Thorsen Side Table #4: Finally, Glue Up. Making the pegs.

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Blog entry by fred posted 05-14-2007 08:49 PM 2153 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Some Progress Part 4 of Thorsen Side Table series Part 5: The pegs are installed, the pegs are installed »

I finally finished the design work for the table aprons. Nothing quite spectacular but my own touch and interpretation has been added. No pics yet since my daughter has not returned from England with my camera. She should be back Sunday night. So pics will have to wait until next week. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

It is starting to look like a table. Saturday I glued up the table ends and stretchers. Sunday I glued up the back and front with the small shelf between the stretchers. It stands up and does not wobble. I feel that is an accomplishment in itself. Before glue up I finished the aprons and cut 30 mortises for the plugs.

About the pegs…

I have been reading about the pegs from my fellow LumberJocks and most everyone uses a different method. The methods are all good. I have been avidly reading the Darrel Peart book about Greene and Greene furniture and decided to use his method for making the pegs while refining my own method as well.

Since I do not have a disc sander and didn’t really want to buy one I bought a disc sanding wheel attachment for the table saw. I got it online from Woodcraft (Ding) and it arrived Saturday. For $25 you can’t go wrong.

I made a “peg” jig that fits on the table saw top with a wooden runner in the miter slot. The jig is approximately 4” wide and 8” deep. On the end near the disc in a 3” thick block 1 ½” high and 4” wide. I drilled a 5/8” hole in it. A 3/8” square rod fits nicely inside of a 5/8” hole. Why the hole? – read on. On the edge away from the disc I put a ¾” rail. (Visualizing required) I could have made the jig raised on the far end to give it a bevel but found it was easier to make it flat. I tipped the disc to about 20 degrees. I experimented first but found 20 degrees worked just fine. Now, what you simply do is put the peg stock in the hole and keep turning it as it meets the disc. With a little experimenting it works great and makes a really good “pillowing” effect.

My pegs will be from Walnut, since that is what I had in the shop. I realize that Greene and Greene used ebony pegs but since they did not start out using ebony then I am not too far off and of course it is my interpretation made in the spirit of my own style.

I made 3/8” square peg stock about 16” long. I made it about 1/64” oversize. Turn on the disc, put the peg stock in the jig and start twirling the stock while moving the jig back and forth. (Can you say walk and chew gum at the same time). Do both ends. Use a piece of 220 grit sandpaper glued to a piece of scrap to carefully sand off the fuzzy edges, use a 20 degree circular motion to clean up the pillow effect and put in the miter box and hand cut the pegs. Repeat until all the pegs have been made.

I have but 30 pegs in the table so I made 40 pegs. Tonight I will back cut each peg with a chisel to make them easier to install. Let’s see 40 pegs and 4 back cuts each equals 160 cuts. Hmmm, no wonder custom made furniture is so expensive.

I also made some wooden shims about 1/16” thick that I will use surrounding the plug during installation to prevent me from tapping the plug flush. The pegs should sit 1/16” proud with the “pillow” top.

I can truly say that the best part of my table will be the pegs.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

5 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4262 days

#1 posted 05-14-2007 09:21 PM

Bill, It sounds good.
Remember the Harmonicats, ”Peg of My Heart” .LOL

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4060 days

#2 posted 05-14-2007 09:21 PM

I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures when the camera gets back. Also, would hope that you will post your jig for us as a project.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4274 days

#3 posted 05-15-2007 03:28 AM

I’d like to see the table and jig for peg making, too. How do you plan to attach your table top to your table?

I had to make these for mine:

-- Jesus is Lord!

View fred's profile


256 posts in 4061 days

#4 posted 05-15-2007 08:26 PM


I am attaching the table top in the same manner. I made up blocks from maple that look just like the ones you have. I cut screw slots in the blocks to allow for movement. I cut a 1/4” dado on the inside of the aprons to accept the blocks.

As soon as I get my camera back I will post the Peg jig.

Update I started the back bevel cuts last night. I was able to get 20 of the pegs done until my fingers were too sore to continue. Tip I scored a line about 1/16” down from the top edge to make it easier to make the back bevel cuts. It is nice and crisp. BTW I found out about the importance of having sharp chisels. I thought the chisels were sharp but after a little fine tuning with the sharpening stone they work extremely well.

Talk about tedious work, sheeeshhh. Fortunately woodworking has taught me all about being patient.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4140 days

#5 posted 05-15-2007 09:43 PM

Fred, great description of the peg jig. I, too, am looking forward to seeing some pic’s. Keep on pegg’n, my friend.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

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