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Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table

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Blog series by TungOil updated 10-06-2017 01:38 AM 27 parts 55737 reads 161 comments total

Part 1: Designing the dining table

02-04-2017 02:02 AM by TungOil | 6 comments »

I recently started the design work for my next project- a dining room table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen House table. My wife has been requesting a new dining room table for quite a while. Her biggest requirement is that it “must seat 12 people”. I decided to blog the construction of this table, I hope a few folks will be interested in following along and provide advice along the way! Since I have always liked the Greene & Greene style, I started looking a...

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Part 2: The First Derivative

02-07-2017 12:16 AM by TungOil | 2 comments »

I think every project I have ever done has led me on at least one tangent, derivative project. This one has already spawned it’s first…… Since I have not used my vacuum bagging system for quite a while, I decided to pull all the equipment out and look it over to make sure everything was still in good working order. When I set up my system originally, I went really basic- an old roughing pump from a mass spec coupled to a home made bag fabricated from heavy plastic drop cloth materi...

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Part 3: A Visit to the Hardwood Dealer

02-12-2017 03:15 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

Now that my table design is finalized, it was time to head to the hardwood dealer to pick up materials. Hearne Hardwoods in Chester Country, PA is my hardwood dealer of choice for projects requiring very fine wood. They have an extensive selection including figured woods, which I wanted for the top on this table. I loaded up the trailer with 75 bf of 8/4 and 35 bf of 5/4 sapele, along with 40 bf of highly figured 8/4 to be resawn for my top veneers. I unloaded everything and broug...

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Part 4: Veneer Thickness

02-25-2017 01:25 AM by TungOil | 2 comments »

With my materials procured, it’s time to start planning the cuts to make the veneers for the table top. If I’m careful, I can plan the cuts to yield all of the veneer used for the top from a single board. This will give me the best grain and color match across the table, especially important when using figured materials. My table top is designed around 5” wide boards- the veneered cores for each half of the ellipse are made up of seven 5” wide boards totaling 35&...

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Part 5: Veneer Resawing- Bottoms

03-07-2017 04:05 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

I spent some time this weekend setting up to resaw my veneers. I put together a quick jig to help assure my veneer thickness came out as even as possible. Since even a variance of just 0.005” over ten slices of veneer could add up to nearly 1/16”, I made sure my jig was parallel to the blade. In addition, I flipped the board for each slice of veneer to cancel out any error accumulation. Each veneer slice is 5-1/4” wide and 5’ long. The cuts take about 18 m...

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Part 6: Resawing Top Veneers & CNC Forms

03-15-2017 03:25 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

This weekend I was able to resaw all the veneers for the top from the figured sapele. These three boards started out as a single 9/4 board 16’ long. There was quite a bit of bow and twist to take out, but light passes with the jointer flattened one face with minimal chip out. Once I had a flat face I was able to resaw into veneer. The figured sapele proved to be far more difficult to resaw than the quarter sawn I used for the bottom veneers. The blade had more of a tendency to ...

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Part 7: Preparing Cores and First Test Bagged Board

03-21-2017 02:08 AM by TungOil | 2 comments »

Now that all of the veneer material is ready it is time to prepare the baltic birch plywood cores. Each finished board consists of two 3/4” baltic birch center cores with a sapele veneer top and bottom. I first cut each 5’x5’ sheet roughly in half for easier handling. The cut is placed slightly off center to be sure I get the maximum number of strips from each piece of plywood. The top shelf on my parts cart is high enough to allow large parts to pass over my join...

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Part 8: Bagging the Leaves and a Design Change

03-29-2017 02:39 AM by TungOil | 11 comments »

Time to start vacuum pressing the boards. I start with the leaves on the theory that if something does not come out quite right, the mistake will be hidden away most of the year. I spread out all of the veneers to arrange and number them in the preferred sequence on the ping pong table, which makes a convenient work surface for sorting and arranging. For this table I like the look of a slip match arrangement over book match. My original design has three 20” wide leaves. On...

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Part 9: Gluing Up the Leaves

04-11-2017 03:07 AM by TungOil | 2 comments »

The next step is gluing up the four leaves. Each of the leaves consists of three of the laminated boards edge glued. I contemplated adding biscuits to help with alignment for the glue ups. When I dry fit the boards before gluing, everything was extremely flat and well aligned, so biscuits were not needed. The glue ups came out very consistent, I measured no more that 1/64” misalignment after I pulled the four leaves out of the clamps. The random orbit sander quickly lev...

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Part 10: Gluing Up and Pattern Routing the Table Halves

05-01-2017 01:20 AM by TungOil | 6 comments »

With my four leaves glued up it is time to move to the elliptical table halves. Each half consists of seven boards and is 35” wide. With so many glue joints to align I break the glue up into two parts. First I glue up four boards, and after that assembly is dry I add the remaining three adjacent boards to complete one half of the table top. A little cleanup with a belt sander levels the glue joints, then I switch to the ROS with an 80 grit disk to clean up the belt sande...

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Part 11: Pattern Routing the Segmented Table Edges

05-06-2017 02:33 AM by TungOil | 3 comments »

In laying out the segmented edges for the top, my goal is to highlight the figured grain in the center of the table without drawing attention to the edge border. I select a single 8/4” quarter sawn board long enough to cut all of the border parts in sequence. The quarter sawn material has a distinctly different appearance and displays the classic ribbon strip pattern. By cutting the borders from a single board I get the best color consistency around the table. By laying out the part...

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Part 12: Table Edge Assembly

05-16-2017 01:32 AM by TungOil | 7 comments »

With the pattern routing complete, it’s time to drill and punch the holes for the square ebony plugs and attach the edges to the table cores. First I layout full scale ebony plugs on pieces of post-it paper so I can make any final adjustments to the location and size before I commit to drilling and punching the holes. I also layout for screws to attach the edges to the table. I set up drill press stops to drill the pilot holes for the square punches to be sure they are all co...

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Part 13: Final Table Edge Routing

05-29-2017 10:55 PM by TungOil | 3 comments »

With the table edges assembled, the next step is the final pattern routing of the outside profile. I route the final shape after the edges are assembled to be sure the ellipse is smooth and continuous. I start by leveling any minor misalignment between the edges with an 80 grit disk on the random orbit sander. The assembled table top is about 1/16” larger than the outside pattern to allow for the final shaping. I use a solid carbide spiral upcut bit to get the smoothest finis...

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Part 14: Assembling the Leave Edges

06-05-2017 02:47 AM by TungOil | 5 comments »

Now that the table ends are assembled, I have all the final dimensions needed to finish the leaves. By waiting until the table ends are completed, I can adjust the size of the leaves as needed to match the ends exactly. I start by sizing the inner cores. After striking a cut line square to the edge, I clamp a waste piece to the leave to prevent blow out. I carefully line up a straight reference edge to route the end of the leave straight. The finished cuts are clean and tea...

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Part 15: Leaves and Tops- Finishing Touches

07-06-2017 09:47 PM by TungOil | 3 comments »

With the edge pieces assembled to the leaves, I can finish up trimming the long edges. I start by making up a straight edge with a shallow rabbet to guide the router. Clamped to the leave, I route the ends of the edge pieces flush. The rabbet allows the straightedge to lay flat and clear the slightly raised edge pieces. I trim the edges with a flush trim pattern bit. For now I will leave the outside edges of the leaves about 1/16” oversize and trim to final size after I...

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Part 16: Starting the pedestal bases

07-10-2017 01:41 AM by TungOil | 6 comments »

In preparation for all of the angled mortise and tenon work in the base, I’ve been watching Craig’s List for a few months. I picked up a nearly new Leigh FMT Pro and a second Bosch 1613 EVS plunge router to dedicate to the jig. Both were hardly used. I spent a few hours setting everything up. After aligning the router to the mounting plate on the FMT, I ran a few test cuts with some scrap oak to dial in the templates. The FMT is a well engineered jig and is prett...

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Part 17: Completing the remaining mortise and tenon joints

07-17-2017 04:04 AM by TungOil | 7 comments »

With the first set of mortise and tenon joints finished its now time to complete the remaining mortise and tenon joinery. To maximize strength, I cut a double 2” tenon in my stretchers and aprons. The tenons are offset to the outside to maximize the tenon size on the 30 degree angle. The Leigh FMT Pro handles angled tenons up to 30 degrees easily. There are six angled joints on each pedestal base. Any error in the angle of the setup will be multiplied across the...

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Part 18: Clamping Cauls, Finger Joints and Square Plug Stock

07-24-2017 03:39 AM by TungOil | 10 comments »

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 ...

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Part 19: Finish Sanding and Assembly of the Bases Plus Some Ebony Plugs

07-30-2017 04:04 AM by TungOil | 17 comments »

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. ...

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Part 20: Top Assembly, and Ebony Plugs & Splines

08-07-2017 01:06 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

With the bases complete I now assemble the two halves of the top with the table slides and temporarily attach the bases. This allows me to fit the alignment pins for all of the leaves. To bore the holes for the alignment pins I make up a jig that locates the holes precisely. With five sets of pins and sockets it is critical to get them all aligned. With the alignment pins in place I can now accurately mark the edges of the leaves for final trimming, which I do with a straight ...

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Part 21: Fitting Ebony Splines and Plugs

08-22-2017 02:24 AM by TungOil | 10 comments »

The next step is to Fit the ebony splines around the perimeter of the table edge and install the remaining square plugs. The splines where the table opens for the leaves have both a curved face and one end exposed, requiring careful fitting. For these splines, I leave a tab that will be sanded for a precise fit along the inside edge. To set the splines, I first adjust the curved end for a clean fit. Then, I gradually sand the tab on the disc sander until the spline has an even reveal a...

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Part 22: ID Pins and Setting Up the "Spray Booth"

08-30-2017 01:41 AM by TungOil | 12 comments »

The last step before finishing is to add the identification pins to the leaves. The pins are made from brass rod stock turned on the lathe. After truing up one end, I cut them off roughly 1/4” long. The pins are let into the edges of the table and leaves then held in place with a bit of glue. One edge of the table gets a single pin and the adjoining edge of the adjacent leave also gets a single pin. On the other side of that leave, two pins, and so forth up to five pins. ...

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Part 23: Testing Finish Options

09-07-2017 02:05 AM by TungOil | 7 comments »

For a project this large, spraying is the only option to getting an even finish. Solvent based finishes are dangerous for a home shop and messy to clean up. I have been wanting to switch to a water borne finish system for a while so now is the time. Ideally I’d like one that behaves like a traditional solvent based lacquer; quick drying, easy to apply and provide good clarity and chatoyance. The Target Coatings products have gotten consistent praise from many users. I ordered s...

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Part 24: Testing Finish Options, Part 2

09-18-2017 02:00 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

After determining that I had a corrosion issue with my older spray gun, I ordered a replacement. My original order was for a CAT HVLP gun, but I ended up ordering a DeVilbiss GFG-670 Plus conversion gun instead. While waiting for the new gun to arrive, I completed a few projects in preparation for spraying. First, I prepared a large batch of stain using General Finishes water based dye stain, mixed using Darrell Peart’s formula of 7 parts orange to 4 parts medium brown. I mixe...

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Part 25: Finish Schedule Established and Start Spraying

09-25-2017 02:38 AM by TungOil | 5 comments »

Now that the grain filler has arrived, I prepare another test sample. After applying three coats of dye stain and a seal coat of EM6000 gloss I squeegee on three coats of Aqua Seal grain filler using an old hotel key card as a applicator. The Aqua Coat is a gel about the consistency of petroleum jelly and applies easily. It does lift the color some. A light sanding is required between coats to smooth. I allow the Aqua Coat 24 hour to fully dry then apply three coats of EM6000 gloss ...

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Part 26: Spraying the Tops and Installation

10-02-2017 02:55 AM by TungOil | 7 comments »

With the bottoms of my table halves and leaves complete, I move on to finishing the tops. After spraying on a seal coat of EM6000 gloss I squeegee on a coat of Seal Coat grain filler. The Seal Coat dries quickly and sands easily to a fine white powder with a 400 grit Abranet disk. After sanding the grain filler, I apply 3 coats of EM6000 gloss to build a base to the finish. The gloss really brings up the pommelle grain in the sapele. I follow the gloss base coats with a sing...

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Part 27: Final Wrap Up

10-06-2017 01:38 AM by TungOil | 8 comments »

Now that this project is completed, I decided to tally up some totals: Board feet of Sapele used: 2494’ x 8’ sheets of 3/4” baltic birch plywood: 5Square feet of shop sawn veneer: 108Hours to complete (estimated): 500 Number of square ebony plugs: 142Number of ebony splines: 32Number of rectangular plugs: 22Quarts of finish used: 5Number of new router bits needed to make the joinery: 16 What worked well? The decision to finalize the design for the elliptical...

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