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Teak Sofa for Ed...  by Mark Singer

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Well, a while ago I mentioned that my friend Ed ordered a sofa...

The lumber came today and it is about 150 bf of Burmese Teak... here goes my knives!  It is in the rough and looks like beautiful wood!  Straight, dry and plane sliced with some cathedrals ...but mostly straight grained.

It is running $15 a BF and was a special order from an old friend of Ed's , Paul Badger, master window and door maker.  Ed is a fellow Architect and really liked the Schindler sofa designed for the Kings Road House. 

This is a linear design and is not all that comfortable. I am making some design changes to improve the joinery....eliminate the awkward miters and try to make it a little more comfortable...  I asked him to design something and I would build it... I even designed a more organic, raked sofa...but, this is what Ed wanted...

Design by my friend Ed.

Q.  Why, oh why, would anyone knowingly create an uncomfortable sofa?

Q.  WAY deep! Is the recipient an, um...large stature person with very long upper legs? Or do they prefer sitting with their legs curled under them? (The reason kids are fine with day-beds)  I'm looking forward to this project, Mark. Maybe some "electronic prototypes" in SketchUp! might be in order to sift through the possibilities for the ideas you have to work with the design while still improving on it functionally. You, after-all, have an expert available! (And she's really good at it...)

I met with Ed and I have revised the design for more comfort...  Here is what I propose.

On this type of sofa extra cushions will change the depth and comfort... The extra depth will allow it to be used as a sleeper also.  You can lift your legs up and support the entire leg on the sofa which is comfortable.  I can't rake the seat since the design is in keeping the horizontal elements parallel to the ground.  It is proportionately a lot like the sofa I made which we use daily and is very comfortable... see the insert below.

My sofa and thoughts on joinery

In reading John Piwaron question about "loose tenon" vs. normal tenon joinery. 

I think there are times where each is the best choice.  In the attached photos of a recent Padauk sofa I made, I used both methods.  The back support was way too large to run through the tenoning jig and while I could have cut the tenon with a tenon saw or router, it was more accurate to make 1 jig for 2 tenons and move it from the backrest to the sides (arms).

The legs and the stretchers I made in the traditional fashion, where the tenon is an integral part of the stretcher.  In both cases it resulted in tight clean joints of equal strength. 

One photo shows the jigs used for loose tenon construction and a piece of tenon stock which I made on the router table to match the radius of the mortise. (as Jim Becker stated) 

In my visits to Sam Maloof's studio or my friend and master woodworker Randy Bader, I saw their walls cover with templates. The templates allow them to quickly duplicate or modify previous designs.  They have refined these over the years to improve on already great work. 

All of this falls well within the realm of fine woodworking.

The joinery will be a mix...  mortise and tenon for most joints.  Hand cut dovetails on the double arms... - 4 total.  Splines for arm splices... loose tenons for splices.  It is nice to have hand and machine joinery options.


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