Tornado Table

One afternoon – start to finish – is all it takes, even for a new woodworker. This may be the easiest (and coolest) table you’ll ever build.
By Steve Shanesy & John Hutchinson
Pages: 46-52

From the October 2004 issue #143
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If mid-20th century modern furniture design were as popular as the Arts & Crafts style is today, then thousands of these tables would be turning up for sale at craft shows any day now. Why? Anybody can build this table. And the more tables you build at once, the less time each one will take.

In spite of its simplicity and minimal materials, the table is very sturdy, owing to the geometry of the dowel placement. Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988), a sculptor and designer recently honored with the issue of U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamps, designed the table in the 1950s using a cast-iron base and chrome-plated steel rods. Wooden dowels, even 5⁄16″-diameter ones as used in our model, provide ample strength.

Many different materials can be used to make the table. In addition to the wood or steel dowel options, the base can be solid wood or plywood. The top can be solid wood, plywood covered with plastic laminate or even glass with a ring of plywood to capture the top of the dowels and support the glass. Marble, granite or slate are still other possibilities.

From the October 2004 issue #143
Buy this issue now