Johnny, you shrunk the table


Quarter scale model, walnut and poplar

Earlier today, I spent 9 hours constructing a piece of furniture 6 inches wide. As it turned out, it was worth every itty bitty minute. Model-making is a fantastic means of familiarizing yourself with the joints, proportions and aesthetics of a future piece. I was dubious at first, and were it not a required step, I may have shrugged it off completely. By the end of the day, however, I had detected two faulty measurements and streamlined my entry table considerably.

Ultimately, the two drawers and the adjacent door will be fixed with push hinges, and the empty spaces in the top and bottom frames (see pic below) will be filled with floating panels. I’ve yet to decide about the legs, but they will likely be screw-on and metal, allowing for adjustable table heights. I’m also toying with affixing a small hat rack to the back panel which would line up flush with the case divider. Any thoughts or feedback on the design? I’ll be working on my full scale drawing for the next couple days and would love to hear your reaction to the initial model.


An inside peak at the frame and panel carcass


5 Responses to Johnny, you shrunk the table

  1. Dave says:

    It looks great. The contrast with walnut and poplar is a good choice. What are the final dimensions going to be? You should stop toying with the idea of attaching a hat rack an just do it. If nothing else, it can hold cables and dreams.

    If you decide you don’t want to use push hinges I know some great places for furniture hardware.

    • Johnny says:

      Wassup Dave! The dimensions of the box alone are 23 7/16” across, 15 1/8” high, and 11 5/8” deep. The legs should add another 16 1/2” to the height, making it 31 5/8”. I’m still prototyping the hat rack, but it will likely be in the 20-22 inch range. I’m hoping to do some sick Sam Maloof style joints where the hooks attach. As for the poplar, I only chose to use it for the model because I had a bunch of scraps lying around. I ultimately plan to use walnut and cherry. The cherry is a salmon color at first, but turns a really beautiful darkish brown.

  2. Sara says:

    I am super impressed. I can’t believe you are already making such beautiful work in one day!

  3. Dave says:

    Nice. Are you they teaching you any finishing techniques? I’m excited to see it when it’s done. With hats and all.

    • Johnny says:

      They are teaching us some finishing but at a bit of a breakneck speed. We did a fairly basic demo on applying shellac, danish oil and wipe-on polyurethane. We learned the method of applying, then sanding, then reapplying, then sanding again, gradually using finer sand paper. For my footstool, I applied two coats of shellac, sanding with 100 grit between coats then 220 afterward. Then I applied one coat of wipe-on poly and finally used a scotch brite pad (the white colored one, that is super fine) to buff it. The most important lesson we learned though is to throw out your dirty finishing rags. Apparently, oil-based finishes can spontaneously combust or something.

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