LumberJocks

Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table #18: Clamping Cauls, Finger Joints and Square Plug Stock

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 07-24-2017 03:39 AM 3626 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Completing the remaining mortise and tenon joints Part 18 of Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table series Part 19: Finish Sanding and Assembly of the Bases Plus Some Ebony Plugs »

In preparation for the glue up of the angled joints in the two bases, I make up some special clamping cauls. The cauls allow me to position clamps to pull the mortise and tenon joints together parallel to the tenons. The cauls have a 60 degree block glued to them to complement the 30 degree angle of the joints. Each has a piece of sandpaper glued to the back to prevent slipping.

There are 6 large cauls for the lower stretchers and two small ones for the top stretcher. To check the cauls I do a quick dry fit of one of the bases.

The cauls work well and everything pulls up tight.

To create the finger joints I use a modified version of the routing jig developed by Darrell Peart for his Greene & Greene blanket chest in Fine Woodworking magazine #243. Darrell’s design calls for two separate jigs, one for each set of fingers. Darrell uses two separate jigs to allow building in a 1/64” clearance between the fingers to ease the fit.

In my version I combine both sets of fingers into opposite ends of the same jig. I cut strips of Baltic birch ply into strips the exact size of each finger and insert two strips of paper between each during the glue up. This allows about 0.010” clearance between fingers.

After the glue dries I clean up and flatten the jig with the drum sander.

I do a quick test cut with some scraps to verify the fit. Looks good.

Next I use the finger joint template and a circle template to layout the fingers.

I rough out most of the waste on the bandsaw, leaving about 1/32” to clean up on the router table.

I use double sided tape to hold the template to the part. A 1/4” spiral pattern bit in the router table cleans up the cut and leaves a tight 1/8” radius in the corners.

I use a special Amana rounding bit to put the 1/8” radius on the fingers. This Amana bit has a bearing smaller than the 1/4” diameter cut by the spiral pattern bit. Everything looks good when dry fit.

Next I cut the slots in the lower stretchers. I drill two holes with a Forstner bit and waste out the center with a sabre saw.

After taping on the pattern, I clean up the cuts on the router table with the 1/4” spiral pattern bit.

After pattern routing the slots I round over the edges.

I add the square holes for the ebony plugs next. I pre-drill the fingers on the drill press with clearance holes for the trim head screws that will be used later to assemble the breadboard joint. The drill press and fence assure the plugs will be perfectly aligned later.

I insert the drill back into the hole to align the square punch. The edge of a combination square simultaneously squares the punch and aligns the plugs to one another.

The lower legs call for a pattern of four square plugs arranged in a rectangular pattern. The ebony plugs are a strong focal point with the Greene & Greene style and naturally draw the eye. Any misalignment will be easily noticeable. I fabricate a quick jig for use in conjunction with the stops on my drill press fence. The “L” shaped jig is sized to properly offset the leg to drill all four holes in the proper location. With the leg up against the fence and the jig against the first stop, I drill the outside hole.

By flipping the jig and placing it between the fence and the leg I drill the inside hole with the proper offset.

I slide the leg down to the next stop and repeat to drill the two remaining holes. The holes are perfectly aligned.

I finish up the legs by punching the square holes.

The parts for the base are now ready for final sanding and assembly.

Next I prepare the Gabon Ebony for the plugs and splines. After jointing two adjacent edges flat I resaw on the bandsaw slightly oversize and bring the ebony to final thickness with the drum sander.

I need 3/8” thick stock for the curved splines in the table edge, so I leave that stock full width for now. The remaining 1/4” and 3/16” stock is resawn again and the rough edge sized on the drum sander to produce the stock for the square plugs.

Next step: finish sand all of the base parts through 220 and assemble.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"



8 comments so far

View RichTaylor's profile

RichTaylor

1305 posts in 306 days


#1 posted 07-24-2017 05:27 AM

Nice work Tung. Several useful tips in those photos, especially your angled cauls.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View rodk1's profile

rodk1

14 posts in 2875 days


#2 posted 07-24-2017 06:33 AM

Excellent Post ! Thanks for all the Great Tips

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

494 posts in 212 days


#3 posted 07-24-2017 12:54 PM

Thanks for checking in!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View sras's profile

sras

4548 posts in 2846 days


#4 posted 07-24-2017 03:05 PM

I’m enjoying every chapter of this blog…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

464 posts in 2065 days


#5 posted 07-25-2017 05:06 PM

I’m amazed at how much you get done between posts. Everything is looking great.

I’ve always cut the finger joints using a dado stack and then hand sanded the roundovers. your way is much faster and more accurate. I’m also going to use that technique on the girds on the desk I’m going to be starting this week (and maybe doing a blog since yours has been so helpful). I’m also going to shamelessly use your caul idea too.

Your drill top looks like it came from Woodpeckers. How well do you like their version?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

494 posts in 212 days


#6 posted 07-25-2017 05:38 PM

thanks Earl. I looked a couple of ways to cut the finger joints and settled on this idea which is mostly Darrell Peart’s technique modified with the paper shims, an idea I picked up from YouTube (of all places).

My drill press table is a home made top with Woodpeckers parts added. TheWoodpeckers hardware works well. I laminated two layers of 3/4” baltic birch and topped it off with some leftover Formica I had, then added the Woodpeckers parts. what you can’t see from the pictures is that I added four jig knobs underneath that pass through the slots in the top. this allows me to pull it off quickly if necessary. I originally added that setup for boring 35mm homes in cabinet doors to accept Blum hinges and it works superbly for that. Works good for this type of thing as well of course.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5541 posts in 2864 days


#7 posted 07-25-2017 07:30 PM

You’ve really got a knack for fabricating jigs for this project! I’m getting some good ideas from your blog, and will put them to good use in future projects!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

494 posts in 212 days


#8 posted 07-25-2017 09:07 PM

yeah, the stack of jigs is getting pretty deep. It’s starting to feel like I need a jig for every step. Glad you found something you can use on your projects.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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