I have been cranking in the garage, trying to get some semblance of a table together. My parents are due in, so we need to be able to seat 6 at the table for dinner. That 30in round table just isn’t going to cut it.
Things went together pretty fast.
Say hello to my little friend.
I have avoided biscuit jointers for years. Hard to justify dropping $250 on a one trick pony. Well, Lowe’s has had a clearance tag on their display model for a couple of weeks. This one was originally about $100, marked down to $79, then to $68. I took it up to the manager and he dropped it down to $60. Such a deal, how could I say no. I adopted it on the spot. After my last glue up and how the boards shifted, I wanted a little help in keeping things aligned and the biscuit jointer is perfect for that application. See this article if you want to know a bit more about biscuit jointers (what they are and why use them)
So I now had a biscuit joiner. I got to thinking, hey this would be a quick way to attach the aprons to the legs of my table. So I made a test piece. I was surprised at how much beating it took to break my test piece, so I decided it was a strong enough approach. Here is a shot of the joinery.
I wasn’t 100% confident, so I added glue blocks to give some additional strength.
Glue up was a bit stressful. To reduce chance of error I glued the short ends in a seperate step, let that cure for a few hours. Then I took those subassemblies and connected them with the long aprons. I used titebondIII, so I had about 10-15min to work with it. I still felt like I was rushing to get it all together. It came together pretty well.
Next day I trimmed the legs to length. Yep, pulled a bonehead. I had left the legs long to be able to trim to length. Well, I got in a rush to taper and cut the joinery and in my haste neglected to trim the legs. So I lopped 3in off the bottom after assembly. No biggie. Busted out my ryoba to hack off the ends, then used a rasp to square the feet back up. I flipped it back upright and planed the top of the legs/aprons into a flat surface for the table top. Look at those nice fluffy shavings on the floor. I am really loving my hand planes these days. I now have most converted over to aftermarket blades. The aftermarket blades are thicker so they don’t vibrate as much during the cut. Aren’t they cute all tucked away in their drawer…
This was my first attempt at tapered legs. Not too bad really. I used the bandsaw to rough out the taper, then took them to the bench to hand plane the saw marks out of them. I had wanted to use the tablesaw, but due to the stock size of 3-7/8” these were just too big for the 10in tablesaw. Off the bandsaw it was clear that I really should have been more careful. I ended up having quite a bit of planing to even out the divots from my not-so-straight saw job. It worked out though. I found that I had reversed grain on one of the legs, so planing that one sucked. Note to self: pay attention to grain during glue-up.
I also found myself smiling using my hand planes. I could have grabbed the belt sander, that’s what I would have done a couple years ago. Now I know better. Honestly the planes remove material faster, keep the material flat, and avoid all the noise and dust. It was a real pleasure feeling the warm fluffy shavings coming off my 80 year old no.4. I found myself grunting along in woodworker-zen state. It is a shame that so many have been duped into thinking sanding is the way to go. Not in my book, a tuned hand plane decimates all sanders.
thanks for reading…
-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama