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Penguin Donkey

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Terryjb

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Has anyone ever made something similar to the Penguin Donkey bookcase and kept the plans?

Perhaps I am being a bit lazy as it is essentially very simple, but reinventing wheels does seem the ultimate waste of time.

isokon_donkey2_001.JPG
 

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That's an interesting bookcase. Have plans been issued for it? It doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to reverse engineer it. I imagine it's a few minutes worth for this one. Do you have any other photos?
 

Harbo

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Using the height of those old Penguins, must be quite easy to scale off the dimensions?

Rod
 

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I found dimensions for the one in the OP's photo. I think I could fairly easily create drawings for it from those and some other photos I found.
 

monkeybiter

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It looks more useful now, seeing the tops are horizontal. Just needs a little table top on it. :)
 

bugbear

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Ouch. I see that a "real one" lists for £410. I'm not surprised you want to make your own!

http://www.isokonplus.com/isokon_plus_price_list.pdf

The design shown is the Isokon Donkey 2, from 1963. The Original donkey design (1939) is bent plywood, and pretty unsuitable for making in one-off quantities.

A GIS for Isokon Donkey gives MANY images, which should suffice to reverse engineer the design.

BugBear
 

Alf

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Okay, someone point out what a numbskull I am, but why would I want to store my Penguin books on their sides like that? The Inner Librarian rebels. Other than that, I like it. 'Specially the earlier curvy design.
 

AndyT

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Alf":1hqwmvx0 said:
Okay, someone point out what a numbskull I am, but why would I want to store my Penguin books on their sides like that? The Inner Librarian rebels. Other than that, I like it. 'Specially the earlier curvy design.
Tsk tsk Alf; you're thinking of your books as useful things which store information or stories. These odd little curvy things are to impress visitors with your good taste in interior design. You will of course have to choose your books by the colour of the covers in future, not whether you are interested in the contents! :wink: :wink:

(But having said all that somewhat sarcastically, I happened across a Penguin 75th anniversary exhibition in our local Oxfam bookshop a while back, and it looked great. Really strong visual designs which have worn well.)
 

Alf

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See? I was a numbskull. D'oh! #-o

Actually I do love and appreciate the design aspect of the old Penguins very much - Edward Young really laid excellent groundwork for the brand. But, well, a book's a book, and the cover is famously not the important bit. :D
 

Eric The Viking

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I'm with you on the shape, Alf.

It's very elegant and form follows function well. The later ones just imitate the shape and the angular corners spoil it, IMHO. On a practical note, the original makes keeping newspapers tidy relatively easy, whereas the later one just wouldn't work as well.

The DC is a crossword addict (one of the main reasons we subscribe to Bristol Evening Post!), and by Saturday, we usually have newspapers all over the dining room in various stages of dismemberment. I think she'd love it, as, Penguins notwithstanding, the upper shelf would be ideal for pens pencils and scissors. It would be a big mould though, I guess, and I can see it's not really a one-off project.
Could you get the curves by kerf-cutting, or are they too tight a radius?

What do the team think about the legs on the original design? I see how they probably work (extension of the back of the shelves), but they wouldn't stand rough handling - too easily splintered or split. Might be an issue here!

E.
 

AndyT

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Eric The Viking":2e45bq0a said:
What do the team think about the legs on the original design? I see how they probably work (extension of the back of the shelves), but they wouldn't stand rough handling - too easily splintered or split. Might be an issue here!

E.
I see what you mean, Eric, they do look a bit like lolly sticks:



If you can't train your unruly household to be more respectful of your work, I suppose you could try just doubling or tripling the thickness of ply on the legs.
 

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Here's a model drawn to dimensions taken from an original of the MkII Penguin Donkey. Looks like a nice little piece to put next to my reading chair. It's really not very big.
 

marcros

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oh, it really is quite small. would look great in a childs corner, with a beanbag etc.
 

robgul

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I know this a very old thread but I'm thinking of trying to make one (the Mk 2 version with the white boxes) - has anyone ever found any plans? - or even created some? I would make it in 12mm birch ply and leave it unpainted with bare edges . . not authentic but it's a look that we like and will match a console table I made a few months ago.

It doesn't look too difficult - the tricky bit is knowing the angles for the cuts to create the boxes.

Back in the late 60s I bought one of the Mk2 version when they were being made by John Alan Designs in London, with a licence from Isokon.
 
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