Brother Cadfael may have had one too many cups of coffee this afternoon. He thinks this would be a fun project to build with some friends one weekend. I’ve been wondering what to do with that Eastern Walnut I picked up…
Posts Tagged With: cadfael
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
Apparently Brother Cadfael feels we need a nifty dovetail saw for our virtual dovetail toolkit too.
This is modeled on the Kenyon dovetail saw from the Seaton tool chest. The front of the handle is different on the Seaton saw than on most of the “reproduction” Kenyon-patterned dovetail saws I’ve seen.
There are a few details I want to nudge, then I’ll make some patterns. Just for fun, mind.
Brother Cadfael has been distracted lately with thoughts of participating in the ongoing Dovetail Tool Swap on Lumberjocks.
Background: Apparently the lumberjocks community does these “swap” events a couple of times a year. The premise is simple; you sign up to make a particular thing, you have a few months to get it done by a fixed deadline, you mail a picture to the moderator and they tell you who to send your widget to. In return you get something back. They recently did a saw swap, and there were some pretty nice saws built as part of that event.
I’ve never participated in one of these “swap” events, and I’m not yet participating in this one. Yet. Most likely.
But it’s fun to think about what I might make. Ya know…if I was participating. I’ve looked at more marking knives, marking gauges and dovetail saws in the past week than I have in a long time. For fun, I thought I’d model a small chisel for chopping and paring dovetails. It had to be something most guys could make with tools they’d have on hand — no forging or machining allowed. It had to look good, and be able to chop as well as pare. Here is what I came up with:
The business end is ground from a 1/4″ square O1 tool steel blank, and it’s probably the hardest part. The handle is styled in the London pattern, but with a retaining hoop on the back. The brass fittings are made from common brass tube and a small piece of 1/8″ sheet brass…like the one laying on the floor of my metal shop…which is just a coincidence. I don’t have any O1 steel anywhere. Really.
I even drew up some plans so *you* could build one. Please build one, and send me a picture so I’m not tempted.
Again, with apologies to Derek Jacobi (for the CAD file pun)…and credit (blame?) to Ralph at the Accidental Woodworker for the inspiration, I’m pleased to present another random synaptic misfire.
I’m actually kind of excited about building this, it will be a great chance to practice my inlay work, and should be a relatively quick project. Less than two months I’d bet, but don’t hold me to that. Nothing too complex, and I can make it from scraps left over from recent projects.
The starting point for the project is the Leviton plug. It’s rated for 20 amps and has one standard 3 prong grounded outlet and two USB charger outlets for the Apple devices that seem to be reproducing everywhere in my house.
I bought two of these through Amazon, they weren’t available locally. I specifically wanted black because of the style I’m headed towards. I started by modeling the plug in SolidWorks so I had a virtual outlet to play with.
I settled on using two of these, both for the scale and because they are a little pricy, at least compared to standard 110 outlets that are only a couple of bucks each.
I tried a couple of arrangements, and settled on an inline layout. I sorted out the proportions and modeled sides, a base, a brass top and some spiffy inlay in silver and abalone shell. I haven’t figured out the exact mounting arrangements for the outlets and brass top — I may end up putting a couple of screws through the brass top plate. I’ll probably use some vintage cloth covered cord for the extension cord to the wall outlet. I’m not happy with the base and will likely change it when I have a better idea.
I know it’s a goofy idea, but I like it.
I’ve reached a state of equilibrium with the design for my semi-reproduction of this Greene & Greene serving table from the Blacker house. Which almost guarantees that I’ll think of three changes I want to make before I finish writing the blog post…
There were some missing details that I needed to fill in, including joinery and embellishments. I think I have those done now, but I’d appreciate feedback on goth the aesthetics and the functionals. In terms of the latter, I settled on twin 2″ wide tenons on the skirts with a wide stub tenon across the end of the skirt to prevent cupping. The longer tenons will hold the base together, the stub tenon probably don’t be glued but is there just to prevent cupping on the wide skirts. The tenons are offset between the sides so that the deep mortises don’t intersect. I can think of other ways to do this joint, so I’m curious if anyone sees a problem.
I added in the joinery details on the table top as well. A wide stub tenon and four 2 1/2″ wide longer tenons. I’ll screw through the breadboard end caps into the end of the long tenons. I added rectangular Ebony caps to indicate these locations on the breadboard ends, although I might want them a tiny bit longer. Also new in this “final” version are the Ebony applies that join the top and breadboard end.
I had mentioned that the transition in the cloud lifts was more gradual in mine than in the original. I tweaked it in my design to make it a bit more abrupt like the original, and I like it better. This is a detail I might play with a little in the future. I didn’t update the inlay design in the top, but I probably will eventually — ok there are the three changes I predicted that I’d find in talking about my final design.
I added in the inlay design on the legs — I’m pretty happy with this part. I think it adds a lot to the style of the table. I feel like I got the “rhythm” of the design right, although it’s not identical to the original
Overall I think I’ve captured the scale and feel of the original design, although it’s different in some of the details. The inlay is a little bit of a concern, but I think if I do a practice piece or two I can probably figure it out. I took today off work, so I’ll be starting the finish on the Thorsen cabinet. Maybe during drying time I’ll run down to Watsonville and pico up a couple of wide boards of Sapele for the skirts and top of this table…
(With apologies to Derek Jacobi and his TV series about a Crusader-turned-monk that investigates murders)
I’m ready to start on the Arts & Crafts bookcase, although I’m not ready to buy the expensive, wide quartered white oak sight unseen and have it shipped here. So I’m still noodling on how to get the materials I need for that.
While I’m doing that, I had a couple of ideas I wanted to play with. One is this side table from the Blacker house. I believe there are two different versions of this table, in different sizes, made for the blacker house, one that is scaled to be roughly the size of a side table, and another that was a serving table in the dining room. I need to read through my books to get a petter handle on this. Here is the side table version from the Ari Institute of Chicago. They list the dimensions as 29 7/8 x 36 x 22 1/8 in.
Working form this photograph and dimensions I started building parts in CAD. I’ve been through a couple of revisions, tweaking things to get the scale right. I still don’t have the scale quite right, although I’m getting close.
I think the skirts are too tall still. The legs, currently at 1 5/8″, seemed too big compared to the Thorsen table I recently made. I think they are actually too small in reality. I found a furniture maker in Texas who made a version of this table, and emailed him to get his take on the dimensions. In his version the legs are actually 55mm or 2.165″. The top on his looks out of scale, but the proportions on the base look pretty good to me. His version uses the blacker leg indent detail, I don’t believe the originals had that, but I’m not positive.
I just doodled in some inlay to get a sense of how this might look as a finished piece, the inlay design is still somewhat crude. I’m going to play with this design a little more — I have enough Sapele left for the legs I think…
I made the last few updates to my plans for the Thorsen House Table yesterday, so I wanted to post them before I forgot. This version has the final templates for the skirt piercings with centerlines to make is simple to get them aligned on your parts. There were a few missing dimensions in the earlier revision too.
As always, you’re free to make this for yourself, and share the plans with friends, but please don’t try to sell the plans on ebay or anything.
Print these plans on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, and to make turn off “shrink to fit” or “fit to page” in the printer options on your computer. Most computers will end up shrinking these 10% or more by default.
I spent an hour or two tweaking the design for the new driveway gate. I have more to do before I start building anything. The next thing I need to figure out is the design for the hinge mechanisms. I think I have an idea how that should work, and my game plan is to build the bracketry, wood spacers and hinge leafs first, then build the gates to fit that.
The main changes in this revision were the shape of the “cloud lifts” and the brackets on the block wall. The cloud lifts looked too abrupt in the previous version. I increased the space between the beginning of the sweep between the top and bottom, made the sweep angled and increased the radius on the curves. I also recessed the rails 1/8″ from the outside frame, and the stiles 1/8″ from the rails. I started modeling the steel straps that will wrap around the cinder block wall, they need a little more work on the end details.
I also removed the latch that was at the top of the gate — I decided that while it looked neat it would be awkward to operate. So I’ll need to design a normal latching mechanism.
Once I get the hinges and latch design sorted out I’ll order the steel, hardware and bearings for the those parts and start in there.
This weekend is going to be a “wash” though as I’m taking my son to the “Maker Faire” up near San Francisco. One of the displays I’m eager to see is the CNC Pancake Maker. I kid you not, check out the “pancake bot“.
I’m sorry, I can’t help it. Having drawn out the front and rear view of the Limbert 305 1/2 cabinet the other day I really wanted to see what it might look like if I built it.
I decided that the proportions of the various parts in my initial drawing were close enough. I settled on a series of 1/8″ set backs — the edges of the top and sub-top are are in 1/8″ from the legs, the rails are set back 1/8″ from the top, the door is set in 1/8″ from the rails, etc. In the drawing from the catalog the panels in the front and sides look to be either ship-laped or tongue-and-groove construction, so that’s how I set up the model. I did do some of the joinery in the CAD model (for example, the mortise and tenon construction) but I didn’t model all of the joinery. I just wanted to see what it looks like, if I decide to make it some day I’ll sort out the rest of the construction details that I glossed over.
The glass panel in the catalog drawing is hard to make out, but looking at other drawings from the catalog I think that is suppossed to be a branch with a couple of leaves. If I make this I’d probably do some sort of Oak leaf pattern like the drawing below. For this rendering I just used a plain piece of opalescent glass. The mission style pull is just a quick model that I did, but it works OK, the pull in the catalog drawing is different. but hard to see enough detail to make it. (What am I saying, I’m not actually going to build this am I?)
So here is what I came up with. There are a few construction details to sort out, but it should be pretty straightforward to build if someone wants to do it. I think the slats fir the panels make it a little more interesting. The finish needs to be darker, but getting a truly realistic wood rendering in SolidWorks is something I’m still playing with. It takes a lot experimentation and fussing around, at least it takes that for me to do it. This is just a standard 2D oak from the materials library. The glass is an actual photograph of the glass applied as a “decal” to the surface with some luminescence to make it pop a little more.