A Classic With a Twist

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Moderator: Michael

Do you like the laminated top?

Total votes : 5

A Classic With a Twist

Postby flairwoodworks » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:07 pm


This is probably old news to you guys because you all follow my blog religously as much as you do John's. Right? Right?

Speaking of pointless, make sure you vote on my poll.


This writing desk has classic appeal, but has a couple unique details that set it apart from others. The 34â€
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Postby John » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:57 pm

Hi Chris-

I voted "No" and here's why;

Obviously there is nothing wrong with the top functionally. The top however detracts from the lines of your legs and stretchers--it is "noisy" (visually) when contrasted against the simple grace of the base structure and as such it makes it difficult to appreciate the piece as a whole--not unlike a heckler at a speech! Your entire base is graceful and the top...not so much.

In short, it is not harmonious as a design element--much like adding an electric guitar to a barbershop quartet... that's the not so good news.

So... how to add "grace" back into the design...

You would need to test this, but you could still fulfill your mission by making the individual pieces comprising the top much smaller in width (the length is not an issue in my opinion)--this would tone down the impact dramatically and may seem contradictory/counter intuitive because by adding more pieces they all become less overbearing. Currently the scale of the pieces comprising the top are too similar to the rest of the table's elements.

I really like however the concept you are pushing here--it is possible to be responsible by recycling and I tip my hat to the example you provided.

Also, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this piece--it takes guts to seek the opinion of others and I know of no better way to grow as a designer than to go through the critique process.

I remember my first critique--not fun. But I soon realized that I never wanted to go through a similar roasting and became as fanatical as I could regarding design as I moved on--for me the "woodworking" part was always a means to the end to fulfill the requirements of the design.

Lastly, you reserve the right to maintain that your critics are off base if you choose--not all suggestions are good, including perhaps what I proffered above.


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Postby PFranks » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:40 am

I tend to agree with John. I think that if you made the smaller pieces have some symmetry or regularity, it might make the top less messy looking. Alternatively, you could use a different form for the legs and aprons that might give a better aesthetic match with the top. I'd picture something substantial, and maybe square in cross section for the legs.

But then, that's just my aesthetic. No need to trust me!
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Postby rwest » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:23 pm

Hi Chris,

I voted "yes" because the poll asked if I liked the top and I did. After reading the other comments and taking a good look at the table as a whole, I can see what they are talking about. John mentioned a re-work of the laminated top. My thought is what about taking off the current top and using a simple top made up of one or several boards made to look like a continuous board and then giving it a feeling of lightness by putting a wide cove on the bottom? Then, and here is where I would ask John what stlye of base would work well with your beautiful and eco-friendly laminated top? Now you have two very nice tables!

Thanks for posting Chris, You're craftsmanship is top-notch!

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Postby flairwoodworks » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:24 pm

I built this table "on the fly" with no idea of direction except that I wanted to make a table (my desk, actually). I started with the top and worked down. I have mixed feelings about the top. I like the concept, but agree that it distracts from the legs. I wasn't entirely sure if it would work when I built the table, so I made it so that it can be disassembled and reincarnated. In this table, I think the legs are the feature, so a plain top, probably without edgebanding, would look better.

The idea of arranging the top pieces in a pattern never occurred to me, and I like it. I will have to remember that.

Rutager, you said: "My thought is what about taking off the current top and using a simple top made up of one or several boards made to look like a continuous board and then giving it a feeling of lightness by putting a wide cove on the bottom".
Where is this curve going? I'm lost. And as good as my craftsmanship may be, I think your veneered boxes take the cake. Those require an immense amount of skill and patience to pull off. I would not even tackle one at this point in time.

I have got a couple nods of approval for reusing the material, but in no way does that make up for lack of design, if I may call it that. You know what I mean. It's kind of like a consolation prize to me.

Critique is what I live for, believe it or not. There is nothing I appreciate more than someone who is willing to take the time to really analyse something and provide feedback as to how the feel about it and what they would change. I think that part of being able to accept criticism is being open-minded and honest with yourself. I posted this table on the Canadian Woodworking forum and it was taking a bit of a beating. I don't mind at all though. Not one bit.
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