A friend of mine at work has a chocolate lab, Jack, he comes to our office everyday and has become a sort of mascot for our company. Last Feburary Jack was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis which caused tremors, difficult breathing, excessive salivation, fatigue, and frequent gagging and choking. For the first 5 months he had to be sit in a Bailey Chair for vertical feeding to prevent pnemonia and Megaesophagus. Luckily, Jack’s disorder has gone into remission and is getting back to himself again after much treatment. He no longer has to feed in the Bailey Chair but still has to eat and drink without bending down.
For the past month or two he has been eating with his dog bowl on buckets to keep them elevated. I was asked to building him a table to hold the dog bowls with the only guidence being a Wenge board picked up at Peach State Lumber. The simple thing to do would be just to add a few legs and call it quits but I can never seem to make things simple…
I have been playing around with design on a hall table that is influenced by George Nakashima’s work. The dog bowl table seemed to be the prefect project to use as a model so after playing around with a few ideas in my head, I came up with the design I wanted. The main element that I wanted in the table was for the legs to extend over the lower and upper supports and to used some left over Maple from my bench build. To accomplish this I used a bridle joint instead of a typical mortice and tenon joint I would normally choose on a trestle style table. One of the things I enjoyed most about this project was that I did no drawings or sketches, just two dog bowls and the Wenge board. So the design was off-the-cuff and based on the joinery and reletive deminsioning.
Once the base was complete, I was concerned that the top would not be strong enough with the large holes cut out for the bowls and because of the stockier base construction the top would look to thin. I decided to add a frame around the top for support and to give it the added thickness. The banding was constructed basicaly in a raised panel type construction with a dado cut in the middle of the frame rails, the corners mitered and splines installed. I glued the front edge of the top to the frame to keep it from moving but allowed the rest to float for expansion.
I brought the table to work today, owner and Jack loved the table.
Be safe, learn something, and have fun!