Sewing Table #8: Done, Done, and Done.

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Blog entry by Blake posted 06-22-2008 09:00 AM 9579 reads 5 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Assembly at Last Part 8 of Sewing Table series no next part

This project is finished. Let me show you what I have been up to the last two days.


I trued up some stock on the jointer and planer out of Birch for the drawers:

And then made the half-blind dovetails on my Incra router table (first time I’ve done that… so sweet)

Assembled the drawers:

And glued them up:

Then I routed a stopped groove on the drawer sides:

This seemed to work just right for sanding the inside of the grooves:

Then I glued the “bead” around the drawers. It took me a while to get the angles right since I am working with a trapezoid. Those miters had to be tight. I used two part epoxy because I am gluing the bead to end grain on the sides. Also, I wanted to glue one section of bead at a time and the epoxy cures fast enough to make this practical.

Glue the top bead on one drawer, clamp. Glue the top bead on the other drawer, clamp. Then the first drawer’s glue is already hard and I can un-clamp and glue the next bead, clamp… etc.

It is a shame to cover up those dovetails:

Here is the “runner” for one of the drawers (it slides inside the groove on the side of the drawer). Notice the paper thin shims that I glued to the top of the runner to fine tune the drawer’s position and sliding action. I glued shims on as needed and then planed/sanded them down until it was perfect:

The finished drawer being fitted:

And believe me, it is a perfect fit (if I do say so myself…)

I gave the drawers a little peg on the inside so they don’t slide all the way out and fall on the floor:

And of course added the hardware:


I used biscuits to glue the two front pieces of the top to the main rear piece:

Here’s the glue-up. The top is not attached to the table yet. It is just a convinient place to work in my tiny shop:

To attach the top I made “buttons” in a series on my router table:

I also pre-drilled holes on the drill press and then cut them apart on the R.A.S.:

I used my palm router to make slots for the buttons on the inside of the apron:

These buttons will allow the wide top to expand and contract in changing moisture conditions over the next ten-thousand or so years (I expect this to last a few generations)

The buttons installed:

And finally the top is on!

I took it outside to use the router on the edges of the top. The hand-held router is one of the few power tools that is nearly impossible to use dust-free. I chose to use a panel raising bit that had a nice curve to it. I like the shape but most importantly it will allow the fabric to slide easily over the edge of the table:

I’ve got a lot of scraping and sanding to do. By the way, today has been a really strange day for Santa Cruz weather. We have had a heat wave (and a lot of fires) lately and today we are having thunder storms which is unusual for us. Just about the time I finished using the router The power started flickering and browning-out.

So I decided to shut down the main breaker and go no-juice for a while. It was really nice. Instead of blasting music and machinery noise I just listened to the thunder roll over the Santa Cruz mountains and a few fat raindrops on my corrogated fiberglass overhang. Then I got out my scraper and went to work. It was the perfect time to finish my project with hand tools.

Every time I use a jointer, planer, thickness sander, hand plane, scraper or random orbit sander, I make these pencil lines so I know when I have removed a complete and even layer of material…

I love scraper shavings:

And here is the last glimpse you are gonna get before I get a chance to take some formal photographs tomorrow. Then I’ll post it in Projects. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair if you got to see it before my mom does ;)

I spent several hours sanding, sanding, and sanding. Then I oiled it with boiled linseed oil and sanded some more with 600 grit automotive sand paper to make the top shine like glass. You can see your reflection in the top and the figure pops like a hologram. I’ll try to take pictures in a way that does it justice, but (teaser alert) you’ll have to wait.

Today is my mom’s birthday but tomorrow evening is the party. I have to work tomorrow which is why my deadline was tonight.

By the way, here is the original sewing table. This is the table that my great grandfather made for my grandma. My mom said that it is the only sewing table that she can work on without hurting her back because it is just the right height. So I based the vertical proportions on this table. It is very simple and made of pine and plywood. My mom said she wanted a sewing machine table ”just like that one, and it can be very simple… just make it out of pine and plywood.” Sorry mom, I tried to make it just like that one but I couldn’t…

I think this is just about the most fun I’ve ever had in woodworking. I think am more proud of this project than I’ve ever been of anything else I’ve ever made. This project represents a lot of firsts for me:

  • First full-sized piece of furniture
  • First time calculating board footage for a project
  • First mortise and tenon joinery
  • First time using the mortise machine
  • First tapered legs
  • First time using stock thicker than one inch
  • First project on a scale that requires some serious consideration of wood movement
  • First time making drawers
  • First time making dovetails on my Incra router table (I had only done box joints)
  • First time building a commissioned piece with a deadline
  • First time ever sanding something to 600 grit… what a trip, DAMN that’s smooth!

My wife just walked in and saw it completed for the first time. She is a little pissed that I am giving it away… ”I want one! I’m so jealous! That’s not fair!” I guess she likes it. She started giving me the design specifications for her table :)

Thanks to all of the LJ’s who have supported me, helped me, given me advice, let me call and ask questions when I was unsure, made comments and followed along with this blog. You know who you are.

Total Project Time: 55 hours… And done before the deadline!

Done, done, and done. Good night.

UPDATE: Here it is Finished:

Click for details

-- Happy woodworking!

35 comments so far

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#1 posted 06-22-2008 09:16 AM

That you were able to finish the piece in time for your mom’s party is truly remarkable. You put so much into this table in a relatively short period of time, and have turned out an outstanding piece of furniture! And to keep the blog up! Whew!~ You’ve got some energy! Awesome.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4090 days

#2 posted 06-22-2008 09:37 AM

WOW! Blake, this is truly and accomplishment on many levels. Congratulations on the completion and thanks for sharing the details of the journey even with a deadline hanging over you. I’m looking forward to the pics of the table with its finish. Love the bead on the drawers too.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 06-22-2008 11:29 AM

Very impressed with the adaptation of the original design, the overall construction, overcomming and adapting the problems encountered. I really look forward to seeing the final finished piece with the hardware attached.

A great piece of work, one to be proud of.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3935 days

#4 posted 06-22-2008 12:37 PM

That’s a very nice piece of furniture and a downright impressive list of firsts. Very well done.

-- Working at Woodworking

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#5 posted 06-22-2008 12:43 PM

That’s a lot for firsts, Blake.

I think you did an outstanding job!

Your mom will enjoy it for a long time!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 06-22-2008 12:47 PM

Wow! Excellent job! Thanks for the post, it was like I was there! No, if I was there I would have gave you a hand and it would have taken 56 hours! :)

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 3726 days

#7 posted 06-22-2008 01:09 PM

Beautiful Blake!

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3829 days

#8 posted 06-22-2008 01:21 PM

For all those firsts, it came-out exceptionally well. Nice work!

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#9 posted 06-22-2008 01:29 PM

Good job, Blake. I knew that you could do it. Thanks for allowing us to tag along on this one. It was enjoyable being able to see the project develop and take shape. You did a wonderful job on the table and I am sure your mother will love it.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3871 days

#10 posted 06-22-2008 02:32 PM

GREAT execution, Blake!

And what a wonderful way to honor Great-Grandpa. You are right – several generations from now, people will be saying “THIS one has been around a LONG time!”

Thanks for taking us on this journey. I loved it.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4050 days

#11 posted 06-22-2008 02:38 PM

Well Blake, looks like you’ll just have to build one for the wife. You gotta keep the boss happy. That’s one awesome sewing table! Great work, design and excecution!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View bhack's profile


349 posts in 3717 days

#12 posted 06-22-2008 03:13 PM

Well done Blake. Lots of energy went into this cabinet. You should be very proud of it. Be sure to sign and date it for the next generation.

-- Bill - If I knew GRANDKIDS were so much fun I would have had them first.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3763 days

#13 posted 06-22-2008 03:22 PM

Great tutorial Blake! I have enjoyed following along. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4086 days

#14 posted 06-22-2008 03:39 PM

I am impressed. You are brave man running those drawers the first time. Did you use any scrap first?

Also, the beading turned out great. I wasn’t sure how it would look. Can’t wait to see it with finish.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3765 days

#15 posted 06-22-2008 03:56 PM

very impressive! isn’t it great to have the job finally finished! thanks for the post

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