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  1. #1
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    Default WIP: Shaker Table with Benches

    I'm planning a summer project of building a dinning table.

    I found this table by Mark Lackley on finewoodworking.com.
    Mark's website





    I liked a few things about this. It's relatively simple. It's a nice nonobtrusive shaker style. And I think benches will be much better then chairs for the time I have avalible. And makes it a bit more community feel.

    The first step is to come up with plans.

    I quickly had a play in sketchup...


    Any suggestions on design improvements welcome.
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    Last edited by steven; 15th Oct 2008 at 06:57 AM. Reason: removed dead images

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  3. #2
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    I've been experimenting with the legs.
    Struggle to have a nice taper, fine lines, without compromising strength.
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    Last edited by steven; 15th Oct 2008 at 06:57 AM. Reason: removed dead images

  4. #3
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    Nice looking table. Should be an interesting but straight forward build.
    My only concern would be the strength left in the radically curved foot on each leg/support. I noticed in the 2 photos the grain is oriented in different directions. I don't know which would ultimately stronger?
    If I was trying the same thing I'd either laminate 2 pieces together with grain running 90* apart, or settle on a less radically curved member. Maybe I just don't trust cutting across the short grain!

    Good luck,
    Andy Mac
    Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Mac View Post
    My only concern would be the strength left in the radically curved foot on each leg/support.
    IMHO the bottom section of the legs don't seem to match the design of the top section.
    Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.

  6. #5
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    Wot Andy Mac noted. Those more highly curved feet are going to have weak points with sections of short grain - not a good look on a full-size table meant to take everyday knocks. IMO, a couple of the examples you posted have feet which don't look like they'll make the long haul. The most satisfactory result will come from choosing pieces which have curved grain approaching the curves you want. That way you can keep the bulk down without sacrificing too much strength.

    The Shakers kept things pretty simple, as a rule, and in any case, I reckon the straighter feet match the style of the table better - curved feet seem to ask for turned legs & a generally more organic shape.

    My 2c
    IW

  7. #6
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    Found these on the net.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by steven; 15th Oct 2008 at 06:57 AM. Reason: removed dead images

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    Well I certainly don't want in 10 years time someone to think it's a brilliant thing to stand on and break a leg. (Their's or the table's!)

    Flat would be simpler, waste less wood, be faster to make.... but where's the fun in that.

    The width of the wood is a issue. I need it strong. However, the appeal of shaker furniture is the slender and thin lines.

    Thickness wise. I was aiming for around 40-45mm. The legs in those plans are 2" (50mm) in the middle and 1 5/8 at the ends (~40mm).

    Haven't got to wood choice yet. I was thinking a redish hardwood. Something like jarrah or redgum. Which are strong woods and I 'think' should handle the curve.

  9. #8
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    Look BozInOz, the strength of timber comes from the bond between the wood fibres as different woods have different strengths, I lernt this at civil engineering school some years ago and we tested different types of wood until they failed. As you can see from your diagrams of the shaker table and benches that they don't seem to have a problem with timber strength at the feet end. Using a horizontal grain would give generally good strength rather than vertical, but as you can see the shakers have used both. A hardwood would be best that has a high strength rating for the best durability. I think you should just go ahead and make one, I think you will not be dissapointed and if someone breaks it you have the skills to fix it.
    aaah the smell of wood

  10. #9
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    A few design refinements.
    Still hard to balance strength and chunky-ness.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by steven; 15th Oct 2008 at 06:58 AM. Reason: removed dead images

  11. #10
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    Can someone explain the joint that connects the leg to the foot? From the first pictures I can see a couple of plugged holes, but wouldn't cutting a mortice in the centre of the foot make it really weak? And it seems to have the grain vertical across the short section, so that'd be really weak too?

    BTW, anyone know what sort of wood the guy in Fine Woodworker used? Swmbo thought it might be a good long term project for me until I suggested there would be a thousand or two of wood to buy first...
    Cheers, Richard

    "... work to a standard rather than a deadline ..." Ticky, forum member.

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    The one in fine woodworking, like most american woodworking, is made of maple. Link On his website he a version made in cherry and one in walnut. Which has vertical grain pattern.

    I'm trying work out the overall aesthetic first. My plan was a mortise and tenon, with dowel to lock the joint, as in pic. At the moment the foot is 40mm thick and the leg 30, even a 20mm mortise will have 10mm each side. It doesn't have to be a through tenon either.

    Cost. My supplier deals mainly with slabs, so as being quite rough and more work for me, it's cheaper.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BozInOz View Post
    The one in fine woodworking, like most american woodworking, is made of maple. Link On his website he a version made in cherry and one in walnut. Which has vertical grain pattern.

    I'm trying work out the overall aesthetic first. My plan was a mortise and tenon, with dowel to lock the joint, as in pic. At the moment the foot is 40mm thick and the leg 30, even a 20mm mortise will have 10mm each side. It doesn't have to be a through tenon either.

    Cost. My supplier deals mainly with slabs, so as being quite rough and more work for me, it's cheaper.
    So how much is cheaper? How much should I budget to buy enough to make the table and benches out of a decent hardwood?
    Cheers, Richard

    "... work to a standard rather than a deadline ..." Ticky, forum member.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    Wot Andy Mac noted. Those more highly curved feet are going to have weak points with sections of short grain - not a good look on a full-size table meant to take everyday knocks.
    It's possible to steam the wood then bend it. Basically, the seamer's a length of pipe (I think Google told me PVC tends to melt), maybe some galvanised downpipe, and something to boil the water. One hour per 25mm of thickness is the timing. Google "how to bend" steam timer. John A Walton's book, "Woodwork in Theory and Practice" (I bought one in Dymocks a few months ago) has some info.

    Note, some senior members might have had it as a textbook, esp in ACT/NSW. It has been revised since then.

    fwiw I'm not keen on those feet either.,

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    Hi Boz, great design. I would maybe go for some Tasie Blackwood or similar, if you choose your stock well you should be able to find some sections of curved grain that would give somewhere near the curve you are after (you could find a curved limb and slice it too). Or like Johnc said, a bit of steam and a bend. Looks like a fun project, keep sexy the curves.

    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

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