Hand Tools Archive

Sofa Table: a beginning

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Now that the kitchen is done, I am free to build a piece that has been on my mind for a while. No, nothing as complex as the lingerie chest! Just something I want to do, and that is to replace a sofa table I built a dozen years ago. This one ...

I'm courting trouble here since everyone, especially Lynndy, loves this table ... except me. I am not fond of it (I built is as a challenge to myself - the only plane was a jointer ... I was in an Alan Peters phase). Friends love it, and I have built a couple of similar versions for others. This one was a house warming gift several years ago. I like it better than mine ...

The top of the latter is Cherry. Ours is Jarrah. Both tables are about 1300mm long and essentially rectangular, with curved ends ..

My idea is to build the base of the replacement sofa table in Hard Maple, which is left over from the kitchen. As with the kitchen doors, the base will be finished in water-based poly to retain the light colour of the Hard Maple. The table will stand opposite the kitchen, and I see it as a link between the kitchen and the livingroom. The table top will be made of Black Walnut. This will be finished in oil. All of the timber comes from the USA.

The design? the aim is to create something with a simple "sophistication" :) . Most here are somewhat aware of my tastes: clean, simple lines and soft curves. I am hoping that I can also design in warmth and avoid anything too clinical. To this end, I will show my design, explain what I have in mind, describe the construction, and be open to your critique. I have already begun roughing out parts.

There are two parts to the table. First the front view (I draw all my builds life size on 3mm MDF sheets) ...

The curve and tapered legs will have a splay of 25mm (this is a better profile of a leg than the other photo) ..

The centre rail is a compound curve, that is, the underside is curved, and the rail itself is a bow front.

This bow will be the same as the top, which is curved the entire front and rear ...

The top is 1250mm long and 35mm wide at the centre point.

That is the simple part. The interesting part is that there will be two hidden drawers, one on each side of the table. This is one of the reasons for the design of the overhang (100mm/4"): it cannot be too long as to make it hard to reach under to grasp the drawer. The long bevel under the top at the ends is not only a design feature, but also to make this easier. The base of the drawers will be 500mm long, and this creates a long extension, enabling a shorter drawer to slide out and be fully accessible beyond the table top. The fun part is that there is space to add a secret drawer behind the drawer compartment.

I'm not sure if this plan can be easily read ...

It details the bowed sides being joined with a 1/2" wide mortice-and-tenon into the legs. The ends are dovetail rail at the top and sliding dovetailed lower rail. Standard stuff.


Regards from Perth


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