Frank Lloyd Wright Plant Stand

I had an interesting conversation with Rob Hanson at Evenfall Studios a couple of weeks ago.  Rob makes shooting boards and other goodies, but what he had on his mind was something called the Dana-Thomas Plant Stand.

Huh?

Yeah, me either.  I know little bits about a number of things, but Frank Lloyd Wright is somewhat outside of my experience.  I’ve seen some of his work of course, both furniture and homes, but I’m pretty clueless about his history and aesthetic.  So I did some web surfing.

Susan Lawrence Dana, for who the house and of course this plant stand are named, commissioned FLW to build her a 12,000 square foot showplace in 1902.  The commission included the house and all the furnishings.

Susan Lawrence Dana's home in Springfield, IL

Susan Lawrence Dana’s home in Springfield, IL

I read somewhere online that there were eight copies of this plant stand made for the house, although I can’t verify that.  There certainly was plenty of room for potted plants and stand…  Rob had some basic dimensions, and I pinned several images thanks to Google and Pinterest (how did we ever get by without the Internet?  Thank You Al Gore!).  Generally the table looks something like the picture below — I was unable to find an image that I was confident was original.

Dana-Thomas Plant Stand Reproduction

Dana-Thomas Plant Stand Reproduction

I had Brother Cadfael whip us up a digital prototype, and we’ve been pushing the dimensions around to get something that looks about right.  As I type this, I think the inner legs need to be moved outward, closer to the main legs.  Wish I’d seen that before I did these renderings.  And the main legs look a little thinner than the reproduction — although that could be do to the darker color in the reproduction.  Well, something to tweak for the next update.

Dana-Thomas Plant Stand

Dana-Thomas Plant Stand

For a simple plant stand, this would be a little complicated to build.  The inner legs add a twist, but the one that gives me pause is the 60 little pieces of trim.  Oy!

Exploded View

Exploded View

I don’t plan to build this, at least not anytime soon.  The Chevy needs a bit more work, there is a Greene &Greene table that I have materials for, and I owe someone a bookcase apparently.  There is a funny story about the bookcase, but I’ll save that for another time.

Personally, I think Rob should build this.  Cutting and fitting all of those miters is a precision job, and a perfect opportunity for someone packing an accurate shooting board.  Rob?

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8 thoughts on “Frank Lloyd Wright Plant Stand

  1. I agree the inner vertical supports appear they need to move outward some. I am uncertain of this for you have studied this more, but it appears that the mitered square edging is a little heavy. Just a thought.

    Good Luck.

    FR

    • Thanks, I appreciate the feedback! I’ve looked at several “reproductions”, and they all seem to vary. The original tables in the Met (on my Pintrest board linked above) are quite a bit different – although they may not be from the Dana house.

      In the reproduction picture I included the legs are clearly thicker than the top, where in my version they are visually about the same.

      I’ll almost certainly tweak some of these details…making the legs a bit thicker, moving the inner legs outward, thinning up the trim…and see where that leaves it. I’ll probably draw up some plans and post them here in case someone is feeling like practicing their mitering.

  2. Robert Demers

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and it is really obvious to me that your sense of design and execution have really evolved. The types of projects you are undertaking pushes your envelope each times, bravo! Did some Morris designs before, but never any G&G with lift cloud, really find your projects inspiring, and must try some soon. Just finish looking at the Dale Bernard video on building a G&G wall cabinet, between you and Dale i’m all fired up now 🙂 Thank you, sir
    Bob

    • Hi Bob.

      The Barnard cabinet is my favorite so far of the junk I’ve made. It makes me happy every time I walk by, sort of furniture prozac. You should make it. The door was the only tricky part, but just make the parts accurately and it will fit. If you have questions just drop me a line and I’ll help if I can.

  3. Chris C.

    Hello Joe,

    Thanks for posting. I really enjoy exploring new design realms as well and Frank Lloyd Wright’s work has always been appealing so I’m looking forward to more.

    A quick note, the feet on the original are double tapered (on the inside and outside) while your CAD looks to only have inner tapers.

    Good luck and also looking forward to seeing the chevy in action.

    Cheers,
    Chris C.

    • Ohhh — good catch on the feet. I’d missed that, but the design would make more sense aesthetically with that change.

  4. Pingback: Dana-Thomas Plant Stand Update, with plans | McGlynn on Making

  5. Hi Joe – the mitres are not necessarily as scary as they seem at first. Personally I would cut these on the table saw, however I’m currently working with a Martin T75 which is sort of like cheating. A shooting board is a fine idea. I’d be tempted to cut shallow dados around the leg and laying the trim into that. The play would allow the mitres to be flushed up tightly. This is either cheating (again) or perhaps overcomplicating it. I am known for this.

    Certainly, if the trim existed within the tapered section of the leg I would do this without hesitation and it would make more sense.

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