I never have any plans. I’m building an ash coffee table for the family room that measures about 48x24x16.5″, turned legs, 7.5″ apron, 6/4 top with breadboard ends and about a 2″ overhang all the way around. The apron is wide/long because I want to incorporate a couple of side by side draws (flush fronts) on one side…with round wooden pulls.
The question is how large should the draws be and how far down from the top. So for instance if I have a 5″h draw front that would leave about 1.25″ top and bottom..is that okay with a 2″ overhang? Also, the maximun depth could be about 19″ (the aprons are 4/4)…but what should the width and depth be..so they don’t look to small, or too large or are not funtional? Thanks
The only way to know for sure is to get a roll of bulletin board paper or some other large roll of paper and draw it full-scale. You could also draw it on a freshly sanded workbench top (at least the critical workpieces).
I can lay it out on some brown paper that I have. My question is are there any proportion recommendations on the horizontal relative to draws. For instance, I've got 44"OD on the legs and the ID on the legs is about 38 1/2 x 7 1/2" apron. So if I come in 4" on each side from the legs and leave 8" in the center, that would give me two draws about 11 1/4 wide ...Is that a good width?...and to work well how deep should that 11 1/4" draw be(15,16,17")?..are there any rules? thanks
I recommend figuring out what you want to put IN the drawers, then making them large enough (width and depth) for that stuff at a minimum. Then you'll know what max (room available) and minimum limits there are. It will simplify your decision making. Once you have the limits defined, sketch (on graph paper for accurate scale) a side view of the table showing how the apron sits below the top and between the legs. Lightly mark the "limits" for your drawers. Call this your "Base" drawing. Then perhaps with another piece of tracing paper you can overlay this base drawing and sketch several variations of drawer dimensions (within the limits). With several to compare you can surely find one or two that appeal to you more than all others. Ask a few friends which of those two they like the better, then settle for their majority vote.
Hope that helps.
It does help. This is a coffee table for my son who has just moved from Chicago to Philly. I kinda figured the draws may need to hold something like a telephone book...or a place to store dirty mags if his parents visit...ahem!
I did draw out the side view on brown paper and quickly saw wider than orginally planned was required. thanks
I'm not aware of any hard and fast rules on proportions for a coffee table. There are mathematical formulas for graduated drawers in a chest of drawers, but I don't think that applies here.
Just sketch it and use light lines for a couple of different combinations, or perhaps different colored pencils. Something will jump out at you.
Let it flow. Be the coffee table.
Edited 5/21/2003 8:27:11 PM ET by CHASSTANFORD
First step in design is to do really rough and ready sketches until you get basically the look you want - I've attached a sketch that took all of 20 sec, drawn roughly to scale.
Note that the profile of the edge of the table needs to marry in with the leg design, unless the style you want is a clash - your eyeball is the best judge of this when doing rough sketches. It's easy to see what works well and what doesn't.
Re: a 1 1/2" break around a drawer with a 2" overhang, you'll probably be the only one that notices it - the 2" overhang provides a good shadowline so the difference in size isn't noticeable. In any case, you're talking about two different elements of the table so they can be mismatched slightly - once again, refer to rough sketches to confirm you're happy with appearance.
Now, when you've got the rough idea figured out, proceed to a detail sketch to confirm that you're still happy. Drawn full size, you also then are creating a working rod or drawing, which always helps. If you draw on MDF, you then are able to put your components directly onto the drawing and mark them off the drawing - avoids transcription errors if using a rule. This is the idea behind a rod - you measure components directly off the drawing.
Re: drawer size.
Minimum useful size is to hold a large format magazine, in my experience.
There's no reason why they can't be as deep as the table is wide, but you need to be careful to avoid having a drawer full of heavy paper fully extended, that then overbalances a lighter coffee table.
If you are using nylon runners as drawer slides, running in a groove cut into the middle of the drawer side (side hung drawers), you could also consider making the drawer sides as deep as the table is wide, but then setting the back of the drawer about 8" in from the end of the drawer side. In this way, you are getting, in effect, a full extension slide in a timber drawer, allowing you easy access to the drawer contents.
If you're making a drawer over 18" - 24" wide, you should consider putting a reinforcing muntin in the middle of the base, which will stop the back from bowing out and keep the drawer bottom flat, avoiding sagging.
Hope this gives you some ideas.
As I mentioned to 4D I did sketch it out, as Cass orginally suggested, and decided to make each drawfront(2) 13x5 the depth I'm still working on (another sketch). I'm thinking about 18" deep so it can be opened quite a bit without falling out.
I'm planning on a center bottom slide, runners and kickers will be dovetailed into the top and bottom rails(I'm not sure they are called rails). This will provide a little extra support for the apron. I may add a cleat to the front in addition to the back for the runners, kickers and bottom slide...
I've built this piece before but without draws and a 4 1/2" apron. Also, the legs turned less on this piece. The first piece came out quite nice...and its strong enough to support the car while change the oil....lol
PS, I love the sketch..those legs are just like mine...they don't match...lol
Edited 5/21/2003 7:32:34 PM ET by BG
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