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Torii Table by Dan Dragon. Photo by Elad Brami

In this last wrap-up entry of my four-part series on Dan Dargon’s Torii table I will show how Dan build the table’s drawer, applied finished, and finally assembled it all. 

Read: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

With its grill-like front, Dan’s drawer is definitely an unconventional furniture part. But once we try to understand his design’s raison d’etre we see why it is set up this way. Dan tried to create a semi-transparent front that will work well without stealing attention from the complex structural theme of the entire piece. He intended to have the drawer be the only non-symmetrical part of the table and an element that will allow you to see through it. A symmetrical drawer front, made with a continuous panel would have taken too much attention and would become a visual block. However, a grill-like front is able to participate flawlessly with the overall gestalt. 

The drawer’s front is made from two long beams that span from one side to the other. In between the beams, Dan planted a semi-grill, and in the center, a turned knob. All the parts (including the solid sides and back) were connected via mortise and tenon and dovetail joinery. 

Shaping the recess for the turned knob in the drawer’s lower beam.

Turning the knob.

Gathering the drawer front parts together.

After he finished the drawer Dan resembled the table, placed it on a leveled surface, and scribed a parallel line on the foot of each leg to be cut later; this allows the legs to be flush with the floor. 

Finish Work

His finish of choice was shellac, a natural and easy-to-apply finish that is traditional in many far-eastern decorative art cultures.

 In the pictures below you can see the Torii table before final assembly and after it. Note the small brackets that connect the top to the drawer case’s panels to the top, and all the intricate wedges that secure the through mortise and tenon joinery. 

Dan Dragon’s table is a tour de force furniture that showcases excellent design, sophisticated joinery, and presents a compelling homage to Japanese carpentry. I am very curious to see what Dan will build for us next.

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