I enjoy canoeing in the backcountry. A few days in solitude can work wonders on my outlook. One route we used to take was a loop that crossed a small pond called Echo Lake. It was close to the starting point so you could catch it going out or at the end of a trip coming back in. As you can imagine by the name, the water was smooth as glass with towering cliffs on each shore causing the slightest sound to reverberate back and forth. If you passed through at the beginning of the trip with a gang of rowdy teenagers the effect was sort of like going through a funhouse at a carnival. On the other hand if you saved echo until the end of a trip, and allowed the stillness of the wilderness to work its magic on your soul, the lake could be sublime. I’ve sat for twenty minutes just trying to be as quiet as possible. Listening to a lone warbler song fold back on itself and becoming a chorus of sound, or just snapping my fingers and straining to hear how many times it doubles back.
I was working up some sketches for an upcoming article for my Design Matters column in Popular Woodworking Magazine when I noticed something obvious that had somehow escaped me. Maybe I was looking at it with a bunch of rowdy teenagers the first few times. This sideboard viewed from the front has a gentle curve in the center apron. The radius of that curve is the same length as the length of the leg from the carcass to the floor. Simple and elegant. Now look at the shape of the top. Can you see the echo?
I see this often in period work, many times a gentle curve repeats or folds back on itself. It can be accomplished in many ways sometimes very quietly. Note to self: slow down, be still, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you see.