posted 11-03-2018 02:42 PM

Since this is going to be in a public space, I would definitely go with stretcher for these legs. As jdmaher points out, you also could get people kicking the legs, and what if someone decides to move it and just starts dragging it by the legs?

There is nothing wrong with pocket hole screws in the top where it isn’t visible, but the legs and stretchers should be m&t. Dowels are a good choice for many things – in fact they are a loose m&t – however, since you’re using such thin boards, better go with a m&t.

BTW, how do you like the Fusion 360? I’ve been experimenting in it, and I really like it. I’m actually starting to get an itch to buy a 3d printer.

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

463 posts in 3145 days


#7 posted 11-03-2018 03:00 PM

On tapering the legs . . .

It is possible to taper the outside edges and leave the inside edges straight. Since the mortises are on the inside edges, there isn’t a problem. But that always looks wrong to me.

So, yeah, put stretchers in the un-tapered section. In fact. I think I’d start the taper just below the stretchers.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1464 days


#8 posted 11-03-2018 03:10 PM

Instead of a stretcher maybe a shelf?

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#9 posted 11-03-2018 03:11 PM

Ok, yea that’s what I thought.

I spent some time looking at shaker style furniture pictures online and many do not have any stretchers. So I’m still on the fence on this. I will probably make the legs a bit beefier, going from 2.5 to 1.25 instead of 1.5 to 1.

The other consideration is that this is going to sit against a wall. So that will stabilize it. We may even think of fastening it to the wall at the back apron.

One other consideration that I had was to add another drawer, the frame of which would functions as a stretcher.

How did the shakers get away building tables like this without stretchers that didn’t fall apart?

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#10 posted 11-03-2018 03:13 PM



Instead of a stretcher maybe a shelf?
- jbay

Yes, another option to put on the list!

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5447 posts in 2874 days


#11 posted 11-03-2018 04:54 PM

Yeah stretchers, they are a good place for your feet. :) With good M&T joinery on a 7’’ apron I’d skip them. I think they would be distracting to the nice clean line of the work. If you must them Jay’s idea is next in line IMHO

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

694 posts in 2500 days


#12 posted 11-03-2018 05:08 PM

My experiences have been that typically older people end using this feature frequently. So design appropriately for individuals that will be transferring weight from walkers, canes, be standing temporarily for wheel chairs, etc.. and will use the piece as support as they transition weight from one to another. Likely want to try avoiding creating new prayer requests.

May not be an issue depending on your church make up.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1055 days


#13 posted 11-03-2018 06:48 PM


How did the shakers get away building tables like this without stretchers that didn t fall apart?

- fiddlebanshee

There’s a difference in having a table you throw against a wall and is used on occation by the family, and having something that anybody can push, kick, or move at any time. Plenty of people learn the hard way with Ikea furniture that it lasts until you try moving it a few times.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5571 posts in 2916 days


#14 posted 11-03-2018 07:44 PM

I would say that if you use M&T joints you won’t need stretchers. Pockets screws, no guarantees. Mortise and tenon joints are not hard, give them a go.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#15 posted 11-03-2018 08:19 PM

Ok Thanks everyone for the input. I have decided to listen to y’all and use M&T for the leg/apron assembly. I will still probably use some pocketscrews for the top assembly.

I am thinking a shelf at the midpoint, before the taper would not be a bad idea. I have also increased the leg size from 1”at the bottom to 1 1/2 inch at the top to 2” at the top tapering to 1 inch at the bottom.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

256 posts in 1340 days


#16 posted 11-03-2018 08:39 PM

How about instead of a shelf , stretchers in the shape of a cross. I would also recommend some lower leg support.

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

256 posts in 1340 days


#17 posted 11-03-2018 08:42 PM

How about instead of a shelf , stretchers in the shape of a cross. I would also recommend some lower leg support.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2237 posts in 1169 days


#18 posted 11-03-2018 09:20 PM

Yes. You can build it! Maybe someone said this already but…I would build one out of cheap pine first as a prototype. You will want to build jigs and story sticks etc. to make the job easier and using the prototype to fashion those will make the good one that much easier to build. The next one will just be a copy. I am in the process of building 2 of the same pieces of furniture that are more complex than anything I’ve done before. The prototype took me over a month to build. The second one 2 weeks. The third one 1 week and it is proving to be the nicest of the three.

There is no comparison between the 1st m&t joint I tried and the 12th. They are a thing of beauty now. If this is for a church where thousands of people will use it over its lifetime you want it to be sturdy and heirloom quality. I’m not religious but as a carpenter I doubt Christ used pocket hole screws. He strikes me as more of a mortise and tenon guy.

PS That Fusion 360 model looks great. You like that better than Sketchup??

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

836 posts in 476 days


#19 posted 11-04-2018 12:49 AM

I’d build it with lower shelf, The shelf would add to structural strength and give it a higher quality appeal.

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

836 posts in 476 days


#20 posted 11-04-2018 01:03 AM

I’d build it with lower shelf, The shelf would add to structural strength. also add a decorative rail to the shelf with Plate Rail Spindles and Rail to the lower shelf to give a elegant appeal. The spindles only cost 17 cents each and the small rail could be made from pieces of scrap.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5447 posts in 2874 days


#21 posted 11-04-2018 04:53 AM

Appeal is in the eye of the beholder. For me its no stretchers or shelf.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

4348 posts in 1139 days


#22 posted 11-04-2018 05:30 AM



Instead of a stretcher maybe a shelf?

- jbay

I’ve seen this desk, or very similar at both Churches, and Funeral Homes where people write in memory books, and Wedding and other books showing they were present for whomever the event was for. That said in every case they did have a shelf, or stretchers on what otherwise was a fairly frail table. It’s not uncommon for that little table to be heavily leaned on, and pretty much abused. A lot of elderly folks have a hard time of leaning forward to this desks low level, while not also balancing themselves to keep from falling. So they get pushed on and shoved at often.

-- Think safe, be safe

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5447 posts in 2874 days


#23 posted 11-04-2018 05:36 AM


Instead of a stretcher maybe a shelf?

- jbay

I ve seen this desk, or very similar at both Churches, and Funeral Homes where people write in memory books, and Wedding and other books showing they were present for whomever the event was for. That said in every case they did have a shelf, or stretchers on what otherwise was a fairly frail table. It s not uncommon for that little table to be heavily leaned on, and pretty much abused. A lot of elderly folks have a hard time of leaning forward to this desks low level, while not also balancing themselves to keep from falling. So they get pushed on and shoved at often.

- therealSteveN


I don’t think you have to convenience jbay…......it was his idea.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

240 posts in 3511 days


#24 posted 11-05-2018 06:39 PM

Thanks all for the ideas.

I have redrawn the table with 2 inch to 1 inch legs and a shelf. It looks a bit more clunky that way, I liked the elegant lines of my first design.

So here’s my plan for now. I am going to take the advise to make a prototype from pine. i will use my original design for this. THen I will put it through the paces in terms of abuse to see how much of an issue stability really is. Then I will make a decision on which design to use for the final product.

I learned a lot from all of you. Thanks again for your input!

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1464 days


#25 posted 11-05-2018 07:11 PM


. THen I will put it through the paces in terms of abuse to see how much of an issue stability really is. Then I will make a decision on which design to use for the final product.

- fiddlebanshee

Good idea, I think it will be fine without the stretcher or shelf.
Good strong joints and I wouldn’t worry.
Test away!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5447 posts in 2874 days


#26 posted 11-05-2018 10:27 PM


Instead of a stretcher maybe a shelf?

- jbay

I ve seen this desk, or very similar at both Churches, and Funeral Homes where people write in memory books, and Wedding and other books showing they were present for whomever the event was for. That said in every case they did have a shelf, or stretchers on what otherwise was a fairly frail table. It s not uncommon for that little table to be heavily leaned on, and pretty much abused. A lot of elderly folks have a hard time of leaning forward to this desks low level, while not also balancing themselves to keep from falling. So they get pushed on and shoved at often.

- therealSteveN

I don t think you have to convenience jbay…......it was his idea.

- AlaskaGuy


Do you all just love my spelling (convince)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5447 posts in 2874 days


#27 posted 11-05-2018 10:46 PM



Thanks all for the ideas.

I have redrawn the table with 2 inch to 1 inch legs and a shelf. It looks a bit more clunky that way, I liked the elegant lines of my first design.

So here s my plan for now. I am going to take the advise to make a prototype from pine. i will use my original design for this. THen I will put it through the paces in terms of abuse to see how much of an issue stability really is. Then I will make a decision on which design to use for the final product.

I learned a lot from all of you. Thanks again for your input!

- fiddlebanshee


You could use Alder for your prototype too.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

255 posts in 3490 days


#28 posted 11-05-2018 11:47 PM

I did a secretary type role top desk for my wife with out stretchers and wish I had put some on. It’s not to bad to write on but it moves a little more than I like.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

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