DAS Coffee Table
Son Chas is an on again/ off again woodworker. He comes up with an idea for a piece of furniture and my job is to provide the methods for holding the pieces together, along with the the wood, the shop and the technical support to help turn that idea into reality. Note the emphasized word "help". It's up to him to decide which method(s) he wants to go with and he actually selects, measures and cuts all the parts, does the joinery and sticks things together. Along the way I'm An Extra Set Of Hands and the Set Up Guy..
Now I don't know if you done any collaborative pieces, especially with a relative, but it can be stressful if you let your ego get in the way. Fortunately, Chas and I work well together. I provide choices, he decides which ones he will use and then does it. When he gets stuck we work out several solutions and he goes with the one he's most comfortable with - or fits in with the concept of the piece he wants. It's his piece - his call.
So when he said he wanted to make a coffee table I said sure. I'm thinking "table" - a top, four legs, an apron and perhaps a drawer or two.
Here's what he had in mind. The hole in the top will be for tumbled rocks and "tea candles - his girlfriend's contribution to the design. OH, did I mention he wanted to do it in SOLID BLACK WALNUT!?
Now I have a sawyer friend and he often has claro walnut slabs. But a 4" thick slab - 7 feet long and almost 3 feet wide? THAT was going to be a problem. So a little rummaging through my ply stash and I found two sheets of "laid up boards" furniture grade black walnut I picked up at an auction a few years back. (I later learned that this stuff is going for $174 a sheet!).
"We could make three torsion boxes and hide the edges of the ply with solid walnut." I suggested
"What's a torsion box?" he asks.
So a little explanation and some pencil sketches and we settled on going with torsion boxes and solid walnut to hide the plywood edges. Cut a hole in the top skin and slip a mitered corners solid walnut box in it. Done!