Mortise & Tenon Table with Shelf and Treble Clef Inlays

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Blog entry by CypressAndPine posted 02-11-2015 05:49 PM 1561 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first attempt at something like this. I am building a table for my wife’s grandmother. She is a violin instructor and she asked for a little table with a shelf to hold violin cases. The table is Cypress and the inlay is Sapele.

I picked up 3 each 4/4 cypress boards that were 14 feet long.

Here is my rough plan. This is my own design and I tend to change things as I go.

Here are the aprons with the shoulders cut. I cut all my stuff on the bandsaw. I don’t have a good tablesaw and honestly I’ve never found a task I couldn’t complete without one. Maybe I’ll buy one when I have a big dream shop. I will usually cut the cheeks with a handsaw and trim it all to fit perfectly with a sanding block or hand plane.

Next I cut out the legs from some 6×6 cypress beams I had leftover. I used my new super tool (Shop Fox Benchtop Mortising Machine) to cut the mortises. I love that thing since I finally bought some quality bits.

Here is where I decided I would attempt to destroy the table by inserting some Sapele Treble Clefs on the front legs. I cut the treble clefs out on the scroll saw as one solid piece about 3/16” thick. I cracked the first three and was about to give up before I got the hang of it. Eventually I had four units. Two for practice and two for the table. I used a dremel to rout out most of the material then I used chisels to fine fit it. The first one looked horrible but luckily it was on a practice board. The second one looked better, but still not very good. I finally decided to give it a go and just take my time fitting it. They turned out better than I ever expected.

I made the slats for the shelf. I used a router and straight edge to cut a dado in the bottom aprons, I glues little spacers between each slat with a little room for movement. All I need now is a ton of sanding, glue-up and finish. I’m thinking I will just use a million coats of Danish Oil. But I also want to try oil topped with shellac. OH YEAH….. I should probably make a table top too!

Thanks for lookin!! I appreciate any and all comments. Especially about design. Please let me know what you think. Should the legs be skinnier? Should the aprons have an arc? I like to keep the furniture simple and elegant. I fear this one is a little bulky looking, but it’s hard to tell without the tabletop.


-- Cypress Jake, New Orleans

2 comments so far

View pjones46's profile


986 posts in 2063 days

#1 posted 02-11-2015 06:30 PM


Really an excellent piece. Like the design.


-- Respectfully, Paul

View shipwright's profile


7085 posts in 2218 days

#2 posted 02-11-2015 07:54 PM

You didn’t pick an easy motif to inlay. I know I’ve done them.
.... bass may have been easier but not nearly as iconic.

Well done.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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