Ron Layport

is a self-taught furniture builder and a partner in a Pittsburgh-based advertising agency.

elements, such as when book-matched on adjacent door panels or positioned as the central focus on a tabletop. I would encourage you not to miss such opportunities.

As a rule, I avoid using wood that has structural flaws, although I've made exceptions on pieces I've built for myself, such as my coffee table. The three top boards of my coffee table were so deeply and naturally checked that they begged to be used just as they were. I joined them with exposed-tenon breadboard ends and with sliding dovetail stretchers across their bottom surfaces, to achieve the primitive simplicity and honesty I wanted in the piece.

Sliding Dovetail Tabletop

i .hiinp' a Ion detail*. and Iw» «imitar lal»l<**> ran fil dilTrrriil ii«a<*«l-uitli llair.

When my daughter burst into my front hall, the first words out of her mouth were, "Ooh, I want that table." She made it clear that she would be expecting one just like it in the near future. Needless to say, I obliged.

The table I built for Rachel (see foreground above and drawing) is basically the same concept as my original (see background above), but rendered and detailed with her uses and tastes in mind. It is ber table, not just a clone of my table, yet the spirit of the original remains intact.

How the Design Evolved

When I designed the original table, I needed a surface to toss keys onto, a place for notes, mail, tomorrow's errands. This surface had to be shallow because of the location—a very narrow, high-traffic hallway in my home. I

wanted something light and airy, widi-out large drawers that would fill up with unneeded stuff. I didn't want a bench to collect jackets and newspapers, or a high cupboard to visually choke off the space.

The surface would be viewed from the stairwell above, so it had to be quite unusual, as though the board itself were a piece of an. I had such a board which, as you might expect, was at the very bottom of my woodpile. This single board, a light tiger-maple plank with figure that looked like a scries of reddish brown "spears" covering half its length, was to determine the appearance and the dimensions of the table.

The plank was riddled with auger holes, each centered on one of the spears. Created by Amish farmers who had tapped the tree at sugar-making time, the auger holes offered a multi colored record of a valued industry'.

By stretching the board to Its limits, using even the badly checked cutoffs for the breadboard ends, I was able to produce a 62-in. by 13-in. by l'/^-in. top. The rest of the design worked backward from that dimension. (If I were doing it again, I would make the top 1 in. thick to remove some weight—trial and error.)

I wanted the board to have a floating effect, with the base "falling back" visually, so I chose walnut for the legs. The dark color makes them appear to fade into shadow, as one might try to do if painting a picture of the table. The legs are delicate and pencil-thin, almost appearing to pierce the floor. Joining diem is a cherry apron which tics into the brown-and-red color schcmc of the spears on the top.

To offset the strong horizontal effect of the long top, I gave the table a

Cherrv* apron "bridges" the color gap between maple and walnut elements.

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vertical push by designing a base that was taller than it was wide, allowing the top to overhang dramatically on both ends. This is reminiscent of the classic Shaker sewing table; I simply exaggerated the effect.

The front of die single drawer, floating in the shadows below the top, also came from one of the checked end cuts from the top board and repeats the "spear" figure. (See photo, above.) I further defined the drawer with a walnut "lining" around the drawer opening.

Cherrv* apron "bridges" the color gap between maple and walnut elements.

Modifications for Rachel's Table

At a glance, the second tabic is basically the same as die first, widi its long overhangs, its multicolored rendering and its tiny drawer.

Again, I developed the final dimensions after starting with a single-board top. But this time the design problem was different. I wanted more stability so the table would be suited to a wider variety of uses, such as a sofa table or serving piece. So I widened its stancc and added stretchers to stabilize the legs and give weight to the piece, both literally and visually. I also made the top thinner and visually lighter dian on die original tabic. (See lead photo.)

I offset the increased visual bulk by-

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Roubo Workbench Plans Free

Attach top with button blocks.

Une opening with V4-ln.-thlck cheny.

Make all tenons 1 In. long.

Secure tenons with V4-in. hardwood pegs.

Saw Vie-In. fillets on corners.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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