Reader's Gallery

Hand-Cut, Dovetail Coffee Table

comments (0) October 24th, 2012 in Reader's Gallery

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Woodworker: Kevin Kauffunger

When designing his coffee table, Kevin Kauffunger was guided more by what he wanted to learn than by what he already knew. At 30, with experience in carpentry, cabinetmaking, and millwork, he had a desire to go deeper. “I wanted a Parris Island woodworking experience,” he said, “in a place that would be obsessive about the craft.” In September of 2005 he drove west from his home in Pittsburgh to Fort Bragg, California, a small coastal town several hours north of San Francisco where James Krenov founded the College of the Redwoods program in fine woodworking in 1981. Kauffunger was seeking an immersion experience, a sort of boot camp for craft, and he found it in Ft. Bragg. For nine months, he and two dozen other students spent most of their waking hours obsessed with every detail of what they were learning and doing at the school. Although Krenov retired from teaching several years ago, Kauffunger found the program completely imbued with his approach to cabinetmaking. The table pictured above was Kauffunger’s first major project at the school, and he used it as a vehicle for refining hand-tool skills. The fluted Douglas-fir drawer fronts offered a tutorial in plane-making: he custom-made a narrow, Krenov-style wooden plane with a convex sole. The drawers can be opened on either side of the table. The table also provided a seminar on hand-cut dovetails—100 in all. And the 8/4 plank of Bulgarian walnut for the carcase presented lessons in resawing. Even after it was done, the table had something to impart. On the drive home from the humid Pacific Northwest, Kauffunger visited bone-dry Zion National Park. When he unpacked the car in Pittsburgh, he found that the table’s flatsawn top had curled up at the edges. Kauffunger accepted the mishap as another piece of his education. From Fine Woodworking #193

Design or Plan used: Not specified

posted in: Reader's Gallery, douglas fir, claro walnut, Custom Design, Bulgarian Walnut

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