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Thread: How would you build this curved side...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    How would you build this curved side...

    Hey folks,

    I'm playing about with different ideas for a dresser for my daughter (age 11).
    While looking around for ideas, I came across the weird and wacky stuff over at Straight Line Designs. Now, I think some of that stuff is a bit too over the top for my tastes. But it is a source of some wild ideas.

    So I doodled up this idea for a curvy dresser:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The basic guts of the dresser would be fairly normal rectangular construction, which simplifies things greatly. But the curved sides would still add some whimsy and visual interest.

    (And yes, Dave Richards, I tried to properly orient the grain, but for some reason I cannot get the "texture" sub-menu to appear when I'm clicking on a curved face. Somewhere I need to find some better grain images too. I think I have some good ones, but then I start working and I just think how fake it looks. Not to mention Dave tossing up all that gorgeous quilted cherry on his table! But I digress... )

    So I'm thinking of how best to make those curved sides. This is what I've hit on so far:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That is a close up of the top of the right side. The front (and back) legs would be a 1" piece of stock. I cut a curve on it, and then rabbet the curve to receive a 1/4" piece of veneer plywood. On the inside (top left of the image) is just a flat piece of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, which gives me a flat surface for mounting the drawers anyway I want.

    Here, in case you're confused I took two images with just basic colours indicating the 3 different pieces:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Do you think 1/4" hardwood plywood would flex enough for this? I would think so. I could swap with 1/8" ply, but then I think I'd want some sort of backing support, either another 1/8" sheet or something else.

    I also think it would look nice to have the sides and front faces of this blend as much as possible. I figure that a strong chamfer on the edge would go a fair way to blending the front into the side and hiding the seam. (and no, I didn't put a chamfer in the sketch.) Got any better suggestions? Connecting the plywood to the leg at a miter, for instance, seems to me to be a risky option.

    Here's a view showing the front leg of the side structure hidden:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a view of the underneath of the side structure:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I would need to come up with something to fill in that triangular gap where the feet meet the floor.

    Comments welcome. Note that this is for me right now a mental exercise, and some sketchup practice. I might just end up building her a mission type dresser. So please don't ask for progress photos!!!
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    1/4" ply would work art. and you could do the corners in solid wood which would eliminate the triangle trouble.. the inner area could be ribbed to the varied thickness needed..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    SE Minnesota
    Art, I think you're onto the method. It would essentially be like a torsion box or perhaps an airplane wing. Use solid wood at the bottom, sides and top. Although the bottom wouldn't be seen, I would be inclined to hide the edge of the plywood there more for wear protection than anything else. Since the top edge will be hidden by the dresser top, leave the plywood slightly long and start from the bottom. Trim it to length after the glue has cured.

    I would be inclined to fill the sides with foam or fiberglass batting so they don't sound like the hollow boxes they are.

    As to the material orientation in SketchUp, turn on Hidden Geometry under View. Then right click on one of the small faces and rotate the texture. turn off Hidden Geometry, get the paint bucket tool, hold Alt on PC or Command on Mac to get the eye dropper. Sample the rotated material. Let go of the key and the tool will revert to the bucket. Click again and the material over the whole length of the curve will get rotated. Of course this requires that you applied the material to the surface and not to the component/group. Sounds harder than it is.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    falcon heights, minnesota
    plywood would work, or you could go the same route as a strip plank canoe.
    benedictione omnes bene

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