My client had renovated her waterfront apartment in San Francisco and wanted a unique entry table to act as a repository for keys and other small items on arrival, as well as a statement piece on which to display flowers, alongside an impressive art collection. The footprint was constrained by the narrow dimensions of the entryway.

My solution was an elliptical demilune table with two pivoting drawers. The top shape has an appropriately nautical feel, and provides the needed surface area without presenting any unfriendly sharp corners to passers by. The under-structure of the table is highly sculptural, with a Kagan-esque feel. The two drawers pivot on ball bearings for a smooth action, and feature recesses for small items, as well as a sliding, removable inner tray that maximizes storage capacity. The base structure of the table is hand-shaped in solid mahogany, and joined with loose-tenon bridle joints. The legs include contrasting solid wenge feet. The top is veneered on both sides with shop-cut mahogany veneers, and features a large under-bevel to provide visual lightness, as well as wenge stringing and graphic inlays. The drawers are of solid mahogany, and bleached to provide visual contrast. Drawers are hung underneath the top from steel pivot posts, and are attached by means of bearings and set collars.

Complex legs like these start with a paper pattern printed full-scale from the computer model. Full-scale drawings were printed using Rhino 3D software. The patterns are placed on the plywood template material so that the mating edges of the parts line up with the straight-and-square milled plywood edges. Parts are then laid out on the rough lumber to take best advantage of grain.

Once they’re rough milled, again on the bandsaw, the mating edges are trimmed straight using a straightedge saw guide. After the mating faces are established, dadoes are cut across them to form bridle joints.

Michael Singer operates Michael Singer Fine Woodworking, Felton, CA. This project was entered in the Custom Woodworking Business Design Portfolio competition for 2012.

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