What is a Table?

view final projects for woodworking class

People have a preconceived idea of what a "table" looks like, even though there are infinite variations. Leah Woods challenged her woodworking students to design and build a table with either one, two, or three legs. The table could not have four. By changing the number of legs required, the students had to think of a table as a "new" art object with a design, a composition, a combination of lines, curves, and negative and positive space instead of the things they eat at and throw their backpacks on a thousand times a day without ever really looking at it. After reviewing the process in the slideshow below, review the final products.

  • male tudent looking through combination square

    Devin McCarthy measures wood using a "combination square" this is a ruler attached to a handle that allows for measuring at 90 degrees and 45 degrees.

  • sketchbook and model

    Drawing the table and then creating a small model are part of the process. This sketch and model is by Carl Sutkus.

  • female student using calculator

    Haley Barbuto reviews her plans to determine the amount of wood she will need to complete her table.

  • female student using chisel

    Karen Mawikere uses a chisel to cut a mortise and tenon (a rectangular hole and a rectangular plug). The mortise and tenon is the joint that will hold the table together.

  • male student using a table saw

    Taylor Wright guides a table element through a table saw using a push stick.

  • male student and instructor lay pieces of wood on table

    Shop technician Nathan Hansen and student David Waste lay out the top of the table according to David's original plan.

  • male student uses a ban saw

    Mike Jeffers uses a band saw to trim the top of his table.

  • a female student uses a drill

    Evelyn Weston uses a drill.

  • male student uses a chisel

    Nathan Pitoniak uses a chisel to cut mortises.

  • female professor assists male student

    Assistant Professor Leah Woods assists Chris Lynch in drilling part of the tabletop.

  • male student works with male instructor to assemble table

    David Hanson works with shop technician Nathan Hansen to begin assembly of a two-legged table. They are figuring out how to attach the rails (horizontal pieces) to the legs David built.

  • female student sands a curved leg

    Karen Mawikere sands a curved leg of her table.

  • male student sands a tabletop

    David Waste sands the top of his one-legged table.

  • male student confers with female instructor about table

    David Waste confers with assistant professor of art Leah Woods about his nearly completed one-legged table. A layer of laminated wood was added to create a stronger curved leg.

Photography by Lisa Nugent, Photographic Services. Slideshow by Bridget Finnegan, New and Emerging Media. Special thanks to assistant professor of art Leah Woods.