Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No. 13 Contemporary Hutch

     Today's post was a little hurried because I spent a good portion of yesterday putting the last little pieces together for a new and different kind of woodworking resource: .Many of you who follow me on Twitter got the first notice of this new web site last night. For the rest of you I'll take a moment to explain. This 365 Project has, among many other things, shown to me that there are people out there who want to create their own designs but, for a few basic reasons, do not. There is no place for these people to go to get the confidence and learn the few simple steps to succeed at designing furniture. I felt a need to do what I could to help. This site is more than that though, because furniture design is more than just instruction, it's about inspiration. To that end the site is also a gallery for all work including professional designer/makers. It is my hope that this site will empower the unsure, bring the best out of the "pros" and elevated furniture design as a whole (lofty, yeah, but shoot for the stars right?). Read the " About"section of the site for more details.
     So, back to the design for today. My youngest daughter picked the category from the hat, and pulled Dining Room Cases. Having done a traditional sideboard on day 9 I decided to do a contemporary hutch today. This hutch follows the overall layout and proportions of a classic example with one exception: the upper case is connected to the lower via shared legs rather than as a separate case sitting on top of the lower. The upper doors feature glass panels for display while the bottoms are solid wood. I see this piece constructed in a single wood species. The wood should either be very straight grained but more likely quartersawn. As to light or dark wood, I could see it working in either.

The Good: I really do like the proportions and feel of this cabinet. The thing would be quite large, because hutches by nature are, but the leg system lightens the whole piece. Visually of course. This thing is still a beast.

The Bad: What is up with that perspective! That front leg looks all sorts of funky. It's a good thing for me this is a sketch and idea blog and not a gallery of fine works. Aside from that I'm not sure about the pulls. I like them, but would like to tweak them a little.


kweinert said...

It's almost like you have two different treatments for the front leg. The near one reverses the curve to come down "straight" and the far one continues the curve so it's a big swoop from top to bottom.

On a practical note (and this might not belong here): how would you do the front leg? Is it cut out of one big piece? steam bent? laminated? it depends? :)

And, since this is a design blog, I'm just curious how you decide which way the doors open when there's an odd number of doors. It just doesn't look balanced. Just me thinking out loud here: all open the same direction; remove the pulls, put finger groove in the bottom of the door.

I like the ratio of the drawers to each other, it looks "right" to me.

jamon schlimgen cabinetmaker said...

The outward curve of the leg was second to last detail I added and I kind of shows. The idea is to have the back leg splay out and the front to follow same curve but in a compound curve because of the overall leg curve. It my not work very well in real life, I'd have to plot it out. If it did work I think I would use bent lamination for the leg.
As to the upper door configuration I said here, here, here, done, scan. If I was not in such a hurry I would either open all the same way or swing the outer doors out and remove the center pull and use a spring release magnet on the inside. A routed finger groove would be best but would not work as I have drawn it, because the bottom of the cabinet flush with the front face of the doors (a detail that could be adapted).

kweinert said...

Ah, I missed that with the upper doors. It looked like a full overlay treatment.

Thanks for clarifying.

chris@flairwoodworks said...

I like the reversing curve of the nearest leg more than the opposite leg. To me, the two legs look like they are just tacked on as an afterthought - I think that I would build the legs right into the cabinets - the back legs would be the stiles and the front legs would split the panels and possibly curve forwards to join the upper rail of the top cabinet. I would omit the two rails/braces between the legs.

Regarding the three doors, I don't think it's so much a matter of which way they swing open, but more a matter of the symmetry when closed. So I think that if the pulls were centered along the bottom rail (which would probably still look odd) or, better yet, if the pulls were completely eliminated in favour of a push-to-open door or a routed finger recess, that would work better. As an interesting aside, I have a hutch with three doors up top. The side ones open outwards, as yours do, and the middle is a faux door.

Lastly, I don't think that the backsplash is adding anything.