I recently got a 6 foot length of sycamore which I cut in half in order to make a chopping block/table 3 foot by 2foot.
Even after cutting in half the boards were so badly twisted that I had to split them length ways in order to flatten and plane them without removing too much material
The picture above shows the boards sawn ready for jointing and planing.
I first of all flattened one face on the jointer and then put them through the thicknesser to achieve a consistent thickness.
Although splitting the boards down into four pieces and then joining them together after planing is a bit of a chore,
it saved at least half an inch of timber on the thickness and a lot of wear and tear on the machinery and me.
Once the boards were square I dowelled them prior to glue up. Given the length and thickness of the jointed
edges, glue alone is sufficient and dowels or biscuits are not needed for extra strength. They do however help with alignment which is why I use them.
After dowelling the pieces were put in clamps and left overnight for the glue to dry.
Once dry, the top was cleaned up, sanded to 240 grit and 5 coats of Danish oil applied.
The pictures above show the top before and after oiling. Now for the base.
The base is made from Scandinavian pine which has a nice character and is easy to work
I used the sliding table on the table saw to cut everything to length and square the end.s
With the legs and stretchers cut ot length I next rounded over the corners on the legs to give them a softer more rustic look.
I ganged the legs togetheer to mark the position of the bottom shelf supporst.
I decided to use a combination of dowel and pocket hole joinery to construct the piece. Dowelsl would have been sufficient but I find that using pocket hole screws as well as dowels does away with the need for clamps and makes for a very quick assembly process, in addition to strengthening the joint.
The final job before assembly was to sand and finish the pieces.
I find it much better to sand and apply finish before assembly as all the parts are easily accessible.
Halfway through the assebly.
Once the base was assembled the slats for the shelf were cut, rounded over and fitted.
The top was then fitted, again using pocket screws and apart from optional castors the piece was finished.
Although my experience of this type of piece is that the more it is used and abused the better it looks I can’t bring myself to distress it…..
-- chris, north wales http://salemchapelfurniture.co.uk/