|Project by WillDyckman||posted 02-10-2015 02:07 AM||2803 views||10 times favorited||18 comments|
This was a student project that incorporated a number of significant ‘firsts’ for me. My first time making butterfly keys, first attempt at a slab table, first use of housed sliding dovetails as attachment between top and base, the list goes on.
The top is an elm burl slab that I picked up from Evan Shively in Marin County, CA. It required six butterfly keys to stabilize the various cracks and checks. I made the keys from lignum vitae that someone at the school shop had discarded as scrap.
The base is made of white oak harvested 30 years ago in northern California. I had hoped to have the base entirely cantilevered, but I went with a compression fit for the joinery (this was for a Japanese woodworking class) and, given the 52” length of the slab, there was too much play when I applied pressure at the extreme end of the top. So I added a small hand-planed walnut dowel as a support to stiffen things up.
The butterfly keys initially fit much better than they do now, for the following reason: on the advice of my teacher I tapered the keys slightly so that I could create a nice tight fit when placing them in their mortises. I then went to hand-plane the keys and top and all of that figured elm coupled with the contrasting grain of the keys resulted in massive tear-out. I ended up having to run the top through the Timesaver and remove almost 1/8” of material—which, while ‘erasing’ the tear-out from my failed attempts at hand-planing, also wore down the keys to the point where I had tapered them, resulting in the gaps that you can see in the photos above.
Still, I’m pretty satisfied with this as a first attempt at a Nakashima-style table, particularly given that the only glue employed was to hold the butterfly keys in their mortises.