A co-worker of mine, recently commissioned me to make her a simple side table out or ribbon stripe Sapele. I knew going into the project that I needed to keep the cost down, but I still wanted the piece to have some flair. After some quick modeling in sketchup, I came up with the design shown below.
A significant amount of the piece’s presence comes from the legs, they have a gentle curve on two sides that thins them at the bottom to half their width. Two other details that add to the piece, are the under chamfer on the top, and the apron set back. The Chamfer makes the 3/4″ top look thinner, and helps keep the piece light and airy feeling. Setting the aprons 1/4″ back from flush with the legs, creates shadow lines that catch your eye and act as a focal point.
Since I’m still fairly new to commission work, I decided to to keep track of every minute I spent working on the project. Going forward I can use what I learn on this project to better estimate the time it takes to finish a given task. Hopefully when its all said and done, I’ll have made a decent hourly rate.
This evening I set about making the leg template. When I started, I decided my target was to finish the template in under an hour. I managed to finish a minute or two under my goal, but It was a real mental and physical workout. I learned two things from the first hour of the project. One, I need to take better notes as I wasted 5 minutes or so, running into the office to double check measurements. Two, I need to get more proficient at sawing to the line using the band-saw, because most of my time was spend sanding the template to shape. By comparison, roughing out the leg blanks was done in less than 10 minutes, despite how anal I am about it.