Thursday, April 23, 2009

Limbert #240 Lamp Table part 2

While I am a huge fan of Robert Lang's Shop Drawings series of books I have found that there can be differences in his shop drawings and some photos of the antiques that I find on the Internet. These differences may well be design or process changes between runs of the furniture. As an avid searcher for pictures of details or original Arts and Crafts furniture I often find details that I prefer better than the one described in Mr. Lang's books. One of these differences is the top cross piece on this table. To your left is a photo I found of an original Limbert #240 Lamp Table, notice the cross braces holding on the top. In Mr. Lang's More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture he calls for four small corbels that match the end of these cross braces. While certainly adequate to hold the top in place I found when I previously built this piece a few years ago that I was less than happy with the final result. I found this picture on EBay where it was listed as an original and indeed had the original stamp of Limbert. Most pictures I've found on antique auction sites show the table from the front and top not showing any of the details. While this may be great for selling the piece it isn't as satisfying for a woodworker that wants to turn it over and see how its made. That is what makes this on of my favorite pictures, apart for the beautiful antique sitting on gravel and leaning on a concrete curb, yikes!
As a result I measured out and made these cross braces for my version of the table. The ends match the curve drawn out by Mr. Lang. I cut 2 pieces of 7/8 inch thick stock 2 inches wide and 18 inches long. After cutting a halflap joint in both pieces I transferred the template of the curve to the wood and cut it out on the bandsaw, I cleaned it up on the oscillating spindle sander and by hand. I then went to the dryfit of the sides and measured the exact distance across the top where the braces will sit. I then transferred the angle of the sides to the stock and cut out the dado on the tablesaw by adjusting the miter gauge, in this case 3 degrees, and sneaking up on the lines then nibbling away at the dado while checking fit with a scrap block. After making all the cuts I could at this angle I moved the miter gauge to the other side of zero to 3 degrees and repeated on the other dados. I tested the fit on the dryfit sides. To my great surprise everything fit and lined up, with just a few light taps with a deadblow the cross braces locked into place on the top of the table.
I cut the tabletop to 20 inches square and marked out 3 inch radius rounds on the corners. I cut the corners on the bandsaw and cleaned it up on the disc sander. Taking everything apart I sanded all the parts to 150 grit and left it for the weekend.
This week while stuck in a hotel overnight for work I pulled up Sketchup and decided to give drawing this table a shot. I have been working on learning Sketchup but it has been a slow process, one reason is that I don't work on it very often, the other is that I'm working on my laptop and had not been using a mouse. I picked up a wireless wheel mouse as recommended to me by many Sketchup guru's and success. Here is a model of this table that I have posted on The WoodWhisperer forum. I did this from memory not having the book with me but after making the jigs, templates and pieces I was very familiar with the measurements. I would suggest using the model to see how it goes together and not for the exact measurements, for that pick up Robert Lang's book More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture.
The project is sitting on my assembly table waiting to be glued up this week and start the finishing process this weekend. This is a really fun project, and while there are no tenons or ebony plugs its beautiful in its lines and curves. Use the sketchup model to take it apart and see how everything goes together, you can learn a lot about how to make a piece by doing this. I'll still do my designing with paper and pencil as it is faster for me and I can let my ideas flow and work them out in my head, but for complicated designs like this one I'll virtually build it and refine it on the computer. Besides, it gives me something to do when stuck out of town in a hotel.
"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." - Franklin D. Roosevelt


AMarshall said...


Thank goodness you got a mouse. Using SketchUp without one is very nearly impossible! Great looking table!

Anonymous said...

Great plan and nice job ont he table. How may I get a larger copy of the layout so that I may make one?


Brad Ferguson said...

If you get Google Sketchup (free) you can open the plan and print as large as you want. then you can transfer the measurements onto large paper or posterboard by drawing a 1x1 inch grid and use that to create templates.