Ming Couch Table
This table was built using the photograph and measured drawings, plate 2, of “Chinese Domestic Furniture” by Gustav Ecke as a guide. I followed the books joinery drawings except I substituted dowels for the stub tenons used to attach the legs to the underside of the top frame.
The table is Honduras mahogany with a veneered center panel, finished with spirit based polyurethane.
I admired the original tables firm and assertive stance, and I built 2 prototypes in pine to work out how the curved legs established it. Most of what I know about "fluid" curves I learned designing aluminum extrusions, and the result here is mathematically correct uniform tapers, hopefully right on the cusp between rigid geometry and free form line. I do wonder how this would appear to a pre industrial sensibility.
Chinese joinery isn't just about connecting one piece of wood to another. Sometimes multiple parts are interlocked together simultaneously. I was pleased to get 4 identical crisply registered corners. This is machine joinery. My hat's off to those old Chinese guys with hand tools.