LumberJocks

Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table #19: Finish Sanding and Assembly of the Bases Plus Some Ebony Plugs

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 07-30-2017 04:04 AM 3340 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Clamping Cauls, Finger Joints and Square Plug Stock Part 19 of Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table series Part 20: Top Assembly, and Ebony Plugs & Splines »

In preparation for glue up I sand all the parts with 120 then 220 using a random orbit sander. I split the work between the Bosch ROS65EVS which is a nice sander to use (very little vibration) and the smaller Bosch ROS20EVS which is more like a palm sander in ROS format and better for the smaller parts. To clean up the round overs and other details I have a few sanding blocks I like as well as the ubiquitous folded sheet. It’s boring work but crucial to getting a nice finish later.

Once sanding is complete, I prepare the parts for glue up. Due to the nature of the angled joinery in this base I do each base as a single glue up rather than sub-assemblies. With 14 mortise and tenon joints it is important to have everything organized so the glue up can go quickly before the glue starts to set. I arrange the parts for the back part of the base on my bench along with a number of bar clamps, clamp pads, glue, clamping cauls and spacer blocks to align the lower stretchers.

The front part of the base is staged on the table saw . I clamp on the cauls so they are ready to go.

I work very quickly to get everything aligned and in clamps before the glue begins to set. Staging the parts and clamps is key. Start to finish takes 23 minutes 53 seconds and 24 clamps.

After the glue sets on the main parts of the base I add the apron. The finger joints are lightly glued between the fingers but the primary fastening method is by screws under each square plug. Number 6 cabinet trim screws just fit under a 1/4” square plug.

The bases look good and the joinery fits together satisfactorily.

While the glue is setting on the bases I work on the ebony plugs. I use Darrell Peart’s technique for creating the ebony plugs. I begin at the disc sander, using the jig described in Darrell’s book. The jig sits at a shallow angle and by spinning the ebony rod between the fingers and applying light pressure against the disc a very shallow point is created on the end of the rod. I shape both ends of multiple ebony rods at the same time, working in batches.

After the initial shaping is completed, I work through 220, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper to refine the pillow shape. I hold the ebony rod like a pencil and with a sweeping pendulum motion lightly sand the end to shape. After a few sweeps, I rotate the rod 90 degrees and repeat.

Once the rod ends are sanded to shape, I move to the buffing wheel. I use a rouge designed for plastics to buff the pillow shape to a nice glossy sheen.

Using a tiny miter box, I cut the plugs to length with a Dozuki saw.

Each batch yields ten plugs, then back to the disc sander to create another batch.

It is easy to damage the square hole when inserting the plugs. To minimize the chance for damage, I put a small chamfer on the bottom edge of each plug with a chisel. The small plugs are hard to hold safely so I use a thin piece of wood with a V notch clamped on top of a scrap as an aide. I use a very sharp chisel and make a shallow 1/32” chamfer on each edge.

I use a bamboo skewer to apply a small amount of glue to the plug holes and tap the plugs partially in with a plastic head hammer. To set the plugs to final depth, I use a simple jig with a shallow dado set over the plug and tap it flush, leaving the plugs slightly proud.

The finished plugs are all set to a consistent depth.

All that remains is to add some mounting strips to attach the tops and the bases will be ready for stain and finish.

Next steps are to mount the table slides, align and mount the bases to the tops and add alignment pins for the leaves.

-- 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"



16 comments so far

View RichTaylor's profile

RichTaylor

1303 posts in 305 days


#1 posted 07-30-2017 04:43 AM

Nice plugs, Tung. Boy, those must take some patience.

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

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

1353 posts in 938 days


#2 posted 07-30-2017 01:35 PM



Nice plugs, Tung. Boy, those must take some patience.

- RichTaylor


And some serious tolerance for wrist pain 8^)

Your commitment to quality at these levels of detail is inspiring!

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1482 posts in 3274 days


#3 posted 07-30-2017 04:15 PM

This is the best installment yet! I love it when you start to add the ebony plugs. I got Darrell’s book at the Gamble House and is a great souvenir and wonderful source of information. I’ve got some nice mahogany just waiting for a G&G project. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View htl's profile

htl

2834 posts in 875 days


#4 posted 07-31-2017 12:09 AM

Nicely done!!!
Love any and all G&G projects.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

491 posts in 211 days


#5 posted 07-31-2017 01:20 AM



Boy, those must take some patience.

- RichTaylor


That’s an understatement…..I have not timed it but I’d guess that it takes about 5-10 minutes to make a single plug when I figure in preparing the square rods, sanding and polishing the ends, chamfering and installation. There are 28 square plugs on each base, 28 on each table half and another 32 for the four leaves. Thats 144 square plugs and that doesn’t count the curved splines and rectangular plugs for the table edges what are much harder to make.

And the entire time I’m making these square plugs I’m thinking “there has got to be a faster way to make these….” I’m thinking about getting a 4 jaw chuck for the lathe.

-- 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 htl's profile

htl

2834 posts in 875 days


#6 posted 07-31-2017 03:17 AM

Seem like I remember a post here where he was making plugs and spinning them with a drill.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View abie's profile

abie

859 posts in 3487 days


#7 posted 07-31-2017 01:45 PM

Nicely done and described
Hours of work and a beautiful result tnx for sharing

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

1353 posts in 938 days


#8 posted 07-31-2017 03:07 PM


And the entire time I m making these square plugs I m thinking “there has got to be a faster way to make these….” I m thinking about getting a 4 jaw chuck for the lathe.

- TungOil

There is a jig that I have book marked that uses a router bit to get proper pillow plug profiles. Next time I need to hand sand more then a dozen of these buggers, I’ll make the jig 8^)

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

491 posts in 211 days


#9 posted 08-01-2017 03:38 AM


There is a jig that I have book marked that uses a router bit to get proper pillow plug profiles.

- splintergroup


Now you tell me!

-- 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 EarlS's profile

EarlS

464 posts in 2064 days


#10 posted 08-01-2017 05:35 PM

You almost snuck this installment past me. I use the same method on the plugs, I work off both ends of the rod but for some reason it isn’t twice as fast…...

How many times did you dry fit the glue-up to whittle down the time? It usually takes 3-4 test runs before I start the actual glue-up on a complicated assembly. What kind of glue did you use?

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

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

491 posts in 211 days


#11 posted 08-01-2017 07:09 PM



You almost snuck this installment past me. I use the same method on the plugs, I work off both ends of the rod but for some reason it isn t twice as fast…...

How many times did you dry fit the glue-up to whittle down the time? It usually takes 3-4 test runs before I start the actual glue-up on a complicated assembly. What kind of glue did you use?

- EarlS

Making the plugs is definitely time consuming. I have a 4 jaw chuck on the way, hoping to speed the process up a bit.

Just one dry fit to make sure all of the joints closed up cleanly. The key to reducing the time was to pre-stage everything- clamps, parts, etc. Glue is TB3. I use it pretty much for everything except veneer work and natural maple.

-- 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 EarlS's profile

EarlS

464 posts in 2064 days


#12 posted 08-02-2017 12:58 AM

Do you notice any glue line creep from it? I routinely discover that the glue has expanded or something, usually a couple of months after the project is finished, leaving ridges along the glue lines on table or desk tops where the boards are glued side to side with biscuits.

Your 4 jaw chuck reminded me that I will also use my drill and slide the rod into the end of it and run it into a piece of psa sandpaper mounted on a rubber mat like you use under project. I stick the various grits to the mat and let the drill do the rotating. William Ng used that trick in his G&G video.

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

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

491 posts in 211 days


#13 posted 08-02-2017 02:03 AM

yes, I did have a few glue lines that raised slightly. I knocked them back down with 220 grit on the ROS, hopefully that will be the end of it. are you noticing that it comes back again after you knock it down?

My 4 jaw chuck arrived today. I quickly mounted it and made a batch of plugs. I definitely got faster and more consistent results, so I will finish up the rest this way.

-- 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 2863 days


#14 posted 08-02-2017 10:59 PM


...

I stick the various grits to the mat and let the drill do the rotating. William Ng used that trick in his G&G video.

- EarlS

Earl beat me to it, but William Ng has a video out that shows how he contours his ebony plugs that’s simple and quick—about 15 seconds for each plug

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

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

491 posts in 211 days


#15 posted 08-03-2017 12:51 AM

I tried William Ng’s drill method, but I kept damaging the corners of the square rod with the drill chuck and had trouble getting consistent results. That’s why I ordered the 4 jaw chuck for the lathe. Seems to work well and is pretty fast too. I’m still fine tuning the process but at the moment the best way seems to be to use a mill bastard file to do the initial shaping of the pillow, then touch it with a few progressively finer grit sanding sponges to 600 grit, them polish.

Here’s a photo. The plug on the left was done by hand, the one on the right was done using the lathe as outlined above. In general the lathe made plugs are more consistent.

-- 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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