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Farm Table #1: Building my first table - and how it's not easy to angle cut 2x4s with a circular saw

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Blog entry by Shadoglare posted 12-10-2012 02:42 AM 3727 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So as a new member to LumberJocks I’d thought I’d start out my saying a few words about my current project.

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years now, have limited room to work in (essentially a corner workbench in our basement) and only have “the basics” as far as tools go, such as a circular saw, jigsaw, orbital sander and a couple of power drills.
My last “big” project was a fairly simple patio table set with chairs & bench, which came out OK but had some mistakes that are pretty visible and can’t be fixed without pretty much trashing it and starting over, so I’m hoping this farm table project I’m working on now will come out a bit nicer as it is planned to be the centerpiece of our dining room.

The plans for the table I’m working on are here: http://ana-white.com/2012/06/plans/fancy-x-farmhouse-table – it’s a simple enough design but I still think it looks great especially with the dark finish (I’m building mine out of pine and then plan to use a dark gel stain on it).

The main challenges I’ve run into so far are mostly around those angled boards on the support pedastals – there are 16 cuts that have to be cut right at 45deg, that cut has to be prefectly straight or else it leaves nasty gaps, and the board lengths after the cuts all have to be perfectly straight or else the pedals won’t come out level. This has been, to say the least, not fun trying to do with a circular saw. Sure, you can able the blade at 45deg, but it’s hard to get a perfectly straight cut with even when holding it against a guide, the angle tends to be off or be warped becasue it’s hard to keep it perfectly level for the entire cut, and it seems to want to keep seizing up near the end of the cut for some reason, sometimes forcing me to finish the cut using a hand saw.
I’ve gotten it to a point where I’ve decided it’s “good enough” and am hoping that a mix of some wood filler and the dark color it will be stained at the end will help mask the places where I messed up.

I now need to cut & attach those cross-member bars that connect the pedastals together, and then assemble the table top. So far I’m liking how this one is coming together, but even a project as seemingly simple as this one has been a learning experience.



7 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14207 posts in 994 days


#1 posted 12-10-2012 09:13 AM

It’s very not easy getting clean angle cuts with a circular saw. Ana White is underrated. Some here do not take her seriously, but she has single handily brought thousands of people to woodworking.

Welcome to LJ’s. It’s all good here.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View ~Julie~'s profile

~Julie~

572 posts in 1690 days


#2 posted 12-10-2012 05:30 PM

What wood are you using and how will you attach the top?
You might want to read this

-- ~Julie~ followyourheartwoodworking.blogspot.ca

View Shadoglare's profile

Shadoglare

8 posts in 652 days


#3 posted 12-11-2012 12:57 AM

It’s contruction-grade pine – I’m still at a point where I screw up (and have to re-buy) enough boards that I’m not comfortable working with the nicer/more expensive stuff yet.

the top of the table I’m not sure about – right off hand I was thinking of attaching it using pocket screws going through the center support beam, but I think it should really be attached to the large support arches as well so it might come down to using some time of bracket.
I actually don’t recall ever seeing the ones your blog talks about, but it’d be worth looking into.

View Shadoglare's profile

Shadoglare

8 posts in 652 days


#4 posted 12-13-2012 06:28 AM

One of my books also suggests (along with expansion brackets) that if attaching a tabletop to a rail underneath you can enlarge the end of the screw hole where the two pieces connect – that will allow the wood to move around a little while still applying pressure at the screw head.

View RVroman's profile

RVroman

163 posts in 680 days


#5 posted 12-13-2012 06:42 AM

You mentioned you are using a guide, it it a speed square, framing square, scrap wood? I have always had a hard time making straight or accurate cuts with a circular saw. I then made a guide very similar to the one at the link below, and it has made a world of difference.

http://wayneofthewoods.com/circular-saw-cutting-guide.html>

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View Shadoglare's profile

Shadoglare

8 posts in 652 days


#6 posted 12-13-2012 02:44 PM

For this I was using a speed square.
I also have a commercially made guide that’s similar to the jig under that link (that also includes a system for angling the saw) as well as the cross-cut jig shown at the bottom (in fact I think I made it based on that web page). They don’t fit the saw correctly with the blade angled though.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15037 posts in 1224 days


#7 posted 12-13-2012 03:03 PM

First, welcome to LJ’s. Its a great place to learn.

That is a wonderful table. As years go on, you’ll appreciate the fact you did it with a skill saw, and as you acquire more and better tools, you’ll come to realize your accomplishments.

30+ years ago when I built my house I did the interior window and door trim out of 1×4. I did it all with a circular saw as well, so I feel your pain. (I still look at some of the “not so perfect” miters and wonder if I should re-do them.)

Keep up the great work.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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