Yesterday I planned to make the metal framework to hold the stained glass for the little Greene & Greene styled cabinet I’m making. I got the strops of copper fit into the door opening, and scribed the trim lines, but when I went to cut them my trusty Do All bandsaw died. I think it’s the magnetic starter overheating, but it’s just a guess. I’m not looking forward to having a 70 year old bandsaw that weighs 3,500 pounds repaired. Crud.
So I retreated to my computer. I’ve wanted to make this little Thorsen House side table for a while, and I might actually have enough wood to pull it off. Maybe. If I could re-saw some of the 8/4 stock I’m sure I have enough, but my bandsaw is down. Grumble, grumble.
Anyway, the table. As I understand it, this was actually designed to be a plant stand and the SketchUp model from Bob Lang shows the major dimensions to be about 21″ tall with a top about 14″ square. There were plans in Popular Woodworking that were slightly scaled up, about an inch taller and a top that was 17″ square. I like the larger size for where I’m going to put this, but I didn’t like the details in the Popular Woodworking version. I decided to model my take on it, mostly because I wanted patterns for those weird cutouts in the aprons.
I picked up most of the major dimensions form the Popular Woodworking version, but interpolated the details from Bob Lang’s model. His, I believe, is closer to the original both in details and scale. I’m tempted to try using the “waterfall step” leg detail instead of the more-correct taper on the legs. I should probably add ebony pegs at the joint with the stretcher too.
The construction follows Bob’s design, with offset tenons. I’m a little concerned about the skirts staying flat, but the single wide tenons on the Pop Wood version seem like it would badly weaken the legs and cause cross-grain wood movement problems. Who knows? The big concern in building this is the fit of the lower shelf around the legs. I’m a little concerned about the breadboard ends too. The layout of the ebony pegs doesn’t lend itself to hiding screws in slotted holed to allow for movement, so I’m limited to glueing in the middle and hoping it all stays together. One step at a time though.
The main point of modeling this myself was to end up with a set of full scale templates for the cut outs that I can use to make patterns. A secondary benefit was to get a good feel for the construction of the table and get my thoughts organized to build it. I made a set of plans that you can download if you want to build it — or if you are looking for full scale templates like me. There should be enough details here to build the table if you’re so inclined. I didn’t put as many details into these as I might otherwise, but all of the parts and critical measurements are there.
Things to pay attention to if you do build this: The legs aren’t all the same due to the asymmetrical mortises and ebony plugs. The dimensions cover where everything goes, plan on being careful with this part of the layout. The taper on the bottom of the legs is laid out to taper from 1/4″ at the bottom to zero at 5 3/16″ up. The legs are milled 1 1/4″ square, so I’d lay out by striking a mark 1″ from the outside faces, another 5.1875″ from the bottom on the inside faces, and then connect those. Once the taper is cut, go ahera and round over the end of the leg and sides.
My next step is to make a cup of coffee and go measure up my wood stock to see if I have enough to at least make a good start on this project. If I have enough wood to make this it will end up in the same room as the cabinet, which is the next room in the house I want to “make over” anyway. I’ll probably be in Big Trouble for starting another project before the bookcase for my wife though.