Author Topic: Transformations  (Read 1972 times)

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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Transformations
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:47 AM »
Not quite 4 weeks ago, a good friend, Rita, brought along an entrance hall table she wanted me to fit a drawer into ...





(Note that these photos were taken in my entrance hall, not Rita's).

It was really a boring ... okay, ugly table. I thought that the proportions were completely ugh, and the legs reminded me of detention in a classroom. The table had been a kerbside salvage by her late husband, a close friend of mine, and a very good woodworker in his own right. It had been used as a work table. Rita had just moved into a new home, and the table was used because the width of the top fitted an alcove in the entrance hall.

I said to Rita that I would re-build the table. "But I must have a drawer", Rita emphasised.

The wood was good Jarrah. The first step was to pull it apart. This was not so easy as simply unscrewing the clips for the top ...



Some evil tablemaker had used a nail gun to attach the corner blocks. Pulling them out left holes in the legs.



The legs were attached with dowels. I would never have guessed as the construction was very strong. Pulling them away caused some of the wood to tear along with it. No way to remove them other than saw the ends away.



Deconstructed ...



Let's begin again ..

I thought that I would do something different with this write-up. Turn it around and start with the finished piece. That's right ... the table rebuild is complete. This will provide a picture of the end result, and we can then look at how certain parts were built. This way around might create a better understanding of where the build was going, and how it got there.

In particular, the drawer. The drawer is a little beauty. I did scratch my head over the construction. No doubt it has been done before, but I could not find any pictures of another like it. I am sure there will be interest in the design. I am chuffed with the efficiency of it. More on this in the next article.

For now, here is the completed table.



The legs have been brought inward, tapered, and a 3 degree splay added to the sides.





The top retained its width (I was threatened with death, or worse, if it was shortened) but was  made shallower. A slight camber was added front-and-back to soften the outline ...



The apron was also made shallower. The original was 100mm (4") high. It is now 65mm (2 1/2") high.



Oy .. where's the drawer gone?!  I could have sworn it was there yesterday. Aah ... there it is ... :)





This is the drawer case ...



With drawer inserted - you need to get close up to see the joins ..



It opens with a pull under the drawer ..



The drawer is shallow, of course, it is just for house keys and the odd remote control. It is just 45mm (1 3/4") high on the outside and 26mm (1") deep inside. The full dimensions are 230mm (9") wide and 280mm (11") deep ...



The sides are 7mm thick. The drawer front is 18mm (roughly 3/4").

To maximise the internal height, the drawer bottom was attached with a groove into the drawer sides rather than using slips. Slips would have used a precious extra 3mm (1/8"). So they 6mm (1/4") drawer bottom has a 3mm rebate, fitting a 3mm groove.



The sides and bottom are quartersawn Tasmanian Oak, which is very stable and tough. One screw at the rear, with an expansion slot, to hold it firmly. A nice, tight drawer ...



It sides in-and-out smoothly. I love that it disappears and is hidden.

More on the construction next time, but feel free to ask questions.



Regards from Perth

Derek

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Offline GoingMyWay

  • Posts: 1052
Re: Transformations
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 10:53 AM »
Beautiful work!  That drawer is completely invisible!

About how long did the project take?
Inquiring Minds Want to Know

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Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 738
Re: Transformations
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 11:05 AM »
@derekcohen We could all strive to one day be as talented as you. Beautiful work.
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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 11:18 AM »
Beautiful work!  That drawer is completely invisible!

About how long did the project take?

Three weekends.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 4042
Re: Transformations
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 11:26 AM »
Wow, the splaying and tapering makes all the difference in the world between ordinary and striking.  A real object lesson in the power of design.
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Offline Don T

  • Posts: 1958
  • Phoenix, Az
Re: Transformations
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 11:44 AM »
It looks great now. Nice job!
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Offline Bert Vanderveen

  • Posts: 654
Re: Transformations
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 11:50 AM »
I like it. Did you consider ‘cambering’ the ends too, to soften the corners?
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline ultane

  • Posts: 53
Re: Transformations
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 12:04 PM »
Beautiful work!!
I might be wrong… Just ask my X...

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1765
Re: Transformations
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 12:07 PM »
The drawer and tapered legs certainly have transformed a dull piece into an elegant hall furniture. Well done. [thumbs up]

Edit: Re: "The legs were attached with dowels. I would never have guessed as the construction was very strong. Pulling them away caused some of the wood to tear along with it. No way to remove them other than saw the ends away."

Tom of Thomas Johnson Antique Furniture Restoration. U.S., a third-generation restorer, uses a heat gun and putty knife (where the heat is directed at) to loosen up all the dowel joints (whether hide glue or PVA glue is used) he comes across. He uses a side-cutter to remove nails, and he generously shared with me one of his trade tricks: he ground the cutter's bottom side flat so it could bite into the nail heads. I subsequently learned that the same could be done on an end-cutter.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 07:49 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7387
Re: Transformations
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 12:09 PM »
Very nice...the new geometries really make a huge aesthetic difference. Not to mention the narrowing of the apron.

Love the drawer bottom solution.  [big grin]


Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 12:14 PM »
I like it. Did you consider ‘cambering’ the ends too, to soften the corners?

No Bert. It would have been too much rounding. The edges received a fine chamfer.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1960
Re: Transformations
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2020, 12:18 PM »
I would say the original effort to "save" this wasn't very successful, but this effort was quite successful!  And I like the change in the presentation as well.  Certainly helps me grasp the 50,000 ft (or meter) view of the task at hand before you dive into each detail.  Like everyone else, I'm intrigued by the drawer and anxiously awaiting that update!  Well done, now it's not just functional, it's beautiful too!
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 02:06 PM by RKA »
-Raj

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6556
Re: Transformations
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 12:34 PM »
Yes, you totally turned that boring standard table into something special. Very nicely done, aesthetically.

I scratched my head for a moment where the drawer has gone. Nice how you hid it so well, but a little small.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3964
Re: Transformations
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2020, 12:40 PM »
@derekcohen, you did a magnificent job of hiding the drawer!  I really like the overall look of the update.   [smile]
- Willy -

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Offline jimbo51

  • Posts: 487
Re: Transformations
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2020, 12:42 PM »
What did Rita say about the transformation?

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 312
Re: Transformations
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2020, 01:05 PM »
Wow, that is very nice!   Wonderful transformation.

Curious how you made the joints that originally had dowels?

Bob

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2020, 01:22 PM »
What did Rita say about the transformation?

Jim, she has not yet seen the table. This weekend.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2020, 01:24 PM »
Wow, that is very nice!   Wonderful transformation.

Curious how you made the joints that originally had dowels?

Bob

Bob, that did create a problem. Rather than a quick answer, I will post about this in more detail.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline CeeJay

  • Posts: 112
Re: Transformations
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2020, 01:32 PM »
That’s beautiful Derek. A lovely drawer. Hand cut dovetails?


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Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 508
Re: Transformations
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2020, 01:56 PM »
Derek as usual great work.  For my level of skills I would have been satisfied with the original design. You have elevated to yet another level
Vijay Kumar

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1092
Re: Transformations
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2020, 06:01 PM »
Superb! and what a transformation.  [thumbs up]

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 491
Re: Transformations
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2020, 06:43 PM »
Simply great transformation! A lesson in re-using and improving design. Amazing work, looking forward seeing the “reverse” process. I’m guessing Japanese saw on that exquisite hidden drawer [smile]. But then again, it’s soo tight [blink].. we’ll see I hope!
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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2020, 07:42 PM »
That’s beautiful Derek. A lovely drawer. Hand cut dovetails?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

CeeJay, is there another way? :)

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline CeeJay

  • Posts: 112
Re: Transformations
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2020, 08:50 PM »
That’s beautiful Derek. A lovely drawer. Hand cut dovetails?


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CeeJay, is there another way? :)

Regards from Perth

Derek
Glad to hear it!


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Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Transformations
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2020, 11:03 PM »
The drawer and tapered legs certainly have transformed a dull piece into an elegant hall furniture. Well done. [thumbs up]

Edit: Re: "The legs were attached with dowels. I would never have guessed as the construction was very strong. Pulling them away caused some of the wood to tear along with it. No way to remove them other than saw the ends away."

Tom of Thomas Johnson Antique Furniture Restoration. U.S., a third-generation restorer, uses a heat gun and putty knife (where the heat is directed at) to loosen up all the dowel joints (whether hide glue or PVA glue is used) he comes across. He uses a side-cutter to remove nails, and he generously shared with me one of his trade tricks: he ground the cutter's bottom side flat so it could bite into the nail heads. I subsequently learned that the same could be done on an end-cutter.

Thanks Chuck. I watch his videos as well.

I decided that there was no benefit in removing the dowels. This will become clear later. Sawing them away was easier.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1209
Re: Transformations
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2020, 11:49 PM »
I am speechless  [jawdrop]
Mario

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2770
Re: Transformations
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2020, 12:52 AM »
Beautiful work! Amazing transformation and very well done!!

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 895
Re: Transformations
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2020, 08:05 AM »
Derek I usually don't comment on many pieces of furniture, mainly because beauty is in the eye of the maker. Mother always said if you don't have anything nice to say try to keep your mouth shut. In this case you nailed it, beautiful. I do love the complex simplicity. The drawer is a nice touch and now after examining the pic I see how you achieved the tight fit. I look forward to further details of the build.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 928
Re: Transformations
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2020, 09:44 AM »
I love the fact that you took an existing piece and improved it.  In particular,
  • That you saw the potential for a more beautiful piece in the one you were given.
  • That it seems you just couldn't be satisfied to take the easy course once you saw the potential.
  • That you used the material you had to make it.
Last summer we visited the Kwanlin Dun First Nation Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, YK.  They had a beadwork display.  There weren't many pieces, but they were amazingly intricate and detailed.  As I browsed through the display, most pieces were pretty traditional - moccasins, vests, infant carriers, and so on.  Then I came on a very different piece.  It was a traffic cone that had been run over, so that it was crooked, and had part of the top of the cone ripped and partially missing.  It was covered with beautiful beadwork like the other pieces.  The craftswoman who made it said that she found the cone outside her home after a repair project on her road, and noted that somehow the road crew had managed to pick up all of the undamaged cones, but left this one.  She titled the piece "Redeeming Colonial Garbage".  I'm sure there were some political sensitivities there that went over my head, but I was amused by the title and impressed by the attitude of taking what life leaves at your door and making something beautiful from it.


I've wondered since what she thought about during the hours that went into the piece - wasted time, irritation over history and how it affects her today, the focus on planning and executing a totally impractical piece of craftsmanship.  But a good deal of what she thought about while doing the work must have been the idea of redemption, of making something beautiful out of the mundane.  I like that attitude.  I actually think of it when I work a piece of spalted wood or #3 cherry, or a piece of urban lumber that I've milled and dried myself - I feel like I can redeem it and in the process demonstrate that there is more beauty in the world than might appear on the surface.


So from where I sit, well done, Derek.


Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 449
    • In The Woodshop
Finishes
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2020, 07:56 AM »
Somehow this area was forgotten, and of course it is important.

All surfaces were hand planed, and then finished in de-waxed Ubeaut Hard Shellac. This concentrated and thinned with denatured alcohol/methylated spirits.



This finish allows the figure to come through and, unlike an oil, does not darken the already dark Jarrah (which is what I wanted to avoid).

The top was, in addition, sanded with a ROS to 400 grit. Jarrah is an open-grain timber and the sanded Shellac doubled as a grain-filler, leaving a smoothed surface.

The next step was to rub in (and off) a water-based poly, from General Finishes, which does not darken or yellow with age. I rub thin coats on with microfibre cloths and then denib with 400 grit grey mesh ...



The final step is to wax (the top) with Howards Wax-N-Feed, which is a mix of beeswax and carnauba wax.



This produces a very soft, warm and natural finish.



Regards from Perth

Derek