I was able to get back out into the shop and make some progress on this project. This was my first foray into template routing. I can definitely see the power of this technique. I was able to knock out the inside, decorative cuts on all four sides and they’re identical. They need almost no sanding. The slight errors in the template were the only problems on the finished sides. It took only a light hand sanding to fix those.
I didn’t have too much trouble with wood grain, but I can certainly tell you that you need to use the starting pin. Once I missed in and the pattern bit grabbed the work and destroyed one of my leg bases. I actually thought about trimming all of them off to get rid of the chip out.
The interior shelf started out as a template, but I biffed the template. I also realized that once you’ve custom fit the sides together, the interior shelf needs to be custom fit.
I also made the ridiculously easily-avoided mistake of attaching the template to the OUTSIDE of the blank. Now I have a few screw holes to fill. Luckily, I’ve been assembling the table with a good side and a bad side in mind. I’ve managed to keep MOST of my mistakes on the BAD side, which will be up against the wall (with feeling).
I bit the bullet and glued two halves together the other night. I used Titebond II Dark Wood Glue, hoping it would blend with the final Stickley finish. Since the sides are at supposed right angles, it’s very difficult to clamp. I used a lot of tape and figured if it was a tad over 90, I could bend it in when when doing the final glue up (they’re just a few degrees over 90). To disguise the joint, I rounded over the corner with 80 grit sand paper, which ended up leaving a pretty slim glue line. The little gaps I plan to fill with stainable putty.
I trimmed the inside shelf to what I thought was the proper dimensions. It has to carefully fill the tapered gap, but not force the sides apart, a rather tricky situation. Just a tad undersized, I figure that the dark stain and the fact that it’s on the inside will help.
With regards to the cross braces, as I previously blogged, I had them half-lapped already. Once I jammed the shelf and ratcheted in the top, I was able to take measurements of the top, and going down the height of the cross brace. This roughly corroborated the 3 degree angle on the table. I set my miter gauge to 3 degrees on both sides and plowed out a dado deep enough to take the sides in and fit in the gap down the centerline. I was able to wedge and hammer the cross brace in, which solidified the top nicely. Now if I can only fix the gaps in the feet and deal with the chip out, I’ll be happy.
BTW, a rep from Valspar has been very nice to help me find the proper aniline dye and glaze to achieve an authentic Stickley finish (short of ammonia fuming). I’ll be blogging about that as it develops. I realize that Stickley pieces have a relatively wide range of finishes, at least to the eye, but I’m looking for that warm, brown finish, with an undertone of red.
I have to give kudos to my father-in-law. He helped me threadlock my collet to the motor on my Hitachi M12V 3 1/4 HP router. He also made my router table extension for my table saw, which allowed me to mount it upside down and crank out the above blanks.
I have to tell anyone who is thinking about making a project like this that I’m still a little confused about the angle of the miter for the sides. Robert Lang says just over 45, and TreeFrog says just under 45. Considering my table saw only goes to 45, I didn’t really know how to take it. Dry fits on the long mitered taper don’t really help. It’s only when you glue it up do you really see what’s up. I erred on the side of bending it square and minimizing the outside gap at 43 degrees.
Attaching the template to the blank (top):
Attaching the template to the blank (bottom):
Done routing (top):
Done routing (bottom):
Dry fit with TreeFrog’s cross-braces (gaps are exaggerated due to dry fit):
-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails