Failure is always an option and often inevitable.

This blog exists because I ran into this poor old sot at last week’s auction:


Something not quite right here.


All four legs are present just not necessarily where you expect them to be.

We should explore some of the design flaws that led to the state of this poor table.

First, it has these small castors:


Castor – A pivoting roller attached to the bottom of furniture to allow it to be moved, not a hat made from the fur of the beaver.

The problem with castors is that upon seeing castors, people now expect furniture to roll. And it does after a fashion. These are not 50 mph casters and not even 2 mph castors. They seldom work well on a flat, even floor and not that well on irregular floors or carpets. The transition from hard floors to carpets or rugs even more problematic.

The next failure is a bad glue joint without any physical reinforcement. I am holding up the leg to show you where it is intended to be:


The leg broke off on the glue joint. The legs where just glued onto the center without dowel or spline or tenon for mechanical support.

And this is the joint:

IMG_4436 - Version 2

Bad glue joint or a bad repair of a failed glue joint? You decide.

Of course, even if the glue joint doesn’t fail, you are still working with a wood that Peter Follansbee loves for how cleanly and willingly it splits, oak.


Glue joint is fine, wood failure is imminent.

The fourth leg and glue joint seem firmly attached:


For now.

I am not claiming that all tables of this design will fail, I just saying you shouldn’t be surprised when they do.

I wonder if it arrived at the auction house like this or broke on site? And who bought it and for how much?