Exercises in Artisanship #19: Rustic Renaissance Trestle Table: Part 2

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 06-25-2012 11:09 PM 1885 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Rustic Renaissance Trestle Table: Part 1 Part 19 of Exercises in Artisanship series Part 20: Rustic Renaissance Trestle Table: Part 3 »

Well here I am once more working on something that’s a first for me, seeing things as I go and gaining more experience with each shaving thick or thin. These exercises in artisanship have taught me a great amount of many do’s and some don’ts…lol

For this project I wanted a piece that I could have in my living room that had a feeling of energy and a renaissance vibe to it. I have had the opportunity so far to laminate, cut and smooth out my first set of legs.

This work being all handtools took a little more time to make things right as bare eye can attest to…lol, so I glady took that time to make my sides even up and cross my fingers for the laying out of the mortices.

Pic 1-3: Going to task on the mortices was a far more improved output than in previous endeavours. Of course that is only the actual mortice work…the joining of the tenons will be something altogether different…lol. I have learned to get your mortice work to move along with good structure, always keep the bevel of your chisel in the direction you are moving towards. This helps to really take a great deal of wood down in height…almost to the point where you need to be careful and flip your work piece before you break out! The measures here were total old school eye and instincts….of course actual measures were taken….but this sort of work really demands you to pick it up in the confidence area. Sometimes you just have to reach down within yourself and make things happen. I find this work a never ending fascination of tightroping along with humble hands that execute with strong belief! If I was to think any other way…I might as well put the tools away and close the shop up…..and if my brain is not processing the information in the correct manner….I do just that and down goes the door…!

Pic 4: Now that we have the wood removed we can trace the pattern to the new lamination and do it all again!

Pic 5-7: This time I choose to make relief cuts around the entire pencil trace and will copesaw in small increments which allows for an easier time working the cope saw around the design. Knots and all…..the wood of any species always has it’s challenges planned for the road ahead. I see some speed bumps…..lmao. But we can always find a spot on the map and get to point b.

Pic 8-10: Time for some mock up shots…..these are total roughs friends…..I just needed to get the view of the 2 legs and something I could drop on like a table top….this is far from how can look….lol. I really love the side flow of the curves…..almost like easing waves….I almost went with more harsh, sharp and gothic like cut out embellishments…..I am glad I stuck to my guns and went with my first internal idea.

Ok….we are getting there and this is looking close to the sketched plan that would look like scibbled pencil to most….lol.

This project is all about chances…new directions. I have past pieces that I am proud of more for the fact that I took a risk rather than how it ultimately looked when finished. I think that is important in this hobby…..find your style…..but also try something new. I have little interest in doing a total copy of a time treasured classic, of matching a historical artistic stlye curve by curve. I feel this stage of the wood work game needs to be with my specific spirit…..rebellious, free of styles in some ways.

As in my knowledge of music and teaching students the guitar….I have always said…..none of these chords or scales are new….we are just using them as tools….and finding our personal touches and ideas with them…....I feel this is the case with woodworking.

You may spend your hours and work on a copy of someone elses ideas, or you can take that time and find out what your own imagination may surprise you with using various routines and exercises from many past masters!

No matter wether you copy or create something brand new from your own minds eye….if you are having fun….you have nothing to be bothered by but much to learn from and enjoy.

Thanks for your time and inspirations.

More next time, be well!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

9 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2402 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 11:47 PM

Always like reading your blogs. You are doing a great job and I have learned a lot from all the blogs you’ve done. Keep up the good work and the blogs.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2834 days

#2 posted 06-26-2012 01:03 AM

Nice job and a galoot of a project. Keep up the good work.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15342 posts in 2612 days

#3 posted 06-26-2012 01:13 AM

Joe, very cool post and project! I like the way you’re approacing this one, keep ‘em coming!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Brit's profile


7373 posts in 2837 days

#4 posted 06-26-2012 05:29 AM

There’s no better way to start your day,
Just read Joe’s blog and go on your way.

Great sentiments Joe. I couldn’t agree more.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2798 days

#5 posted 06-26-2012 11:51 AM

Nicely done, and well documented

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3146 days

#6 posted 06-26-2012 07:07 PM

Nice build Joe, thats going to be a solid and unique table.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View lysdexic's profile


5254 posts in 2617 days

#7 posted 06-26-2012 07:25 PM

You are right. It is about taking chances, finding new directions, and following your instinct. It is hard and you must have courage. I am currently following a plan. It is safe. It is easy. It is un-inspiring.


-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#8 posted 06-27-2012 03:05 PM

Excellent blog Joe, not only the excellent handwork, but also encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and to try something original. I realize that many of us are content to just show off our woodworking skills, and let’s face it, we are not all gifted at designing stuff. Regardless, I think it’s worth the risk to go a little crazy sometime. The result can be something maybe not regarded by others as beautiful, but like and ugly dog, you can still love it.

BTW, seeing the through tenons reminded me of a FWW article where holes were drilled through the workpiece in the corners of the mortise layout before chopping so that it would be clearly marked for finish chopping from the other side. I wondered if you used that technique because your mortises looked so good.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 06-30-2012 03:07 AM

Thanks everyone for looking in. I always enjoy your work and get such a great inspiration from it! poet you!.....lmao….thanks for enjoying the blogs, I sure appreciate your fine work and knowledge! Us left handed folk have to stick together!

*stefang:* I actually just used the methods I have learned with Paul Sellers which is basically lay the mortices out, then use your ruler and knife to set score marks (on both front side and back) and go to work with a bench chisel…..yes, a bench chisel… need for the morticing chisel…....I was very surprised but Paul shows you how to effectively accomplish it with little worry.

Once more thanks for your terrific story on the your trip to see your son and set up shop…...wonderful and my best hopes he is well and enjoying some woodwork!

All the best!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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