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World's lightest timber table lands in London
British industrial designer, Benjamin Hubert has created "the world’s lightest timber table"
British industrial designer Benjamin Hubert has created what is claimed to be the world’s lightest timber table. Dubbed Ripple, the two and half meter (8.2 ft) long table is made from 0.8mm (0.03 inch) thick Canadian Spruce aircraft plywood and weighs in at an incredible 9 kilograms (approx. 20 pounds).
In collaboration with Canadian manufacturer Corelam, Hubert adopted a new production technique that corrugates the plywood through pressure lamination. This technique allowed Hubert to create a strong and sturdy table that uses up to 80 percent less material than most wooden tables and is light enough to be moved around by one person.
"Ripple is made entirely from 3 ply 0.8mm birch aircraft plywood, a timber sourced only in Canada, where the table is manufactured," says Hubert. "The material is the same as that used in construction of the Hughes H-4 Hercules – popularly known as the “Spruce Goose” – the world’s largest all timber airplane."
The table is available to be purchased by commissioned orders only, with prices yet to be announced.
Source: Benjamin Hubert, Corelam via Designboom
Images: © benjamin hubert
About the Author
Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.
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It's a nice exercise in design/engineering, but practicality wasn't a major concern here. While I'm sure it's strong enough to stand up to light use, the thin plywood will crack or dent as soon as it meets a hard corner or edge with a little force. The light weight means that this thing will constantly be nudged around by accident.
Siegfried has it exactly right. We appear to be living in an age where one designer after another takes a look at a long-proven design, fails to recognise half of the reasons why it is as it is, and invents something half as good as an 'improvement'.
We have 'phone buttons too small and close together for anyone except young women and children to use, chairs designed only for people with very long thighs, top-heavy tumblers and mugs, and now a table which will move a foot sideways as soon as even a toddler bumps into it, causing every spillable thing on it to do so.
Sure, this will work just fine for the makers who will cut their costs by that 'up to 80%', but the droves who will buy it because the telly tells them to will spend a lot of time cleaning new messes.
I really wish that designers would spend a bit more time thinking things through and a lot less time playing with AutoCAD.
Aircraft plywood is very expensive, so this will be an expensive, light-weight, flimsy table. This kind of furniture is needed when zeppelins come back in style for transportation.
That corrugated plywood might be a god send. Imagine foam filling the voids in the corrugation and the lite weight walls that could be created for campers, tiny homes or even boats. The catch would be the price of the plywood. The idea has merit but the execution may have price issues.
As it is so thin, why on earth does it weigh so much? I would have guessed about 2 KG max. It might be economical on material, but probably expensive to produce. As it is 3 ply, each layer must be paper thin, so you could practically use corrugated cardboard!
I could see making toy furniture for doll houses out of this material but little else.
From the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum's website (home to the Spruce Goose).
"Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Nevertheless, the press insisted on calling it the “Spruce Goose” despite the fact that the plane is made almost entirely of birch."
Despite the shortcomings of the table the aesthetics of wood are without equal.
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