Daddy Long Legs Display Tables

This is one of my favourite pieces of the last year.

It’s one of the many “free-flow” pieces that I have created which had its genesis in a simple piece of material. In this case a piece of glass.

While helping clear my mother’s house pending a move last year, I came across a piece of Float Glass on the top of her glasses cabinet. For as long as I can remember she had used it as a coaster for her wine decanters on top of the cabinet.

A small piece  –  6mm thick with a diameter of 305mm.

I mention the exact measurements because in these instances the overall design & form of the object will be determined by this.

The size of the glass seemed to dictate for something quite delicate & elegant.

Of course, I kept the glass … knowing myself & knowing it would sooner or later be the start of something …or at the very least incorporated into another piece.

Also lying around the workshop I had a beam of teak, reclaimed from an old double door frame.

So the dimensions of the 2 bits of raw material lead me to this design. 

Glass topped long-legged, narrow display table.

After milling up the door frame to the approximate sizes, I realized 2 things.

  1. That I only had enough for 14 legs…..3 tables of 4 legs each & 1 of 2 legs doesn’t work …. so the 3 legged version was born.
  2. That quite a bit of “reconstructive surgery” was required. Mostly I like to leave the “bumps & bruises” in reclaimed timber. It adds to the story, the soul, the essence of the timber & becomes part of its unique beauty. But sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes where there were mechanical fixings (nails etc) the timber has a chemical reaction & rotted around those spots. So I used the offcuts from the tapered cut of the legs to cut plugs that are almost invisible in the finished piece.

Then came the challenge of how to join the 3 Leg version in the center.

The 4 Leg has a simple half-lap joint that holds the structure. But in the 3 Leg version, the 3 rails join at 60 degrees & I wasn’t happy with a glued only joint. I worried that it would fail in time. 

It took me a while, but I came up with a 3-way spline  – also cut from offcuts to glue into a 3-way groove cut into the rail centers, which works beautifully & is structurally sound.

I love these kinds of details … which are a perfect example of how the actual making is part of the design process.

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