50's Inspired Sideboard With Integral Bowl




Introduction: 50's Inspired Sideboard With Integral Bowl

This instructable comes from looking at a turned fruit bowl and thinking it would be great if it was part of the table it was on.

I had just finished my last instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Strip-Table-in-oak-and-walnut/  and so decided another table was too much and I had no where to put it.

The design uses the timber to create a form not usually seen in timber it is more like a plastic in that the bowl element appears vac formed in to the top surface of the piece.

I have attached a sketchup model of the sideboard. There are 2 models a visual model and an exploded model where each component can be examined seperately.

If you down load the models have a good look at them to see how the design works.

If you like it this is entered in the woodworking challenge and the make it real challenge contests so please vote!!!

Step 1: Turn the Bowl

Wood turning.

The turning for the bowl has too difficult elements to it - the first is that you will be leaving a square edge - the second is that you will be turning both sides of the bowl seperately.

A lathe and a bandsaw. ( a flat bed circular saw is useful but not essential) a sander and some sash clamps.

I have started with turning the bowl as I think it is the hardest part of the build and if you cant get it right it will save wasting time and materials on the rest of it.

Be careful you are turning a large piece of wood. Set the lathe to the slowest speed. take tiny nibbles out of the surface until you are down to the round. Dont catch your knuckles on the spinning square edge it really hurts!

You will need to glue up a block of timber 260mm x 260mm x 80mm. Mine was made from 13no 260mm x 80mm x 20mm strips. let it dry overnight check the instructions on the glue to see how long it needs to cure. I have only had one piece of wood ever come apart on me it had its own blast radius and I was wearing a full face mask - it was glued together in a rush need I say more...

Make 2 card templates one for the inside of the bowl and one for the outside of the bowl these will allow you to measure the curves you are turning. see pic

Rough out the inside of the bowl and then using your card template you can copy the profile onto the bowl surface by turning a bit and then offering up the template then turning a bit more.

Once you have turned the inside of the bowl remove it from the mounting plate. You will need to make up a mount ( i used some scrap mdf) to re attach the mounting plate to the turned side of your block (see pic)

Turn the other side, this is where you will really need your template it will stop you going all the way through the bowl.

Take your time and sand both sides of the bowl on the lathe as its so much easier than taking it off and trying to sand it by hand.

**** Correction****

Ok so after turning the first bowl (shown in the picture) I decided it didnt fit with the wider strips of the rest of the design so I started again and glued up a new block from 4 pieces 260mm x 65mm x 80mm to make a block 260 x 260 x 80

Step 2: Make the Corners

Cut 24 pieces 60mm x 80 mm x 22mm (The timber I was cutting was 22mm thick)

Make up 8 blocks 60mm x 80mm x 66mm sand it back to 65mm.

Repeat with 24 pieces 100mm x 80mm x 22mm + make up another 8 blocks.

The 60 x 80 blocks make up the radiuses on the top surface the 80 x 100 blocks make up the radiuses for the bottom surface.

If you mark up each block using the measurements on the sketchup model then cut on a bandsaw. if you dont have access to a bandsaw you could cut each piece with a jigsaw before gluing the blocks together.

If you can sand all the curves inside and out this will make life so much easier later. (I didnt and spent hours sanding the inside of the curves after the piece was assembled.)

Step 3: Constructing the Top

Cut the rest of the pieces required for the top.

4 no 820mm x 65mm x 22mm these make up the base
2 no 540mm x 65mm x 22mm long top section
2 no 560mm x 65mm x 22mm long top section
2 no 60mm x 65mm x 22mm short top section
2 no 40mm x 65mm x 22mm short top section
8 no 140mm x 65mm x 22mm upright sections

Once all the components are cut lay them out on a flat surface. I coded each piece with a number and a mark for which component attached to which. for example I drew a circle over all the joints on one section so I knew which section they were from and also where they aligned to the next piece.

I then sanded each piece as required to ensure a flush fit.

Step 4: Constructing the Top 2

Using a set of clamps sash together the top bottom and sides the components are staggered to create a big tenon joint.

Sash together the corners again these are staggered alternately to create the other side of the tenon joint,

To complete the top you will need to sash the bowl with the 2 end sections of the top. I found it easiest to attach the short section first using the clamps then I laid the long top section and the bowl with the now attached shorter section on a flat surface. If you have the same size clamps that I used you will find that there is nothing to grip to hold the components together whilst drying, so I tacked a couple of blocks on each side of the joint to provide purchase.

Step 5:

the final step of the top is to add the edges to it these will cover up the numerous joints which are visible in profile. leaving just a few sensible ones.

Step 6:

SAND sand Sand Sand 

Basically sand it all over smooth joints equal big smiles! 

Step 7:


the legs are made in 3 pieces 2 legs and a cross piece I put a screw through the top of each cross piece into the leg. You need to make two of these which are going to fix together in a cross at the top.

once you have each piece made up .....

...Sand sand sand!

Step 8:

As i pointed out in step 3 its easier to sand the inside of the corners before you put it together. I never did get them as smooth as I would like so I decided to paint the inside. Nice Farrow & Ball colour 'string' I think?

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm really diggin this. nice clean lines and simplicity.
    In reading the desciption it doesn't sound like the painted inside was the original plan but i really like that. its a nice modern touch to the mid centruy modern style.

    my only comment would be the legs. they don't seem as polished and refined as the top.
    One idea is to round over the edges. Ideally if you could use a larger bit so that as the legs tapered the rounded edges would merge and become a post leg. another thought is to paint/finish the legs so that contrasts with the top. Black is my first thought but that may be to harsh. a darker stain that contrasts with the top would work or you could use the white of the interior. having some contrast would really make the top pop out that much more.

    hopefully my desciption makes sense.
    I'm not criticising. I really dig this. just thinking out loud.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for your comment, my original design had turned legs that were fatter in the middle but I then went for the design I went for. to be honest it was headache enough getting these level but then another level of detail would be cool.

    When I have a better workshop (read as 'a workshop') I will revisit these and post the results.

    I think the whole piece would be better in a finer grained wood, the spalted elm looks great but is a real pain to work with you just get it looking about right and a big chunk flies off.

    Im looking at farming out some of the manufacture next time I really love the explosion in rapid fabrication that is available have you seen this

    if i was lucky enough to win the laser cutter I might set up the first 'Yorkshire Chapter' of 100k.

    btw which architect do you work for? I work for Buro Happold and I used to work for architects www.zedfactory.com

    Mr Chutney
    Mr Chutney

    10 years ago on Introduction

    What a beautiful piece of carpentry! I absolutely love the flared legs and bowl recess. Amazing


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love this work. thanks. u've my vote! ;)