Wood has some odd behavior. Once a tree is cut down it is not alive, and neither does it need to breathe, yet it does have seasonal shrinkage in certain directions but not others. No shrinkage in the "0" direction (see the top right photo). Maybe a little, .01%, if you want to be exact, but not enough to matter in use. Across the grain in the "1" direction it shrinks almost 10%! And what really makes it difficult is wood shrinks only 4% in the radial "2" direction. These percentages apply to thoroughly dried wood to 6% moisture content. These are just the seasonal movement percentages for dry wood!
Thats why it warps, splits and changes shape as it dries requiring special techniques to build with (as shown in the middle right diagram). That is where plywood has changed the world. The wood plies alternate in direction, and as long as the plies are 1/8" or less in thickness they lock each other down into a stable non-moving sheet of plywood. The diagram at the lower right is courtesy ofwww.lozidesigns.com, specialists in making cool plywood designs.
Why use solid wood if its so tricky to use and costs more as a material? Some of that increased cost is not knowing what you are getting into until you cut it open!
See my next blog post for differences in building furniture with solid wood versus plywood.
Patrick wanted a new and special bed and was patient while I conjured up a few uninspired ideas. He knew that he would know when he saw the right design and had good clear comments on various features (so crucial). It tickles me when we all know something is "right" when hit upon, and from the moment I started drawing the top arch I could feel the excitement in my veins.
The side tables are my Akura design. The entire set is finished with our 2k polyurethane (shellac as a sealer coat to bring out the grain and color). As usual it has a center support and leg.
It is definitely an addition to my stable of beds, but what to call it? I already have an Akura bed. Hopefully the present Akura bed wouldn't be offended if I stole its name and demoted it to something new. When I signed up to make furniture I didn't know I would have to name each design too...
Comments are more than appreciated.
While we make dimensioned furniture, we occasionally help put together a "live edge " project. In this instance the customer brought a slab of Northwest yew wood which needed a base and the top flattened.
Like all slabs, this one had a significant had a twist to it we had to rout a flat landing in the base.
Because the tables will be moved frequently we made the tops with a honeycomb core for strength and lightweight 38 lbs. The tops unlatch from the folding bases and may be hung on the wall for storage.
This large Walnut Dining table is 52" wide by 103" long. It seats eight comfortably as you can see (count the chairs). The top shape was generated by the owners right before we started on what was to be a standard Boat top shape. They wanted something which fit the sense of the house they had just completed. The top is 1-1/4" thick, a standard 1" top appears skimpy on a table this size.
Note the Fleur arms which allow the arm chairs to be pushed in farther than our standard arms.
How much room is needed per person?
24" of width is best. A place setting is 20" wide, but the person needs more room than that. Typically chairs are 18-21" wide, but the person needs more than that.
From the front edge of the chair allow at least 14" for legs and knees when a person is sitting at the table.
So three on a side is 24" times 3 which equals 72", plus 14" on each end for a total of 100"!