Plans and Alternatives: George Nakashima and Industrial Chic

So for those of you fine individuals who have read my previous post describing a miniaturized Japanese garden I will have to break your most beautiful hearts. I’m veering away from this idea mostly because I don’t want to have a giant 4 square foot Japanese garden fountain thing in my house serving no greater purpose. As an alternative, I plan on keeping more closely with my first project and making a thing out of wood that will encourage me to read more; a bedside reading table. I decided on this because I want a table next to my bed upon which I can put the books I am currently reading or rather my kindle that I’m still not sure about. specifically, I want a double leveled small table with a movable reading light. I want the table to be small enough that I can only store a few books and not let it become a surface upon which to deposit my pocket refuse (i.e. lighters, receipts, rodent bones, brass knuckles) .

My primary inspiration for this table comes from the work of George Nakashima an american woodworker who uses cross section slabs of trees whose natural edges have not been machined away. I would ideally like to create a table much like this using circular cross sections of a tree to create the naturally round layers. I then ideally would like to use joinery to connect the levels to legs that I would also create by hand from wood.

low table by George Nakashima

As someone who has next to no woodworking experience this is a fairly daunting project and I am willing to make compromises mostly on the joinery and legs. If I find that processing the wooden slabs requires more time than initially planned I will replace the wooden legs with pipe legs giving the project more of an industrial chic aesthetic.

Image result for table with pipe legs diy round


Furthermore, I will also be including a movable light fixture that will be long enough to provide light to me from a more centralized location over my bed. I would like this part of the piece to be double jointed and hinged allowing full control of the arm. This I may make from scratch from copper pipe or I may also just buy a prefabricated lighting fixture and modify it to suit my needs

Image result for edison bulb floor lamp
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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Lehr
    April 9, 2020 4:16 pm

    Hey Miles,

    I think this is probably one of my favorite final projects it reminds me of my house because we always had huge trees that we would cut up and my dad would work on them and create things out of them. I think that implementing the light is sick especially because currently the old ‘yellow’ lights are currently in style in the world.

  • Davis Robertson
    March 1, 2020 10:34 pm

    Hi Miles,
    Ive always wanted to make a table like this so I’m excited to see how this one turns out! Have you figured out a place to source your wood from? A nice piece is going to cost a pretty penny so I wonder if theres anywhere to find a large log that you could cut. Also, I like the industrial aesthetic youre planning to add. Cant wait to see it.

  • Justin Engbrecht
    February 27, 2020 2:49 pm

    Hello Miles.

    This does look to be quite a daunting two-part task, but I’m sure you can follow through! I love the idea of incorporating the natural edges of a cross-section of a tree or log. Where do you plan to source such a piece of wood? Keeping the table small as you’ve suggested and the lamp minimalist while still achieving your functional goal of it being adjustable seems like it will serve you well moving forward.

    Best of luck with this project!


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