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Woodworker: Raymond FinanWhen Finan set out to design a triangular table (19-3⁄8 in. deep by 21-1⁄4 in. wide by 26-1⁄4 in. tall), his first thought was to give it straight sides and square, tapered legs. Then he decided to soften the triangle with slightly bowed sides. The quick sketch reminded Finn of something in his car-racing background: the rotor in a Wankel rotary engine. Searching online, Finan discovered that the sweet shape he’d stumbled upon for his tabletop was a Reuleaux triangle, a form well known among mathematicians and gearheads if not among woodworkers (you can see some of its unusual properties demonstrated at: http://whistleralley.com/reuleaux/reuleaux.htm). In addition to making Finan’s table more distinctive, the Reuleaux shape made it more functional by adding to its surface area. The shape is easy to lay out using trammel points (see drawing). To make the legs more compatible with the curves of the tabletop, he decided to turn and taper them. Finan made the tabletop from an old board of curly ash and the legs from white oak stained to simulate the look of fumed oak.
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