|Project by CincyRW||posted 06-13-2014 02:01 AM||1130 views||2 times favorited||9 comments|
I made this table as part of a community education woodworking class through the Cincinnati Art Academy. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.
The stretchers and legs are made of S4S poplar from a big box store. The top is oak, which I purchased at Woodcraft.
The stretchers and legs are mortise and tennon. I cut the mortises using a router jig that the class instructor had made and set up himself. The stretcher tennons were cut on a table saw using a tennoning jig. I cut the taper on the legs using a band saw, as the school didn’t have a tapering jig for their table saw. In hindsight, this sucked as I had lots of “cleanup” to do on the bandsaw cuts. I cleaned up the cuts using a hand plane, by the way. It was a little awkward at first, but the plane was key in helping me blend in the taper in and keep them even across the 4 legs.
For the top, I cut two sections out of the oak board, jointed them and glued them up with 3 biscuits. I intentionally chose kind of a weird pattern in the grain for the top surface as I thought it would make it look interesting. The bottom is pretty symmetrical, even lines of grain – pretty, but honestly not that interesting to look at.
I had trouble gluing up the top. I may not have had my biscuit cuts completely dialed in so the boards went together a bit uneven. This really wasn’t an issue as I had to plane down the top anyway to get it flat. I just planed the seam between the two boards while I was at it. A guy in the class had brought in his hand planes which seemed to be the absolute perfect tool to use for this. I really enjoyed working with those hand planes. When I got the table top dead flat, I cut it square and to the proper size on the table saw. I then cut the bevel on the bottom on my brand new router table (seriously, this was like the 4th piece of wood I had sent through my router table).
When I picked up the poplar, it was very green. I placed the wood outside in the sunlight over a weekend and what a difference it made. It only took a couple hours until you could see a very noticeable change in the wood. It went from green to greenish brown to brown. The longer I kept it in the sun, the more brown the poplar turned. I really could see a very noticeable difference in the wood only after a couple hours in the sun. I’d highly recommend this if you’re not nuts about the green cast to poplar.
I finished the entire table in a few coats of Danish oil. I’ve never used it before and it really seems to be very easy to work with and gave me exactly the finish I was looking for. I topped it off with a single coat of paste wax, but I really don’t think that was necessary.
What I learned:
Be meticulous. You can’t get nice tight joints if you rush or don’t sweat the setup of your machines.
Expect to spend much more time than you thought with setup and measuring and dialing things in. I probably spent double the time doing this than I did cutting or assembling.
I’m very pleased with the way this turned out. I learned a bunch of new skills that will serve me well. This project really increased my confidence. Thanks for looking!