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272130 <joe@j...> 2020‑11‑19 Serpentine table and chair legs
OH wise ones:

In the next few months or maybe a year or so, I am going to try to make an
oval occasional table, say 24-30 inches in height, with  serpentine legs.
By that I mean that the legs will arc in from the edges to a center point,
and then do reverse arc to the floor, maybe with a re-curve.  The idea is
rococo influenced, but contemporary.

The engineering is not clear to me.  If I cut the legs out of single pieces
of timber -- even using rift sawn wood as I always do for legs, the curves
are probably going to have stretches of short grain that will make them
weak.  That is probably so even if I use wide boards and cut on the bias.  I
don't have any natural knees of the sort favored by shipwrights.

Am I over thinking this?

Has anyone done this?  Does anyone know how it was classically done so that
the furniture will survive?  Should I joint pieces so as to avoid short
grain? If so, how, using what joint?  A butt joint would be at least as weak
as short grain.

Cheers!

Joe
272131 "yorkshireman@y..." <yorkshireman@y...> 2020‑11‑19 Re: Serpentine table and chair legs
Joe has a problem with his legs...

Examine old legs - they often have some short grain at the curves.  The questio
is how much?  If they used short grain, then they would have been able to choose
suitable, tight grain, quality hardwood.

The questsion is - what sort of loads are going to be imposed?   
Are you going to do some table dancing on the top?  
Is it sized for a sandwich and coffee cup, or to seat 12 for a banquet?  

Your design - you have control.   Make up a maquette with expanded polystyrene,
or a bit of cardboard engineering to get the right curves

I’m sure you know how strong your chosen timber will be for the curves you want
- just fiddle with the sizes until it looks right.

And if it’s going to be painted or gilded, than you can slip in some
strengthening by halving the blank, and inserting something suitable, or
laminating, or all manner of sneaky things that can hide under paint -  but that
would be a very last resort.


Trust yourself.  Test the mockup.  Enjoy the sensation of satisfaction when you
finish.


Richard Wilson
Yorkshireman Galoot
272132 Thomas Conroy 2020‑11‑20 Re: Serpentine table and chair legs
Hi, Joe,
You don't mention steam-bending. That may be an option. Another may be to
laminate each leg out of two or three full-length pieces, staggered so that the
short grain occurs in different places. If you want to use short pieces, overlap
two layers by half-lengths, like a brick-built turned pot.
Or a combination of methods. Steam-bend a thinnish wide piece, bending it the
easy way, and then build up a series of blocks on each side of it to add bulk
and hold it rigid.Sort of like a Turkish recurved or a Chinese/Japanese recurved
bow.
What you describe sounds like the aesthetic of the legs is (for one leg): start
at right top---curve in to meet (perhaps touch) another leg at center---curve
out again to meet ground at right bottom. If the legs actually touch at the
center, you might be able to carve them so that the apparent in-out aesthetic is
preserved while using a constructional crossing shape, like a simple x-chair,
incorporating a solid joint at the crossing. This would give a leg that went:
start at top right---curve in to touch at center---cross and continue to meet
ground at left bottom. Depending the actual lines of the shape you want, and the
wood you have, this might or might not give straighter constructional lines than
the in-out shape. Thhe gimmick to this approach would be the tromp-l'oeil
carving at the crossing of the legs.

This is way beyond anything I've ever done, so be wary of my advice.
Nevertheless, I have a strong opinion: don't allow areas of short grain. If you
do, you are certain to have broken legs from time to time.
That's it, for what it's worth.

Tom Conroy
Advice for all! Advice for all! Worth what you paid for it!




    On Thursday, November 19, 2020, 2:43:09 PM PST, joe@j...  wrote:  
 
 OH wise ones:

In the next few months or maybe a year or so, I am going to try to make an
oval occasional table, say 24-30 inches in height, with  serpentine legs.
By that I mean that the legs will arc in from the edges to a center point,
and then do reverse arc to the floor, maybe with a re-curve.  The idea is
rococo influenced, but contemporary.

The engineering is not clear to me.  If I cut the legs out of single pieces
of timber -- even using rift sawn wood as I always do for legs, the curves
are probably going to have stretches of short grain that will make them
weak.  That is probably so even if I use wide boards and cut on the bias.  I
don't have any natural knees of the sort favored by shipwrights.

Am I over thinking this?

Has anyone done this?  Does anyone know how it was classically done so that
the furniture will survive?  Should I joint pieces so as to avoid short
grain? If so, how, using what joint?  A butt joint would be at least as weak
as short grain.

Cheers!

Joe
272141 Michael Suwczinsky <nicknaylo@g...> 2020‑11‑25 Re: Serpentine table and chair legs
I would consider a multi-ply lamination. Once you have your mocked up
design close to what you want, use that to make a form and many thin slices
of wood, ample glue, wax paper and clamps should get you a strong, workable
curve.  Slow setting glues, lots of oversized parts to trim down to your
final dimensions but I think that is the way to go, if you would rather not
resort to  steam bending.  Glue lam has the advantage of not having to
estimate springback into your molding form. I think in terms of the amount
of work for each method, it's likely a wash.

Michael

On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 2:43 PM  wrote:

> OH wise ones:
>
> In the next few months or maybe a year or so, I am going to try to make an
> oval occasional table, say 24-30 inches in height, with  serpentine legs.
> By that I mean that the legs will arc in from the edges to a center point,
> and then do reverse arc to the floor, maybe with a re-curve.  The idea is
> rococo influenced, but contemporary.
>
> The engineering is not clear to me.  If I cut the legs out of single pieces
> of timber -- even using rift sawn wood as I always do for legs, the curves
> are probably going to have stretches of short grain that will make them
> weak.  That is probably so even if I use wide boards and cut on the bias.
> I
> don't have any natural knees of the sort favored by shipwrights.
>
> Am I over thinking this?
>
> Has anyone done this?  Does anyone know how it was classically done so that
> the furniture will survive?  Should I joint pieces so as to avoid short
> grain? If so, how, using what joint?  A butt joint would be at least as
> weak
> as short grain.
>
> Cheers!
>
> Joe
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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-- 
Michael
272153 <joe@j...> 2020‑11‑25 Re: Serpentine table and chair legs
Many thanks for the three replies so far.  Lots to think about.  Tom C’s idea
about running clear across is one I had not considered, as is Michael’s.
Richard is also right – depends on the design and strength of the timber.  I
guess the term “short grain” is relative when used to imply weakness.  How short
can it be and NOT be weak enough to be a problem for a specific design?

 

Cheers

 

Joe

 

 

From: Michael Suwczinsky  
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 7:04 PM
To: joe@j...
Cc: Tim ; Thomas Conroy ; old tools new
server 
Subject: Re: [OldTools] Serpentine table and chair legs

 

I would consider a multi-ply lamination. Once you have your mocked up design
close to what you want, use that to make a form and many thin slices of wood,
ample glue, wax paper and clamps should get you a strong, workable curve.  Slow
setting glues, lots of oversized parts to trim down to your final dimensions but
I think that is the way to go, if you would rather not resort to  steam bending.
Glue lam has the advantage of not having to estimate springback into your
molding form. I think in terms of the amount of work for each method, it's
likely a wash.

 

Michael 

 

On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 2:43 PM mailto:joe@
j...> > wrote:

OH wise ones:

In the next few months or maybe a year or so, I am going to try to make an
oval occasional table, say 24-30 inches in height, with  serpentine legs.
By that I mean that the legs will arc in from the edges to a center point,
and then do reverse arc to the floor, maybe with a re-curve.  The idea is
rococo influenced, but contemporary.

The engineering is not clear to me.  If I cut the legs out of single pieces
of timber -- even using rift sawn wood as I always do for legs, the curves
are probably going to have stretches of short grain that will make them
weak.  That is probably so even if I use wide boards and cut on the bias.  I
don't have any natural knees of the sort favored by shipwrights.

Am I over thinking this?

Has anyone done this?  Does anyone know how it was classically done so that
the furniture will survive?  Should I joint pieces so as to avoid short
grain? If so, how, using what joint?  A butt joint would be at least as weak
as short grain.

Cheers!

Joe

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traditional handtools, especially woodworking tools.

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-- 

Michael

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