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End table set - build

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Blog series by Ottacat updated 02-11-2014 05:13 PM 14 parts 12251 reads 26 comments total

Part 1: Starts with a need

01-30-2014 01:25 PM by Ottacat | 1 comment »

A piece of furniture fulfills two functions. The first is functional and the second is aesthetic. This is a fancy way of saying we need it to do something and want it to look nice. My living room has a big sectional sofa and ‘my’ spot is at one corner which has a built-in recline and my daughter has ‘her’ spot which is the opposite corner which also has a built-in recliner. The room is too long for the sectional to go back into the corner of two walls so it sits wit...

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Part 2: Selecting the woods

01-30-2014 11:39 PM by Ottacat | 5 comments »

The end tables will be built out of four species of wood. bases (which will be ebonized) veneer for main part of tops ebony inlay accent wood to frame veneer For ebonizing I wanted to try the vinegar and iron method outline in this article from Popular Woodworking. I also wanted a fairly tight grain so I chose cherry. I had stock for the aprons but needed some 8/4 stock for the legs. The veneered main part of the tops of course offers a huge variety of choices. Looking throug...

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Part 3: Preparing for ebonizing

01-31-2014 01:36 PM by Ottacat | 0 comments »

After reading several articles on ebonizing I decided to stack the odds in my favour by using the two-part process outlined in the article in Popular Woodworking. The article indicates to do an initial preparation of your wood using a bark tea made from Quebracho bark. This adds a lot of extra tannis to the wood which are what later react with the vinegar / steel solution. This seemed logical given using just the vinegar and steel solution works best on woods with high tannin content such as ...

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Part 4: Off to the lumber store

02-01-2014 03:05 PM by Ottacat | 2 comments »

The next step in the build was to head off t my local hardwood supplier for a piece of 8/4 cherry for the legs of the tables. My go to supplier here in Ottawa is KJP Hardwoods. They are a really nice family owned and run business. The have an extremely broad selection of wood – both in variety of species and good quantities of all the common ones. I was able to get a nice sized piece of 8/4 cherry. I didn’t know whether sapwood would ebonize differently so I got a piece tha...

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Part 5: Bases, Part I

02-02-2014 02:25 PM by Ottacat | 0 comments »

With all the cherry stock ready it is time to mill the stock and then cut all the pieces to their final dimensions. The stock from my lumber store typically comes rough finished on two sides and fairly straight (unless one edge is a live edge). I normally spend a lot of time inspecting each board and choosing the sections i want for each piece. Even though the bases will be ebonized I was uncertain if sapwood would ebonize differently so I took the time to ensure each piece was all heartwo...

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Part 6: Bases, Part II

02-03-2014 01:19 PM by Ottacat | 0 comments »

With all the stock milled and cut to size it was time to do the joinery of the aprons to the legs. I use the Domino so it was a matter of properly aligning the boards and drawing pencil marks. Because the legs are 1 1/4” thick, and the aprons 3/4” thick there is a difference of 1/2”. To do the marking I place a 1/2” piece of scrap plywood under the aprons so they align evenly with the legs. Because the aprons will be offset 1/4” from the edge of each leg it is...

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Part 7: Ebonizing the legs

02-04-2014 01:11 PM by Ottacat | 4 comments »

My vinegar and steel wool solution is ready. After a few days the steel wool had completely dissolved so I even added a bit more. By the time I was ready to ebonize it too had dissolved. I tried filtering the solution through a coffee filter but it was too thick and I had to squeeze it out. Before starting the ebonizing, I wetted both pieces to raise the grain, let them dry and sanded them again to 220. The Quebracho bark tea powder arrived. Given one heaping tablespoon makes eno...

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Part 8: Veneering the top

02-05-2014 01:27 PM by Ottacat | 3 comments »

Veneering a top when your veneer is already big enough that you can do it by trimming down the veneer to fit the table top size is quite easy. You don’t have to worry about doing any jointing and taping pieces together. The pelin burl I ordered was the first species I’ve used that wasn’t naturally flat. Fortunately had also ordered some flattening solution from Veneer Supplies for just such a situation. My single sheet of veneer was big enough for both table tops and even...

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Part 9: Adding the frame

02-06-2014 01:40 PM by Ottacat | 1 comment »

With the veneering of the two panels done it was time to make and attach the frames. I used mahogany for the frame and had a piece on hand with some awesome chatoyance. After milling the mahogany I cut it well oversized lengthwise in preparation for cutting the mitred corners. I don’t cut my mitres by measuring them. The measurement needs to be on the inside of the mitre and can’t easily be set. I guess I could take that length and then factor in the width of the wood and do so...

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Part 10: Inlay on table tops

02-07-2014 01:21 PM by Ottacat | 1 comment »

The inlaying process was one time I didn’t take many pictures during this build. The process is relatively straight forward though when all you’re doing is putting a simple inlay into a rectangular top. The tools are simple – a trim router equipped with a 1/8” bit, a chisel to square the corners and then some means to cut 45° ends in the inlay. I’ve seen two techniques for routing inlay. One is to clamp a board to the top of your piece and use it as guide for ...

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Part 11: Edge profiles and finish tests

02-08-2014 03:02 PM by Ottacat | 1 comment »

A small table with 3/4” top just doesn’t look right – the proportions are all wrong. Even big tables with 3/4” table tops don’t look right. Tables that keep a clean 90° edge on the top typically bevel the tops from underneath. That way when we you look you see a 1/2’ or 3/8” edge view. This is common on Shaker end tables but is used elsewhere if you look. However I wanted a different look. I didn’t want an older looking profile like an ogee b...

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Part 12: Finishing the tops

02-09-2014 03:18 PM by Ottacat | 1 comment »

The first step was to dye to mahogany frame components of the tops. As I indicated in my last post I found the GF light brown dye stain gave the look I wanted. I dyed them using a towel and obviously had to be careful not to get the dye on the veneered centre panel. Having the 1/8” ebony inlay as a buffer was key. I would apply the dye stain with one towel and then wipe it down with a clean one. It took a bit of work not to have overlap marks on each corner but the GF line of dye stains...

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Part 13: Attaching the tops to the bases

02-10-2014 01:08 PM by Ottacat | 4 comments »

The nice thing about using tops made out of baltic birth plywood with veneered tops is that they can just be glued directly to the bases as wood movement isn’t an issue. If the tops were solid wood the top would need to be attached using some mechanism that allowed for wood movement such as floating buttons or figure 8 thingy’s. For me it was a matter of a few simple steps. The first was to take a block plan to the bases and even up all the sides. During glue-up it was inevitab...

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Part 14: Wrapup - final thoughts

02-11-2014 05:13 PM by Ottacat | 3 comments »

Overall I was extremely pleased with this build. In terms of time spent it was one of the quickest projects I’vd done. I almost spent as much time blogging about the project as I did building it. I estimate it took me a maximum of 24 hours actually construction time for both tables. This was spread out over a couple of weeks and lots of non-working time was spent while glue-ups dried, ebonizing steps dried, finishes dried and so on. If I was building another set I would do a few thin...

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