When a design idea gets stuck in my head, I need to build it so it doesn’t interfere with other (sometimes better) ideas knocking around in my skull.
This is one such crazy idea.
It came to me one morning this week as I was thinking about the Crisscross mechanism on my leg vise. I love how the Crisscross applies forces in predictable but still surprising ways. In fact, I still get letters about this mechanism, which I featured in my 2007 book on workbenches, from people who claim it’s a hoax and doesn’t work.
This table looks unstable to my eye. Like it would tip over if you merely pressed on a corner of the tabletop. But if you think about it (and then try it) it’s remarkably stable. There’s a foot below every corner, which is what you need to prevent it from tipping over.
Aesthetically, I have work to do. This isn’t bad for a rough draft, but the whole thing is chunkier than it needs to be.
What I like about it is how it changes constantly as you move around it. The legs can look like Xs. The top can look like it’s cantilevered over nothing. Two of the legs can look dead vertical.
Oh, and it’s simple to make. This one took less than a day and was made from maple scraps leftover from the worktable in “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”
Because the forces exerted by the tenons mortised into the top, I don’t think I’d use this as the undercarriage of a chair. The seat might split. But for an occasional table? I think it has potential.
FYI, The top is 3” x 14-1/2” x 14-1/2”. The legs are 1-5/8” x 1-5/8” x 22”. The legs are at a 60° angle to the underside of the top and taper to an inch square at the floor.
When I dry-assembled the table I sent a snapshot to a friend.
“Look what I made this morning.”
His response: “By accident?”
Designing furniture is not a profession for the thin-skinned.
— Christopher Schwarz