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Judging by his products, woodworker David Fletcher is just as much an engineer as he is a furniture maker.
Yup, my headline makes one heck of a bold claim. That said, from an engineering standpoint (at least), this capstan table crafted by David Fletcher is an utter marvel of engineering.
In this short video outlining the table’s general construction and history, Fletcher claims that when asked to produce the table he replied that it was “far too difficult.” In the end however, he was convinced to attempt the build, and judging by the final product, he most likely exceeded his wildest expectations.Want one of your own? No problem. For a cool $50K-$70K, you can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at this fine specimen of a table.
So the next time you find yourself frustrated while trying to cut a complex compound-angled dovetail joint-think of Mr. Fletcher and put your “big boy pants” on.
Special thanks to Adam Savage’s Tested website, where I stumbled upon this little gem.
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Woodworking------Not Woodworking----Call it what you like based on how you choose to build it. The original tables built in the 19th. Century were obviously made by hand using very demanding woodworking skills.
In any case, this Capstan Table is a marvelous piece of engineering and, dare I say, a piece of functional art. If I had one, I doubt I would actually use it for every day use without a waterproof cover. Can you imagine the mess a spill could make of the internal mechanism.
I would like to know the cost to not only purchase one and to have it professionally set up. I might follow up on that.
Isn't it great that despite the amazing technology, he still reaches for koa and other wood for the beauty? For everyone who says this is not woodworking, I have to throw the B.S. flag. Next time you are standing at your router table I could tell you the same thing. Just like a CNC, you are milling wood and controlling your x, y, and z axis. Scandinavians scoff when we reach for a handsaw and wonder why we are using a tool of the unskilled when an axe would work WITH the wood rather than plow straight through it. I love woodworking with planes, chisels and handsaws to be sure, but this table is what it is and in the open, closed, or in motion positions it is a lovely and very much wooden object of art. Congratulations to this gentlemen for pursuing his passion. As the French say, "Chacun a son true." Everyone has his thing (that others don't understand.)
I believe the piece of furniture is a marvel of engineering not necessarily a woodworking marvel. The accuracy of the engineered components is amazing and all credit should go to the collective group of people that engineered and developed the piece of furniture being displayed. Whilst it is definitely the hero piece of a dining room in any home, a person’s attention will be drawn to the engineering of the unit and its unique design rather than its book matched veneers that are used to window dress a mechanically operated mechanism. The table and its overall function can be likened to a Terminator movie where they put synthetic flesh on a cyborg robot to pass it off as being human!
Imagine what anyone of us could achieve with 15 years and deep pockets?
Still impressive though.
Wow, what a fantastic and wonderfully engineered table! Something I'd purchase if "I were a wealthy man ! "
Would I try this ever? No way! Life's too short. Even if I were much better than I am now, it seems like the kind of thing that would drive me insane.
The question I have for all of you is: would any of you ever attempt something this crazy? For my part, there is no way in hell I would have had the confidence to attempt it for a client, like this fellow did. Yet he completed it! I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone with that much self-confidence. It awes me! I guess I missed that gene! I still don't think any of my woodworking is "good enough." And maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that's what keeps a woodworker making better and better pieces - always striving for perfection and new challenges.
I like it but...
Although it's a clever piece of engineering, I would classify this as a kinetic sculpture not a woodworking project. Even the small amount of woodworking that could have been done by humans was done with a CNC router. It is what it is, but it's not woodworking. I would have liked to have seen the piece, or diagram of the original this was based on.
Whoa. What an incredible Piece. The work of a genius.
For everything there is an extreme version. Here is one that defies it's heritage as a piece of woodwork. An amazing metal mechanism with wooden touches; this is nearly not furniture. The sophisticated 3D Numeric Controlled equipment and the elaborate CAD dependencies put this project in a class of its own. Nonetheless, all the more, even so...........it's really cool!
Too sterile for me. Great engineering. Definitely doesn't qualify as woodworking though.
Looks like the Century Furniture radial dining table, and even more like Century's discontinued Oscar de la Renta table. Both expand outward radially to accept additional leaves resulting in a larger table. Maybe this is a "knock-off" or parallel evolution....But those will only set you back $25K....
Design,& fabrication are beautiful, but they rely on 21st century high tech and process automation. Traditional woodworking tools and skills are not present. So this is exquisite but sterile.. As for the wood, they may as well have used plastic laminate. There is not one element that speaks of the human touch.
Non sequitur. Why are the recommended articles shown just below this taken from Fine Homebuilding ad not a Fine Woodworking perspective?
Makes my head spin... but it doesn't come back together as neatly as this table! By "big boy pants", you mean "big boy pockets" for a big boy CNC?
I guess I'll go and burn all my tools now...
What clamps to have and why you should have them
Grids and cutouts define a practical piece
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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