Design journal: Let the function drive the design
My wife, who does most of her sewing at our dining room table, recently requested a dedicated sewing table. We started by figuring out the dimensions that would best suit her needs. First it had to be lower than the dining table and it also had to be small enough to move around easily and tuck out of the way when not in use. The size we decided on was a 27 in. high table with a 16 in. by 24 in. top.
The low height ruled out a drawer, but I didn’t want to make a simple table with four aprons. I also wanted to try to design something that fit into a sort of east-meets-west combination of arts and crafts elements combined with traditional Japanese joinery that I’ve been working on recently (you can see more examples at www.pekovichwoodworks.com).
The finished design is a floating top design which I’ve always liked. I arched the aprons to provide some lift, but I kept the legs square and sturdy for a grounded look. I decided to use a bridle joint to join the legs and aprons. The proud ends of the joint and curved parts had me scratching my head when it came to time to clamp it up. The solution was to use draw-bore pegs to pull everything together.
A simple table that suits it's purpose.
The initial thought was a simple table with a drawer. Not only was it plain, but the height didn't leave a lot of room for a drawer.
Here are a couple of sketches where I tried to work in some arts and crafts ideas. The shallow depth of the table didn't leave a lot of room to add elements to the side assemblies, and, besides, they felt a little contrived.
Eureka! When I realized there wouldn't be room for a drawer, I started thinking about an arched apron to add interest. This idea led to the final floating top design. When I saw that I knew I was finally onto something.
The bridle joint is sturdy and easy to make on the bandsaw.
The table is surprisingly versatile for it's small size. Besides sewing, it's also a great height for a laptop, and as a writing desk.