2 Haynes Coffee Tables / Construction

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RJH
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2 Haynes Coffee Tables / Construction

Post by RJH »

This morning dad and I started building 2 new Haynes coffee tables. We built the first 2 coffee tables as prototypes and plan to sell these to recover expenses. They came out okay. But, they bothered both my father and I since the veneer was Cypress rotary cut versus the quarter sawn Cypress veneer that was used throughout the house. So, we are redoing them.



I thought it would be interesting to keep track of costs to give folks an idea of labor and materials involved in building

LikaComet
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Post by LikaComet »

Are there any plans drawn up for your tables?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

A set of measured drawings of a genuine Wright design would obviously be worth some money to a prospective maker. Perhaps RJH and company can recoup a little of their expenses by making these available ?



SDR

RJH
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Post by RJH »

Yes, I have exact full sized drawings. They are stamped

SpringGreen
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So, roughly

Post by SpringGreen »

With 15% complete on 2 tables, you (or you and your dad) will have to do about 6.67 times more work to get them complete. That means, in labor per table, you're looking at about $534 ($40/hour x 6.67, then divide by 2).



When the materials are added to the total cost of labor, it would be $1,322.20 for 2 tables. Divided by 2=$661.10 per table.



I hope I have that right. I am only using percentages and multiplying and dividing after all. I'm sure you'll figure it out at the end, if you haven't already. I'm just trying to get my bearings.



Still, those are nice tables (cypress, too). Personally, I'd never pay $661 for a nice table anyone could buy at a typical commercial place, although I know others who would. Different strokes for different folks.



It will be nice to see the completed product. Good luck!
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

SDR
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Post by SDR »

$661 is less than half of what one could expect to pay for a low-production high-design end table, or a hand-made artisan ditto, at any reputable gallery or dealer. Of course, such a dealer has marked up the merchandise +- 100% from the wholesale price.



Yes you can buy a perfectly servicable end table for less than $100 -- but not one that belongs in the Haynes house !



Face grain that doesn't quite line up (see drawer fronts on earlier Haynes piece) should be discounted, however ! :oops:



SDR

RJH
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Post by RJH »

SpringGreen, I think you might be correct. I will be posting progress, photos and any information pertaining to building the designs on chat as we move forward. I am only doing this to answer the age-old question of

RJH
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Post by RJH »

SDR, Are you referring to this pic http://flickr.com/photos/36675938@N00/415565150/ where you said

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Quite so. I think you probably did the right thing. It appeared that the offset was greater than what was seen at the edges of the drawer fronts, but I was obviously wrong. Having made and used both kinds of slides myself, I can appreciate what you were dealing with ! (I find hard maple, waxed with parrafin, to be a reliable hardwood slide, but they can still be troublesome if not made and kept perfectly straight.)



On the matter of rift vs plain-sliced or rotary grain, I would have expected Wright to use solid plain-sliced wood for furniture, as I'd be very surprised to learn that cypress plywood was being made then. While rift-cut is usually preferred by architects (for its more controlled and repetitive appearance, presumably), the wood that Wright called "eternal," the solid cypress boards used in the houses, would always have had the active grain found in plain-sliced ("flat-sawn") lumber.



Did he specify rift-sawn boards and/ or plywood for the Haynes house pieces ?



SDR

RJH
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Post by RJH »

The tightness and tolerance of the drawers were the best we can get them considering they had to easily slide out. Frankly, they were much better construction then some of the original furniture due to modern technology. The Haynes builder did a great job considering it was 55 years ago.



Wright only specified quarter sawn cypress veneer for the kitchen cabinets and entertainment center in the working drawings. Wright didn

SpringGreen
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Reply to RJH

Post by SpringGreen »

Ah, yes, I should mention that I'm cheap as all get out, so not purchasing tables at $661 per table is a notation of my cheapness. Or poorness, whichever one fits.



Sounds like you're getting a pretty good deal for the materials used, and the design, of course. You pay for it in labor, but if you and your dad know what your doing, that is a compensation. I know someone who built one of the column lamps that came from Taliesin for less than $50 worth of materials. He never went into the time involved, which probably jacked the price up considerably.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, RJH -- that clears my mind about some of these issues.



It would be interesting to pursue the changes in specification as the Usonians evolved from pre-war to post-war, with different materials (wood, hardware, etc) coming into or out of use. If raw veneers were available, then presumably they could be laid up on custom panels for specific uses, as is still done today. (In a large remodel we are part of at present, one section of the work is being made of stock available rift white oak on MDF, with enough sequenced panels found in a typical unit to satisfy the need for grain-matched panels. Another part is being laid up from selected veneers, because some of the panels in the sequence are 1 3/4" slab doors. The end result is indistinguishable.)



I like your definition of the three-man team responsible for these houses. To a greater or lesser extent, this must be true of all worthy architectural accomplishments, I suppose. But it well explains the reason for differences in the various FLW examples. . .



Right, SG, material cost alone is an incomplete measure of the price !



SDR

RJH
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Post by RJH »

SDR, One comment on your project using MDF. I would completely stay away from that stuff. The previous owner used it in Haynes in a small part of the workspace. It actually sags over time depending how it is used. In my case, it was used horizontally like a small countertop covered in veneer. MDF is cheap modern day material but I wouldn

RJH
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Post by RJH »

Today

MHOLUBAR
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Post by MHOLUBAR »

Now you are talking about projects that I understand. As many of these specialty plywood projects I have taken on, they all turn into a labor of love, as there is no way to recover the labor costs. It just turns into my long term hobby, or addiction, however you choose to characterize it.

As a child I helped my father tend to the rail spurs of Algoma Plywood, a specialty plywood producer from central Wisconsin that would custom fabricate and ship worlwide. It was an old company then so i'm sure if cypress plywood was desired it could be purchased from them. Here in Oberlin, we had cases in the Museum, constructed in the 30's, of red gum plywood from Algoma. I believe they even shipped some of the marine grade walnut plywood to Fallingwater. Too bad that they're no longer in business.
mholubar

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