Around the shop #3: Finaly some woodworking to talk about

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 09-24-2008 03:01 AM 7025 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Over the hump? Part 3 of Around the shop series Part 4: Where in the world is Doug?? »

Well, a banner weekend in the books. Great weather. Good beers. Family fun. Garage time. Yah know, the works. Started out on Friday with our date night. We have been exchanging kid watch with another couple every other Friday. If you can talk anyone in your circle of friends into this sort of thing I recommend you do so. It is nice to have some quality time with Mrs. Doug.

Saturday I was up early and into the garage at a decent hour. I really wanted to get some work done on the hall table this weekend. If for no other reason that to get visible progress to the time I have put in already. At this point all of my lumber has been milled to size and allowed to adjust to shop conditions. So it is time to get in there and do the joinery.

First up was to square up the ends of the legs. They came off the chop saw a little off. Not really sure how to adjust the saw for a straighter cut. No big deal, I will just use my shooting board. Oh, wait a minute I don’t have one. Hmmm, I did make a sled for the planer that might work. Essentially a shooting board is just a board with a stop on it that a hand plane runs up against. The stop sets the angle of the cut and the board gives a depth stop for the hand plane. Follow the link if you want more detail on the technique. So I flipped over my planer sled and clamped it to the jointer. I used my No.7 plane and made pretty short work of squaring everything up.

After squaring the ends I marked out my mortise start/stop locations on all legs. I have been fretting a bit over exactly how I was going to cut the mortises. There are about a million different ways to do this. Most of them require donating a day to jig and fixture making. Since I want to make some real progress on the table I went for the edge guide and eyeball method. In the end I only botched one of the mortises and I was able to adjust it later.

Next was to cut the aprons to size. I will just use my cross cutting sled on the tablesaw. Wait a minute, don’t have one of those either. So I setup using the fence and a stop block to create the repeat cuts. Obviously you want the oposite sides to be equal in length, so some sort of fixturing is required for accuracy. The stop block allows me to gauge to the fence without worry of getting a peice wedged between the blade and the fence. Google “kickback” if you are wondering why that is a concern.

Next, out comes that shiny new dado set. Yep, the one that’s been sitting in the cabinet since I adopted it. It was pretty easy to get the tablesaw setup for the task. I was a bit dissapointed that the mechanism on my saw is not really accurate enough to size the tennons to final size. Too much backlash in it. I left the tennons fat so that I could just size them by hand for each joint. This turned out to be a good thing since my routing wasn’t totaly precise.

Once rough cut I then trimmed and fit each tennon to it’s mating mortise. It was fairly long and drawn out, so I won’t bore everyone with the full details. Basically I used a combination of saws, chisels, and sand paper to get the tennons to match up.

By the end of the day I had something that actually looked like a table. Finally, some progress that is visible to the rest of the world. I clamped the table up and let Mrs. Doug have a look at it. She suggested that we take it up and put it in position for analysis. I will have to upload a picture later. It fit where it was suposed to. Proportions look good. As an added bonus it looks like I got off the hook on tapering the legs. The outside border on the picture window is the same thickness as the legs on the table. Since the picture window is all square geometry it makes sense to leave the table legs straight. That’s good because I don’t have a jig or guide to taper legs.

From 2008.06.30 hall table

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

5 comments so far

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3041 days

#1 posted 09-24-2008 04:13 AM

Table looks good, kinda light! Tapering squate legs is really simple, it’s not too late if you decide to. The jig is easy to make from a couple of pieces of scrap and an old hinge. If you taper the legs you might consider beveling the underside of the top. It’s a nice touch that makes the top “float”. Looks like maple, can be difficult to finish. Good project….well done! Thanks for sharing.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Keith Cruickshank's profile

Keith Cruickshank

41 posts in 3067 days

#2 posted 09-24-2008 05:35 AM

Yes, I always refer to my better half for design feedback :-) Good idea. And BTW, the table looks great. Keep on trucking.

-- Keith Cruickshank, - on-demand woodworking videos

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3274 days

#3 posted 09-24-2008 09:20 AM

Nice job dsb

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3050 days

#4 posted 09-25-2008 04:12 PM

Thanks for the comments guys.

Don, some good suggestions all around. Yes, it is light (not weight wise, but color it is Maple). I have already found a stain and finish that matches the picture window very nicely. I considered adding a bevel to the table top or beading the edge. I think both would look great, but would take the table away from matching the relatively simple straight lines of the picture window. I am open to suggestion/discussion. It is kind of hard in this instance, matching with the picture window, because there are a lot of nice touches like bevels, beading, and rounding that could dress up this little table.

If I were to taper the legs at this point I would likely just mark out the taper, bandsaw it, than clean them up with plane and scraper. They wouldn’t be perfectly matched, but it would take little if any fixturing time.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3308 days

#5 posted 09-25-2008 04:39 PM

Doing tapered legs…..make a fixture you will save lots more time sanding after the bandsaw than it takes to make the jig.
You can find jig instructions on the web.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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