Staked Side Table-Part 1

Step two in my exploration of staked furniture.  Nothing too daring, just a slightly larger version of the staked stand with a drawer thrown in for good measure.  While the staked stand was built mostly ad hoc, I put a little more thought and effort into the design of this next iteration.

In the ADB (The Anarchist’s Design Book), CS (Christopher Schwarz) recommends building scale models of these pieces with wire legs.  The idea being that the wire legs can be easily manipulated to find a pleasing arrangement of rake and splay.  The ultimate goal being to find the resultant (combined) angle of the rake and splay as well as the sight line on which that resultant can be found.  For it is the resultant angle that will guide the drilling of the leg mortises.

I have no doubt that CS recommended method works and works well.  Especially if you are having difficulty wrapping your mind around the whole concept.  However, I prefer to draft out my projects and am most comfortable with that approach.  Admittedly, CS model approach is probably far more accessible for most people though.

Below is my design for this simple little table. The proportions for this piece are based around my head height/hand span which I outlined in a previous post. All said and done I will have a table that is ~555mm(22″) in height, ~666mm(26″) wide and ~444mm(17.5″) deep. This should be a good general size for, well, a side table.  I plan to install the drawer on runners that are incorporated into the sides of the drawers.  I’ve not attempted this before, but it should be pretty straight forward to accomplish and I’ll have more details on that along the way.

It is shaping up to be yet another busy week with basically no shop time.  I do hope get a real start on this project over the upcoming weekend though.  Fingers crossed!

Greg Merritt Part 2

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20 Responses to Staked Side Table-Part 1

  1. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    Man… I really do admire your drawings 🙂

  2. alfred kraemer says:

    Agree with the previous post about your drawings, the elevations, the colors just right not too much! One of your page with drawings of a project is better than a dozen photos.
    Now about the staked side table: I realize that the outward angle of the legs is important for stability, but I have always had an issue with table legs that splay outwards beyond the edge of the table top. Then again, according to my wife, I ll bump into something even is no one else does.
    I wonder if the leg angle is your choice or based on a model of the table?


    • Greg Merritt says:

      Wow…thank you the kind words in regard to my drawings Alfred. I really appreciate it.

      The leg angles are of my own choosing. In the staked stand I set the bottom of the legs directly below the outward corners of the top. This arrangement works fine and the stand is plenty stable. Visually however, the footprint looks too narrow to my eye. So for this side table I am setting the foot of the leg just outside the perimeter of the top. Like I said…experiment #2. 🙂

  3. That is great drawing skills… I wish I had! They would make a great book!! I will be following this one!!

  4. This is great drawing skills… That I wish I had. I’ve always been drawn to simpler design, like Krenov did. I like that style of furniture!!

  5. Stefan says:

    Hi Greg,
    I have to echo the others – great drawing.
    Despite all readings I’m still struggling with positioning the legs. I think I will just start and find it out the experimental way.
    Anyway, the principal of proportions went well to figure out the seat plank for the upcoming project.


  6. Kinderhook88 says:

    It’s ok if you don’t get time this week, we’ll wait 🙂 And since everyone else is doing it – your drawings are the best! I think that may have been the first thing that made me want to follow your blog.

  7. Polly Becton says:

    “I have no doubt that CS recommended method works and works well. Especially if you are having difficulty wrapping your mind around the whole concept. However, I prefer to draft out my projects and am most comfortable with that approach. Admittedly, CS model approach is probably far more accessible for most people though.”

    I, for one, don’t have a bit of trouble with the concept. What I do have is trouble assuring myself that what looks good on paper (or on the computer screen) will look as good in execution. Even with 3D rendering on screen, there’s a lot to miss in proportion and dimension. A quick and dirty model a la CS can reveal quite a lot and lead to corrections in a moment, compared to a guesstimate of what might be better and executing it in a drawing/drawing correction. The result may be an improvement, or it may not. Each iteration of the process draws out the design process far longer that the model requires. Once the sizing and proportioning is “right” to ones eye, a drawing can then be made to known “good” parameters and is certainly, over time, a more lasting useful implement for future efforts or even assuring the current build.

    Sometimes there are issues that can only be resolved by building a full scale prototype.

    Drawings can embody a design. Drawing does not create the design.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      I stand behind my original statement, the model route is far more viable for most people. I don’t believe that I encouraged anyone to do it “my way”.

      I make my living through design. It is quite rare that I have the benefit of a scale or full-size model from which to verify my wok. The things I design can be small and simple to as large as a house with hundreds of individual comments. My job requires that I be accurate from paper to completion. So I am more than comfortable with my ability to design on paper first.

      Quite frankly I find it insulting that you feel comfortable in making a blanket statement that:

      “Drawing does not create the design”

      Almost all of my projects have started as designs on paper first and have been built per that original design. So I feel more than comfortable in my ability to design what I want on paper and then bring it to fruition. Just because you lack the skill or comfort level with a process does not therefore hold that it cannot be done.

      I am well aware that the how and what of my projects are not for everyone. What I post here on my blog is simply a record of what I am doing on my own journey. I am more than open to discussion and disagreement, but not at having what I do be blatantly discounted.

      By all means…make models until your heart is content.

      • Polly Becton says:

        Sadly, I submit you misunderstand my point. One’s designs develop from one’s mental perceptions, however one subsequently deals with them, whether by drawing or by modelling or by prototyping or by living dangerously and building in mahogany and ebony with only a mental picture to guide your build. .

        The act of drawing, in your case, is a fixing of your mental images and perceptions and does not itself create those ideas and concepts. If drawing, as a physical act, were designing per se, we could all be excellent designers by simply taking drafting classes. I think there’s more to it and in my estimation you don’t give your own mental contributions enough credit if you reject my point. No offense or insult intended, initially or now, but I would encourage you to think a bit deeper into my point.

  8. polliwogge says:

    Okay, looking back, my last point badly expresses one point: “… in my estimation you don’t give your own mental contributions enough credit if you reject my point.” That phrase “… if you reject my point” is hasty but it’s difficult to articulate briefly all I would wish it to say. And my original point “Drawing does not create the design” is rather shorthand for quite a lot.

    Consider that of the many forms fixing of the design creation can take, offer differing advantages and disadvantages. Formal drawing is extremely precise, but may be rather slow, compared to others, particularly when the underlying design is evolving and has to be redrawn. In comparison, sketches are quick to make, quick to alter, but lack precision and “built-in reproducability. Even so, a maker with good experience may find a sketch quite sufficient for an elegant build. A simple model, as suggested by CS is good for rapidly evaluating differing angles of the legs of his staked bench/table/etc. by simple manual manipulation of the model and inspecting the result. As many iterations of leg bending can be employed as needed to satisfy the designer. Such a model would be less useful in deciding design parameters of, say, the shape of a cabriole leg. And it’s hard to know what to say about the savants among us who go bumbling into the shop and emerge in a while with a stunning creation pulled from their own mind palace. (I can’t design that way and I can’t – successfully – build that way, but for those few who can, it can be a wonder.)

    • Greg Merritt says:

      I apologize if I mistook the tone and intent of your original comment. To me, it came across as a direct rebuke for my having opted not to create a model/prototype. It also seemed to me that your use of “Drawing does not create design”, was used to punctuate that rebuke and further submit that it was not possible to design “paper first”.

      The simple act of putting pencil to paper is not design, I can agree with that. There are innumerable skills and experiences that play a role in being able to design, no matter the avenue chosen. I do not consider myself accomplished at furniture design. I simply share my process here on the blog. The validity of a design, in the end, is quite subjective. Even when all of the academic check points are satisfied, a design can still fall short.

      Design and art are at the mercy of the beholder.

  9. polliwogge says:

    Oops! A different account. Sorry.

    Polly Becton

  10. Pingback: Staked Side Table-Part 2 | HILLBILLY DAIKU

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