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Taking Shape

Today I’m planning to complete my prototype coffee table, replete with all joinery for the undercarriage of the tabletop. I have had some ideas planned in my head and have rehearsed them there but will make actual cuts today as an experiment on something I have wanted to try for some time. In my case this planning and making and even practicing is justified. When you come to yours I must make certain the ideas as yet untested really work in reality. It’s not for me to protect my image but to protect you from wasting money, time and energy when in the zone of making yours.

Over the past few days I began placing cardboard around the living room of the house, partly because the white walls seem more to invite me: footprints at first expose available space on the floor area and that’s always a good place to begin. The living room is not yet ready for me but I can’t help myself. Moving this cardboard around shows what the options are but of course they must be placed in context to other space yet to be occupied so my mind runs riot to make sure one thing compliments another. Then again I am thinking one couch or two, face to face or forming a corner, bookcases and other shelves for display and orderliness. I am especially hopeful that my decisions will mean no piece has a fixed-for-life positioning.

Shapes matter and nothing works better than three-dimensional blocks to block out space in length, depth and height, and these need be nothing more than taped-together folded cardboard legs taped again to thin sheets of corrugated card.

Now for the joinery to come together. I must work on this challenging aspect for my own sanity and peace of mind. Joinery, from the root word, harmos, Harmony

7 Comments

  1. Tom on 7 October 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been making a coffee table from an oak tree I’ve riven. I’m roughly following https://lostartpress.com/products/make-a-joint-stool-from-a-tree and T\the joinery will all be drawbored. The top will be one of the slab from the base of the tree I have been drying.

    I haven’t decide on the shape, width, or length other then the maximum dimensions of my aprons/stretchers and legs. I’ll have to try cardboard to have a model to see in place.

  2. Samuel on 8 October 2019 at 12:07 am

    If they fit, two couches seems to work as a conversational aid.

  3. Keith on 8 October 2019 at 2:22 am

    Hey Paul, any particular reason you pulled out the Veritas planes? I know they’re nice tools, but I don’t see you use them often in videos, so it stood out to see a few on your bench in the picture.

    • Paul Sellers on 8 October 2019 at 9:26 am

      I recently unpacked another box of tools I stowed in my transitioning from North Wales back to my homeland. Nothing more.

  4. Samuel on 13 October 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Looking at the mockups in the design of the coffee table I thought of two pictures of your past work I’ve been admiring that tied into this project.
    On an American Low-back armchair the front of the seat is tapered so it really accentuates the sense of width and lightens the chair. I thought this might suit the underside of the coffee table.
    An earlier thought bubble was from the taped mockup table. The masking tape edge gives contrast in colour between tape and board, which delineates planes and gives a cartoon blockiness sort of like a 50’s metal lined diner tables. I thought ebonising may be a possible edge effect.
    I also liked a pic of your plywood sharpening stone holder with the perpendicular grained housing joint. That would be cool for some of the tables leg joinery.
    That’s some of my thoughts.

  5. Harold Smith — Lockhart Tx on 14 October 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Hello Paul,

    Having followed you for a short while, and enjoyed all of what I’ve seen and read, I occasionally have an off-the-wall question that pops into my mind. In this case, it is your process of prototyping. After you have completed your final iteration, what becomes of the forerunners that you’ve produced?

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