Walnut Side Table is an Exercise in Geometry
A friend of mine is currently outfitting his mid-century home with period-appropriate furniture. He found a side table design he liked, but it was an older piece that was no longer in production. It had a walnut top and shelf, with anodized aluminum legs in a nice bronze color. Drawing on details from that version and other vintage side tables, I came up with this design that was a lot of fun to build.
This project is a great excercise in geometry. The top and shelf are based on an equilateral triangle with circles drawn at each of the three points. An ellipse then connects each of the circles, rounding the sides as they connect to the edge of each circle.
The base is also a triangle with each leg leaning in seven degrees towards the center, and then each leg is tapered from top to bottom. The legs start out as a triangular shape and then are rounded and sculpted after glue-up.
2) These three boards being glued-up for the top were cut from one length of board, for a nice grain and color match.
3) To layout the shape for the top, I first started with an equilateral triangle, drawing 7 inch diameter circles at each point. Then using a symetric drawing bow, I made an ellipse connecting the outer edges of each circle.
The shelf was layed out using the same technique as the top. Being scaled down to 4 inch diameter circles at each point of the triangle.
4) The final shape was cut at the bandsaw. A white pencil was used for the layout to make the line more visible on the darker walnut. Next, on to the base!
6) With the base dry-fit, I drew differnet sized circles to transition from the apron and stretchers to the taper of the legs.
7) Holding the leg in a jig, forstner bits were used to drill holes adjacent to the drawn lines.
8) After cutting away most of the waste for the tapers at the bandsaw, various files and an apron plane were used to smooth things out.
9) After a dry-fit, the base was glued up using a band clamp and a makeshift rope clamp that was tightened by twisting a small piece of wood between the rope.
5) The legs for the base are triangular in shape with flats to join the apron and stetchers. The mortises were cut at a 90 degree angle to the inside faces of the legs and the tenons were cut at a 6 degree angle. The top and bottom of the legs were cut at a 7 degree angle to lean in towards the center.
10) I started some of the round-overs with a router, followed by files and an apron plane.
11) The inside of the leg-to-stretcher joint was also carved out, and then all joints were faired using fine files and sandpaper wrapped around various sized dowels.
12) I rounded over the bottom of the shelf and top, and then assembled the table using walnut buttons.