Skip navigation

Tag Archives: sycamore

Several years ago,  a friend who lives in an old farmhouse in rural Oxfordshire asked me to make a table to go in her sitting room. We agreed that something in  English Oak in an Arts and Crafts  tradition –  simple lines, stopped chamfers , exposed joinery –  would fit with the character of the room. David Simmonds of Interesting Timbers found me some  figured tiger oak to make a book-matched top for it. There’s a photograph of the finished piece below, although unfortunately it doesn’t show the table in the room for which it was intended.

furniture 020

 

I mention it  because I’ve been thinking about the design of a couple of smaller tables to go in a different sort of room in a Victorian house in a city. This time,  I wanted something quite the opposite of the table above: light rather than heavy and elegant rather than sturdy. Looking for ideas,  I found this Shaker table in Christian Becksvoort’s book, The Shaker Legacy. Like many Shaker pieces, it’s attractive in its simplicity although, according to  Becksvoort, it isn’t very stable probably because it only has a narrow stretcher hidden behind the drawer.

Table 2

 

And I liked the unfussy lines of this mahogany dining table by Roger Heitzman, which appears  in  500 Tables (published by Lark Books), despite the fact that it’s several times larger, and much heavier-looking, than what I had in mind.

 

Table 1

 

Taking elements from both these tables, I sketched out some ideas and made a rough prototype in soft wood, experimenting with the proportions and dimensions until I got close to the look that I was trying to achieve.

 

P1000822

 

This version, in sycamore,  is on the way to being finished. It still lacks a proper top – I’m hoping to find some fiddleback sycamore to complete it. In the mean time I’m making do with a  sheet of  MDF painted white.

 

P1000832

 

 

The curved stretcher is secured at each end by a tusk tenon and an ebony wedge, which turns the flimsy looking legs into a surprisingly rigid framework.

 

P1000827

 

To relieve the slightly monotonous look of sycamore, the stretcher carries a simple chip carved pattern between two beads worked with a scratch stock.

 

P1000830

 

 

I’m making another version in oak. When both tables are finished I’ll  post some more photographs.

 

Advertisements

Recent posts have been about experiments or jigs or tools so, to make a change, here’s a folding book (or music) stand in pippy English oak.

I’ve made quite a few of these in various woods and various sizes. After the curves of violins and guitars, it’s a pleasure to make something based on a right angle. They make good presents for musicians and bibliophiles. And people who like to cook find them useful for holding recipe books open.

 

 

 

 

 

The arms that hold the pages open are in bog oak…

 

 

… and so are the dowels which act as hinges for the frame that props the stand open.

 

 

Here are a couple more. The one on the left is is sycamore, with page holding arms and dowels of laburnum.

 

 

The construction is fairly straightforward. The only tricky bits are in making a neat job where the arms that keep the book open fit into the bottom ledge and in constructing the curved stretcher of the frame that allows the stand to fold up when not in use. I’d be happy to give more details if anyone is interested.

%d bloggers like this: