Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

Category: Woodworking

Experimental Table

I tried a little experiment with furniture design. I made a little side table with trestle legs instead of straight legs. The case for the drawers is also suspended from the table top.

Trestle Side Table

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Dining Set

This week, I finished the trestle dining table that I designed to match the dining chairs I made last year.  The table curves are meant to match the chairs. The table top has breadboards at the ends.Dining Set

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Another rocker in the works.


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I started building a new rocker for Gail.  This one is also to be a Maloof-style rocker.  It’ll be made of cherry, with walnut accents.  I started it just after Christmas (2012) when I finished the dining chairs.  Here’s a gallery of the process.

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The seat is carved, the legs are cut to rough shape, and the joints are fashioned.
Seat and legs in rough outlines
Here is the chair with all four legs when it was first put together.
The first rough assembly
Legs look nice after a day of spokeshaving and rasping.
Shaped legs
Legs and armrests glued up and ready to be shaped together.
Legs and armrests on
Spindles finished and inserted into crest rail.
Spindles and back on
Crest Rail shaped to be a owl's head for the ornithologist who will sit in it.
Crest rail shaped
Gluing up cherry and walnut laminates to make one of two rockers.
Gluing cherry and walnut rocker
Bent and laminated rockers are glued onto the chair legs. It's now a rocking chair.
Rockers glued on
The legs are carved into the rockers. All that's left is the finish sanding and finishing.
Rocker shaping finished
It's done!! A side view of the rocker. Note the walnut inserts in the rockers, and the walnut plugs.
Gail's Owl Rocker
A front shot of the finished rocker to highlight the owl silhouette of the crest rail, a design touch for
Gail's Owl Rocker

I’ll update this post and add to the gallery as the chair progresses.

UPDATE 1 January 2013 – I spent much of New Year’s Day shaping the legs (see the third picture in the gallery).  Work is great when the radio is good.  Summer weekends are always good because there’s baseball on the radio.  Today one of our local stations was playing the Beatles A-Z – the entire Beatles catalog in alphabetical order.  Spokeshaving to the Beatles is a good thing.

UPDATE 20 January 2013 – Legs and armrests attached to the seat.  It’s starting to look like a chair.

UPDATE 11 March 2013 – Spindles finished and inserted into seat and crest rail.

UPDATE 17 March 2013 – Crest rail shaped to resemble the outline of an owl’s head. Gail is an ornithologist, so I thought it was fitting.

UPDATE 24 March 2013 – Glued up first laminated rocker. These are made by milling 3/8″ x 2″ x 53″ strips of cherry. I added one 1/8″ strip of walnut for an accent in the stack. From top to bottom the stack is 2 cherry, 1 walnut, 4 cherry.

UPDATE 12 April 2013 – Shaped rockers are now attached to the chair.  It’s now officially a rocking chair.  Handmade with one or two imperfections, but that proves it’s handmade.  Can you find them?

UPDATE 14 April 2013 – The legs are now carved into the rockers.  All that’s left is final sanding and then finishing.

UPDATE 26 April 2013 – IT’S DONE.  Gail’s new owl rocker.

Gail's Owl Rocker

Gail’s owl rocker made of cherry with walnut accents.

Gail's Owl Rocker

It’s Done!!

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Dining Chairs

I finished a set of six formal dining room chairs for Christmas this year.

Dining Chairs

They’re made of walnut and finished with a homemade version of Sam Maloof‘s special finish formula (also visit his shop, carried on by coworkers, here). I designed these chairs last winter with the typical Maloof joinery, The low arm rests serve as the stretchers for the legs, instead of stretchers under the legs. I read about Maloof using this technique in his biography. I made a prototype of the design last spring, liked it, and then made five more this summer and fall.  The five new ones are a little different in the details of the crest rail and seat. Here’s a gallery of some other pieces.

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Some Of My Other Furniture


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I like building things.  Here is a slideshow of some of my furniture pieces and other things around the house I’ve built over the years.

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The three rockers I've built so far.
Three Rockers
The three rockers I've built so far.
Three Rockers
The cherry and maple rockers I build for Gail and me.
His and Hers Rockers
Maple rocker I built in 2010. The first rocker I built.
His Maple Rocker
Cherry rocker I built in 2013 for Gail. It's the Owl Rocker because of the crest rail silhouette.
Her Owl Rocker
Cherry rocker I built in 2013 for Earl Werner.
Cowboy Rocker
Cherry hall table built in 1993, the first furniture piece I built in New Hampshire.
Hall Table
Walnut trestle dining table and six walnut dining room chairs build in 2012-2013.
Dining Set
Walnut dining room chairs I built for Christmas 2012.
Dining Chairs
Kitchen table made in 2017 from the surplus maple tongue-&-groove flooring under it and a cherry base and trim.
Kitchen Table
Kitchen table and chairs made from cherry and maple in 2017. The table top is made from tongue&groove maple flooring left over from out house renovations.
Kitchen table and chairs
One of the kitchen chairs I built in 2017 to go along with the new kitchen table.
Kitchen Chair
Desk made of cherry with spalted birds-eye maple top and drawers I built for Sarah in 2019.
Sarah's Desk
Trestle side table experiment built in November 2013.
Trestle Side Table
A cherry with birdseye maple top side table I made as a going-away present in 2017.
Dietrich Side Table
A cherry with curly maple top side table I made as a present in 2017.
Rowe Side Table
Two cherry and maple-topped side tables I made as presents in 2018.
Kenyon Side Tables
Two cherry and maple-topped side tables I made as presents in 2018.
Kenyon Side Tables
Maple bench and coat rack I built one Saturday in 2019.
Bench and Coat Rack
Bed and two side tables I made in 2004.
Bedroom Set
Red oak Morris chair for my office at Dartmouth built in 2007.
Morris Chair
Wee Lassie canoes that Curtis and I built.
Wee Lassie Canoes
Cherry shaker clock I built in 1996.
Shaker Clock
A model of the barque that took Darwin around the world.
HMS Beagle
A model of the barque that took Darwin around the world.
HMS Beagle Under Glass
Ship model of an 1805 Swift Pilot Boat.
Ship Model
Kitchen open shelves I built for Christmas 2010.
Kitchen Open Shelves
Piano bench made of red oak I build for Sarah for Christmas of 2006.
Piano Bench
Maple corner table I built in 2009.
Corner Table
Chess table that I built in 2003 made of butternut.
Chess Table
One of three oak desks I build for Gail, Curtis and me in 2002.
Office Desk
One of a pair of bookshelves I built for Christmas 2009
Book Case
Fir bookcase I made for the Etna, NH library in 2014.
Library Bookcase
One of two identical bookcases I built in October 2015.
Short Bookcase
Low bookcase I made of red oak in 2018
Low bookcase
Coat rack made of cherry in 2013.
Coat Rack
Sycamore coffee table and side tables I built in 2006.
Living Room Set
Sycamore coffee table I built in 2006, which is part of a set. Note the inset in which we display sea shells.
Coffee Table
One of two sycamore end tables that go with the sycamore coffee table.
End Table
Trestle dining table that I built in 2014 for Mary Poulson's retirement. Curly maple top with cherry base and breadboards.
Trestle Table
Stereo cabinet I built in 1999.
Stereo Cabinet
Cabinet for the TV and storing DVDs and games that I built in 2002.
TV Cabinet
Matched set (sort of) home electronic cabinets I built in 1999 & 2002.
TV and Stereo Cabinet
Front steps Curtis and I built for the house in 2010.
Front Steps
Oak and maple cutting station I built in 2002.
Cutting Station
Bookcase for Sarah's room I built in 2011.
Book Shelf
Tool cabinet I build of maple in 2011
Tool Cabinet
And who could say they built things of wood without building their own workbench.
Workbench
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My next chair

I love to build things. That probably comes with being a scientist: the challenge of making a bunch of things fit together. I’ve built much of the furniture we have in the house, plus a couple of canoes, clocks, and the like.

Because of my bad knees, a couple of years ago I built myself a Morris Chair for my office.

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