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Blog series by CaptainSkully updated 09-02-2010 04:21 PM 21 parts 42263 reads 75 comments total

Part 1: Test Drive

07-03-2009 07:15 PM by CaptainSkully | 0 comments »

The first installment of this blog is here due to LJ blogging technical issues… To make sure the dimensions are correct for our new table, we decided to do a little test drive. It didn’t hurt that we’re having eight people over for a Fourth of July BBQ. We ran over to the big box store and bought a sheet of particle board for $29. When we got it home, I cut it down to 45” x 72”, the finished dimensions of the table top. After I sanded it and eased the edge...

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Part 2: Template Adjustment

07-15-2009 06:25 AM by CaptainSkully | 1 comment »

So, we decided that 72” was a bit overpowering. I yanked the pseudo-top out into the garage and cut a foot off, and then to preserve the Golden Ratio (we just watched a documentary about the Parthenon), cut the width down to 37”. This size is much better, and is more amenable to placing a Limbert Lamp Table or sideboard in the dining area. It seats six comfortably instead of eight, but we’d rather setup another table or TV trays instead of having a monolithic table 24/7. ...

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Part 3: Rationalized Need

07-22-2009 06:04 PM by CaptainSkully | 0 comments »

After working in the Valley for a couple of weeks, I decided to spend some of my harder than I thought earned money to get a mortising machine. I settled on the DELTA 14-651 because of its Amazon reviews and price point ($289). I would’ve loved to get the Powermatic, but that would’ve taken another year to justify ($480). I rationalized that with all of the mortises that I’ll need for the dining room table, that this additional expense will pay itself off on this on...

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Part 4: Change of Plans?

08-09-2009 07:59 AM by CaptainSkully | 3 comments »

Thanks in large part to WhatTheChuck, I’m giving serious thought to changing the design of the underbody of the table. With all due respect to Schroeder's table, which I prefer the looks of in many ways, I think the lack of a footrest underneath is a good thing, and the spindles underneath are magnificent, yet kind of a waste of time, energy, effort, and lumber as they’ll be hidden by chairs. I think the trestle-style design might be more pragmatic, and still embody the simplici...

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Part 5: Slight Change of Plans

08-19-2009 10:54 PM by CaptainSkully | 5 comments »

Just a short update. While surfing plans, as I am wont to do, I stumbled across these trestle table plans. I didn’t give much thought to it, as it’s a bit too modern for me, but when I looked at the detailed preview, I saw something quite interesting. The plans include a leaf extension system that will work perfectly with my oversized breadboard ends. This means that I can make a table that seats six and with just a bit more work, seat eight.

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Part 6: The Hard Part

09-08-2009 11:30 PM by CaptainSkully | 3 comments »

So, today I ran over to Plywood & Lumber Sales in Oakland, CA and purchased about 100 board feet of quartersawn white oak. I finally have enough lumber to do the dining table. I’m going to start with the top and get that finished so I can bring it into the dining room and set it on top of my old table. This will get rid of the MDF table top we’ve been using for months. It’ll also let me use the MDF for more important things like jigs. I also abhor the tablecloth we&...

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Part 7: I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...

01-07-2010 09:09 AM by CaptainSkully | 5 comments »

When I bought the $500 worth of quartersawn white oak a few months ago, I promised my girlfriend that I’d make a dining table for Thanksgiving. We had to run down to the Caribbean for a business trip over Turkey Day (don’t cry for me), so we fried a turkey the weekend before. Long story short, Christmas and New Years came and went and we’re still serving it up on the MDF mock up. Sigh… I found an unexpected week off between sailing lessons (I’ve got 20 days w...

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Part 8: Welcome to the Big Top

01-09-2010 02:44 AM by CaptainSkully | 0 comments »

So, I decided to go with the Kevin Rodel Taliesin desk design as my table base. This involved a couple of hours of laying out. I had to account for leg room on the overhangs at the ends, I had to account for chair room on the long sides, I wanted 4” x 4” legs to balance the 3 3/4” breadboard ends, decent overhang on the sides, and this all had to miss the crap I’d already glued to the bottom of the table to make the sliders work. Whew! Like I said, it took several ...

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Part 9: My New Stickley Finish!

01-09-2010 02:57 AM by CaptainSkully | 5 comments »

So I followed the recipe I synthesized for the pagoda tile frame and applied it to the top and breadboard ends. It turned out amazing! It looks like something right out of an antique store. Here’s the progression:..^ TransTint “Dark Mission Brown” aniline dye in isopropyl alcohol only (with flash on = more red)...^ Same with flash off (see how muddy it looks)..^ One coat of Zinser amber shellac (1 pound cut). Man shellac is a pain to work with. Once you paint it on, th...

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Part 10: Make Like a Tree & Leaves

01-12-2010 02:19 AM by CaptainSkully | 2 comments »

I was able to successfully refinish my boo boos on the breadboard ends. I also sanded the leaves and finished them at the same time. The ends had a bit more stain to start with (from the previous finish), but they both came out looking great. I’m really glad I learned my lesson on shellac. BTW, it did a bit of redistributing of the aniline dye, so I had to quickly blend/tip it before it got tacky. I missed a couple of spots on one leaf but was able to blend it in with the gel stain...

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Part 11: Next Step...

01-28-2010 07:33 PM by CaptainSkully | 6 comments »

So, the new top is in daily use. I put seven or eight coats of Bristol Finish water-based polyurethane on it. It’s a marine varnish for boat interiors, which I used on my old table, and it’s pretty impervious. No coasters required! It’s still sitting on top of the mock-up MDF and the old table, so it’s pretty high. I was going to start on the Rodel Taliesin base next, but since I made the leaves, I don’t have enough lumber to make the base, or the mone...

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Part 12: Rodel Chair Layout

01-29-2010 02:33 AM by CaptainSkully | 4 comments »

So I took a few minutes to draw this up in AutoCAD (sorry I’m not up to speed in SketchUp yet). The only dimension I had to assume were the front-to-back rails that intersect the middle of the chair back. I went with 3” because that’s what looked to scale, and gave room for a proper radius. I could’ve sprung for the $20 full-sized plans, but what’s the fun in that? The reason I drew this out is because the back is defined by a 7 degree angle. I thought it w...

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Part 13: It's All About the Template...

01-30-2010 02:13 AM by CaptainSkully | 3 comments »

So today, I cleaned up the shop a bit and started on the template to make the back legs. Based on my AutoCAD drawing, I laid it out on some 1/4” masonite (hardboard). I even remembered to make it longer to affix the ends together. I cut it out and faired it as best I could. It’s almost perfect (you can spot 1/1000” off) when sighting down it. It looks pretty darn good from the side. I then double-sided taped it to a roughed out blank and using my pattern-followin...

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Part 14: The Paradox of Quartersawn on Four Sides...

02-04-2010 03:48 AM by CaptainSkully | 3 comments »

I ran over to the lumber yard and picked up some 4/4 for the base and a stick of 8/4 to make a single chair out of. I was going to finish the base before I started on the legs, but this 8/4 stick was magnificent (and I didn’t want anyone else to nab it). I recently posted a question in the Design Forum about possibly laminating 3/4” stock to make the legs 1-1/2”, but I couldn’t take any shortcuts (regardless of how cost-effective they might be) on the dining room set...

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Part 15: He's Got Legs...

02-05-2010 03:50 AM by CaptainSkully | 12 comments »

Today, I bit the bullet and tried out my 45 degree lock-miter bit to make the four-sided quarter-sawn white oak 4” x 4” legs. I outsmarted myself by trimming the edges at 45 degrees. Unbeknownst to me, the router bit needs all the meat it can grab to make the “tongues”. As a result, I have very little “lock” in my lock-miter. I have just enough to register the corner, but I’ve lost about half of my glue surface. Sigh… The good news is that...

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Part 16: My Final Answer...

02-06-2010 03:19 AM by CaptainSkully | 7 comments »

I took everyone’s advice and went out into the shop this morning to fix the lock-miter. I ran a couple of test pieces of poplar through, both moving the fence forward and back (I kept the height the same to reduce variables). Ironically, although the two pieces of poplar fit together poorly, each one fit the previously routed oak very nice. Since I couldn’t figure out how to make that work, I just glued the legs up as is. I know, I know… Anyway, after sufficient time ...

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Part 17: Table Top Post Mortem

04-21-2010 05:25 PM by CaptainSkully | 5 comments »

We’ve been using the new top on top of our old table until I can finish the base. Over the last few months, the top has warped a bit, and was obviously out of alignment with the breadboard ends. While watching an old New Yankee Workshop online, I realized one of the things I did to cause this. I selected the boards for their aesthetic value, trying to match the grain to make it look like one solid piece of wood 38” wide. I neglected to alternate the boards’ growth rings,...

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Part 18: A Little Progress...

05-20-2010 05:55 AM by CaptainSkully | 2 comments »

I finally had a day off, so I chopped up the messed up lock-mitered legs by setting the blade right up against the fence at a 45 degree angle. I was able to push the legs through with the help of a featherboard to be as safe as possible. I chopped a bit off each side, but I think the next version will be much better, even if they’re up to 1/2” smaller on each face. I started to run the freshly liberated faces through the table saw to reestablish fresh mitered edges to prepare f...

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Part 19: Getting Back on That Sawhorse... (or Table Legs Redux)

08-18-2010 04:52 PM by CaptainSkully | 6 comments »

It’s been months since I’ve been able to do any woodworking. I guess being busy in this economy is a good thing. I finally got a couple of days in the shop to address in-progress projects. The biggest was my mental block on the 4-sided quartersawn legs for the dining table. In a previous entry, I discussed how I botched the lock miter joint. It took me a while to get up the nerve to get back to work on them because if I biffed it again, they’d be too thin and I’d ...

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Part 20: Joinery Shortcuts

08-21-2010 04:12 PM by CaptainSkully | 1 comment »

I was able to squeeze another good day in the shop around work. I ran off to buy some more oak, then got home and planed enough of it down to glue up the stretchers/aprons for the table ends. While the laminations were cooking, I decided to give the BeadLock Pro a whirl. Having made integral tenons with chiseled mortises, and loose tenons with the router, I have to say this method is considerably easier and faster. First, I was able to cut off the parts to their finished length, without...

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Part 21: Dry Fit!

09-02-2010 04:21 PM by CaptainSkully | 2 comments »

I found another day off, so I immediately ran out into the shop before I could get distracted. I was able to finish the joinery on the base ends. As with everything else in life, the relative ease of the BeadLock Pro has disadvantages in repeatable accuracy. I don’t know how or why, but I do eight mortises and they only come out within 1/16” of each other. This has caused a 1/8” difference between the mortises, pretty much ruining my reveal on the spindles. I’ll f...

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