Wonky 'Corner Table' Build (& Thank You SketchUp) - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Wonky ‘Corner Table’ Build (& Thank You SketchUp)

 In Feature Articles, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs


Believe me – I’m at least 10 times as tired of my kitchen rehab as you probably are. But there’s one last big project to tackle before I can call it (almost) done. That’s a counter-height (and counter-topped) table for a wonky curved corner to the left of the stove.

Because that’s where the cat bowls are, I didn’t want to build a cabinet (I also didn’t want to have to build to that curve for a cabinet that isn’t really needed). This table will allow me to keep the cat bowls and bin of extra food underneath, but still provide some open storage on the slatted shelf. (And the slats will be easily removable, so that if I do sell the house this spring, a future owner might take those out and use the space as a convenient space to tuck away a trash can.) The top aligns with the counters to the right of the stove, and will provide an additional 3′ of flat, horizontal surface on which to pile cra…I mean, at which to work.

I shared some (failed) designs on my personal blog (where you can also see the pesky curved corner and two of my cats if you’re so inclined). In response to some of the comments there, I’ve lightened the look of the aprons by making them narrower, and dropped the shelf a little.

After work tonight (or perhaps tomorrow), I’m popping into the shop to cut the tapered legs at the jointer; I already have the aprons, stretchers and slats ready to go, and a 76′-long slab of Ikea butcherblock for the top – but at home, I still need to cut a gatorboard template for the curve on the top (I want to make sure it’s fits the actual wall rather than the “wall” in SketchUp before I head to the band saw…especially because it appears Ikea has discontinued the Numerär – so there’s no room for error).

Over the next week or two as I get this thing put together, I’ll share the build. But for now, here’s my cutlist:

– 4 legs: 2″ x 2″ x 34-1/2″, poplar
– 2 long aprons: 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 21″, poplar
– 2 short aprons: 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 15-23/64″, poplar (OK…I added 1/64″; they’re really 15-3/8″)
– 2 stretchers: 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 15-3/8″, poplar
– 6 slats 1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 26″, poplar
– 1 top, 1-1/2″ x 25-3/4″ x 38″, beech butcherblock

And for what it’s worth, SketchUp has been a godsend throughout this wee kitchen project, from drawing out the floor plan to trying out different types of doors and face frames, to working out design and construction challenges on all the components. And I’m not even a whiz at using the program – but I’m a lot faster with it now than when I started!

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. We have a new book in the store on tables, “Furniture Fundamentals: Tables” that includes 17 projects and five technique articles from the magazine. And if you don’t know how to use SketchUp (and like me, can’t draw well on paper), well, you should learn. If you need professional help, check out “SketchUp for Woodworkers,” by Joe Zeh.

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Showing 9 comments
  • miathet

    I hate to say it as you have had many suggestions, but right next to the stove it would be nice to have a butcher block drawer that comes out to hold prepped items for the stove and items for cooling. A though would bee a cooling rack on the counter and the ready to bake on the drawer.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      That sounds cool, I’ll admit. But then where would I put the much-less-trouble-to-execute applied towel rack 😉
      And I already have this to put on top: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30111087/

      • miathet

        I completely understand done is also a great thing I have to make those choices too. Doesn’t mean I can’t dream of better.

  • pcbg01207

    Megan enjoyed the artical. Did you really work to the dimension of 15 23/64 for the cross rail or did you round up to 15 3/8 and adjust the overhang of the work surface. Following the dimensions generated by a drawing package can overide the commonsense that we need to apply to our designs to enable us to work in a more efficient manner.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Of course I rounded (I thought I made that clear)! And to be honest, I didn’t measure after cutting. It is what it is, and that’s just fine. In the end, it just needs to look good and work for the intended space and purpose!

  • Fraise

    sorry I tried to quote you Megan but it didn’t come out

  • robert

    I am sure that as a tool Sketchup can be handy and has a place. But, the renderings always look devoid of life, cold, sterile; I don’t know, just without the feeling that comes from seeing a hand drawn sketch. I dearly love to see pencil or pen on paper, with all the little quirks, refinements, adjustments, scratch-outs – things that make me think a human might have created this drawing. Hopefully, taking pen to hand will not become another lost art.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      I don’t disagree, and I love the look of hand-drawn plans. But what I appreciate about SU is the ability it gives me to (after you learn it well enough) easily “build” on the screen and try out lots of different things before settling on a design and joinery approach.

      But it doesn’t begin to look as nice as well-rendered orthographic drawings…that I can’t do 🙁 I’m in awe of the drawings we get from Mario Rodriguez, Jim Tolpin and Frank Vucolo, and those I’ve seen from Phil Lowe, among others. They’re just beautiful.

      • Fraise

        <> You can do that with tracing paper 😉

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