Alex's Coffee Table Build Off #2: The complete base

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Blog entry by Nitreug posted 11-12-2014 01:33 AM 1198 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design and base Part 2 of Alex's Coffee Table Build Off series Part 3: The top »

In my last post, I covered the rationale for my design and how I made several cuts mostly on the bandsaw to make one base. I will now discuss in greater detail how I built the rest of the base including the legs and stretcher and how I did the glue up.

I left off with this base:

Although I made a very similar drawing on my second base none of the line remained after I made a few cuts on the bandsaw. Since I deviated a little bit from the plan, I decided to use the actual first base to copy on the second one. The legs attach on the base with something like a half lap. I made the tenon on the table saw with a tenoning jig. A tenon was also made on the top of the leg since the same time of joint is going to be used to join the top and legs. The shape for the legs was something I had in my head for some time and I used a lee valley asymmetric drawing bow to actually draw it. I wanted the bottom to be almost straight and the top to flare out. Next step was to cut on the band saw, remove the saw marks with the oscillating spindle sander, spoke shave and some patience. Finally, I made a round over on all four corners on the router table.

At that time, I thought I was ready for the glue up except the joint was a little loose. I then decided to add a dowel or two on the tenon to add a little bit of strength. My self-centering doweling jig was great to position the dowel hole on the tenon and I then used a pin to locate where I would drill at the bottom of the dado.

Finally, the glue up. I used a hand screw on the leg in order to have a straight and level surface to clamp to the base.

Next, blending the legs and base into a single piece. My tools were the following:

I bought those rasps before I knew if I would use them much so I didn’t pay much but I may be considering buying much more expensive lioger or auriou rasps if I do much hand shaping. This said, I can’t complain much about those rasps. They were pretty cheap and they work well. The small wooden spokeshave is sold by Lee Valley. I think they call it a contour plan and for about $15, I really can’t complain. It works as well as my spokeshave. The spokeshave was mostly used to blend all the curves after the band saw cuts. The tape was also part of my tools. Indeed, it was used to protect my digits when using the rasps! Finally, I also used a pneumatic sander that isn’t shown in the pictures. That thing is insanely powerful!

The almost finished legs before glueing the stretcher:

Lastly, the stretcher was cut to size and I drew the shape using the drawing bow again. I made 3 cuts on the bandsaw, one on each side and one at the bottom. The bottom was cut for 2 reasons. The first is that I wanted to increase the challenge and add a curve. The second more practical is that I didn’t think I would be able to level the table on the floor if the bottom surface was too great. Removing stock on the bottom of the stretcher solved that problem. Only the two bases would be in contact with the ground.

The joint between the stretcher and the base is the festool dominos. Those were the first step on the base. I used several pipe clamps for the glue up and once again, I used hand screws on the legs to have a straight surface to put clamps:

Finally, I used the same blending regimen to blend the base/legs and stretcher together. After about 2 hours of rasping, blending, sanding and making dust, I ended up with this beauty (at least to my eyes!):

On my next blog entry, I will discuss how I built the top. Feel free to write comments, questions and criticism (both positive and negative). I hope you enjoy reading about this project.

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