Not a Radical Break With Tradition

A circa 1800 worktable. Thanks to Richard O. Byrne for digging this up.

A circa 1800 worktable. Thanks to Richard O. Byrne for digging this up.

“It is of no use to design furniture; it cannot be designed.”

— Kaare Klint, Mobilia Magazine, No. 56, 1960

As a teacher especially, Kaare Klint exerted a strong influence. With his students, he studied how a piece of furniture was to function and took anthropometric measurements. As a design theorist, Kaare Klint looked back to the crafts tradition and skilled craftsmanship, for which meticulous attention to detail and a knowledge of materials were essential. This was the basis on which new forms were to be created from existing forms that had proved their worth, not a radical break with tradition but rather an evolution.


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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to Not a Radical Break With Tradition

  1. calebjamesplanemaker says:

    So good. The table and the quote, that is.


  2. Hi Chris,
    I was watching the last episode of Wolf Hall a BBC period piece the other day. The scene where they come to take Ann Bolyn away. You should check out the table she is sitting at. I immediately thought of you when I saw it.

  3. jetzombie says:

    Do you know if the legs go all the way through the top in this version?
    Thanks, Rob

      • richardmertens says:

        So what’s the advantage of attaching the legs to rails and not directly to the top? Is the idea to make the table portable or at least easy to take out and put away and not take up a lot of room? If so, it’s very clever–though a lot of work, I imagine, to make those sliding dovetails, and get them right.

  4. alanws says:

    If the legs were directly mortised into the top without battens, there would be no wood movement problems. But for the same strength, the top would need to be thicker. This design is efficient.

  5. Lee Hockman says:

    Is the top one large slab or several boards to make up the width?

  6. tsstahl says:

    No glue needed and every component can be easily replaced.

    Truly the historical roots of Ikea.

  7. mnrwoods says:

    How sturdy is this table? It seems to me that stretchers of some type would go a long way to keeping the table intact were someone to sit(!) on it.

  8. jasonandmaryann says:

    Hi Chris, do you know any of the dimensions and can you tell us any of the history of this table, i.e. uses, demographics of users, nationality, etc.? Thanks, love your blog and your A.T.C. book!

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