Tag Archives: Mid-Century Modern

Step-by_step Mid-century Modern Coffee Table Available Now

Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table Cover

My step-by-step video on building a coffee table in the style of Finn Juhl is now available on shopwoodwhorking.com.

The second video I shot at the Popular Woodworking shop in January is now available on DVD and download. Include with the step-by-step video is a cut list and pattern for the tapered leg.

I find the minimalist design quite appealing–I especially like the effect of the floating top and the juxtaposition of sharp angles and smooth curves. I’ve built it with a plywood top to be historically accurate, (that’s the approach documented on video, too), but I think there’s enough play in the metal pegs joining base and top that movement of a solid top wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I think a solid, vertical grain fur top over a cherry base could look good.


More Information

If you prefer your woodworking instruction via the printed word, this Juhl-inspired coffee table is also one of the step-by-step projects featured in Mid-Century Modern Furniture.

Building Techniques in Mid-Century Modern Furniture Video Now Available

Mid-Century Modern construction techniques cover

Building Techniques in Mid-Century Modern Furniture is now available at shopwoodwhorking.com

I spent the first week of January at the Popular Woodworking shop to shoot a couple of videos. The first, Building Techniques in Mid-Century Modern Furniture, is now available on shopwoodworking.com.

To help promote the launch of the video, I wrote “Five Lessons from Mid-Century Modern Furniture” for the PWM shop blog.

Mid-Century Production Design

Mid-Century living room

The Masters home from Masters Of Sex (Photo: Michael Wylie)

The AV Club recently featured an article on what it’s like to be a production designer. The interview subject, Michael Wylie, designed the sets for Masters of Sex. There’s not much on Mid-Century, but it was interesting to read about how Wylie used production design to help establish the personalities of Ben Masters and Virginia Johnson. In Johnsons’ case, the austere Mid-Century decor reflects a repressed personality.

Danish Modern Coffee Table

Danish Modern Coffee Table

A Danish Modern coffee table featuring inverted trestle legs and a suspended drawer.

This Danish Modern coffee table caught my eye while I waited in line to ship a package today. Especially interesting to me are the V-shaped trestle legs and the front on the suspended drawer. The drawer front features a basket weave pattern I don’t think I’ve seen before.

Drawer detail

The suspended drawer features a basket-weave front.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture available for pre-order

Mid-Century Modern book cover

My forthcoming book on Mid-Century Modern furniture is now available for pre-order.

Amazon now has a listing for my forthcoming book, Mid-Century Modern Furniture. While I’ve seen the insides of the book in their laid-out glory, this was my first look at the cover. I like it. You can click through to preview the table of contents and introduction on Amazon. In addition to dimensioned drawings, the book includes a historical overview of the period and step-by-step builds of variations on a coffee table by Finn Juhl and book case by Børge Mogensen. Selecting the pieces was a bit of challenge since my intent was to include interesting designs that could be recreated in the home shop, a constraints which eliminated a lot of fine work that relied on industrial processes for construction.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture is due out in June.

Mid-Century Credenza on George Gently

Mid-Century Sideboard

A Mid-Century sideboard occupies the left side of the frame in this scene from an episode of George Gently.

This Mid-Century sideboard caught my eye while we were watching “Gently With Honour” on Netlfix. Looks like four turned legs connected by minimal stretchers supports the overhanging case. An open compartment with shelves on the left and a closed cupboard on the right flank a central bank of drawers.

Mid-Century Room Divider–Finished

Mid-Century Modern display case

Call it a room divider or call it a display case, this piece has a delightful asymmetry.

Many dadoes and a few miters later, I finished the Mid-Century room divider. Oil, a few coats of shellac and some paste wax finish things off. Despite a frustrating assembly, the end result is fairly pleasing, and the basic concept–a case captured by two leg assemblies and divided by an asymmetrical grid of dividers–suggests possibilities for variations on the design.

Mid-Century Room Divider–Assembly Begins

Mid-Century Room Divider

Dadoes join the shelves and dividers of a Mid-Centruy Modern room divider/shelf by an unknown maker.

After what has been much procrastination and edgebanding of plywood, I’ve finally begun assembly of a Mid-Century Modern shelf. It’s an attractive design with simple joinery (read more about the design here), but there’s a lot of that joinery with eleven shelves to fit in the dividers and case pieces. Too, the design is a bit of a puzzle to assemble: normally I’d glue the case together first, then slide in the dividers and shelves. However, this design is has two show faces, so the dividers and shelves get assembled before being wrapped by the case pieces. I’m putting it together in stages, beginning with the left side and gluing a column of shelves together at a time. We’ll see how it goes.

Mid-Century Designers and Their Chairs

Mid-Century designers

George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom pose with their designs in a shot from the July, 1961 issue of Playboy. Image via The Selvedge Yard

In putting together a book on Mid-Century Modern Furniture, there were some materials I wanted to include but couldn’t for various reasons. One of the things I was most disappointed I couldn’t include was this image from the August, 1961 issue of Playboy. I especially like the Wormley and Risom chairs.