Eric Keil

Hefty Sofa Table with a Delicate Touch

BREADBOARDS WITH A TWIST. The unique breadboard design o1 - •

the long side boards to sand v. h the short end boards.

01 the pieces of furniture I made for a house in tl < :

this sola table was the most gratifying to build and the best designed. L arge mem! ■ up the tablettip .11 I, . and a 5/4 cabinet rests below. It s a hefty design built in a light, natural cherry. with unique exposed joinery that complements other furniture I installed in the home. The tables effect is at once traditional and contemporary. as are the processes used to build it.

I he sofa table is mv favorite piece in the house, but I did have a few concerns with the initial design. I spoke with Robert McLaughlin, the architect who designed the

Keil Woodworking Inc

table, and it was apparent that he had a lot of woodworking savvy. He anticipate d many of my concerns and accepted some compromises to improve the joinery and chances that the table age gracefully.

Design Compromises

As I look I'd at tin preliminary drawings, there were three uiu onvention il design elements that seemed troublesome. The configuration of the boards that made up the top was specific and unusual: two 2-in. bv 5-in. pieces surrounded bv a butt-jointed frame. Instead of a traditional breadboard design, the long outermost side boards sandwiched the end boards. This kind of joinery w ith solid lumber would have caused the joints between the end boards and the center of the table to fail over time. The architect had no problem w ith resolution to replace the center pieces w ith a stable substrate and veneer.

Another concern was that the design called for the Iejjs to come through the top in a full through-tenon. Even it I consistent and accurately cut the mortises and through-tenons on the legs, I couldn't com-ton iblv glue and clamp the top to the assembled cabinet and legs below. And housing tlu solid legs in i veneered substrate wouldn't allow for seasonal wood ... . M . . \\ to m,ike the tt lions lalse. The legs would butt the bottom of the tabletop, and corresponding end-grain

Tabletop has heart of MDF

inserts could be carefully fit to shallow mortises on the top of the tab!«

1 he . ire 1 the . ibm 1 >1 u is to be made of 5/4 solid chern boards. The design called for the cabinet to be joined at the corners with an oversized finger or box joint. I he fingers were 4 in. wide, corre-

4-in.-wide board and its neighbor. The problem with this design was that the only long-gram-to-long-grain glue bond occurs every 4 in., which simply isn't sufficient.

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