Shaker style table - Yellow?

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Project by dustyal posted 10-22-2009 02:03 AM 2131 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dear wife says she said “Cherry.”
I heard “Canary.”
So, we have a Twitty Bird Yellow shaker style table.

This is a product of the Mason Dixon Woodworker’s workshops on a couple of Saturdays this month. I’ll talk LJ’ers Karson or Ed into posting more about the workshop itself. (gentlemen, are you listening?)

Actually my daughter claimed rights to this table very quickly. Now my wife has spec’d out her own version for me to build.

Poplar. 29” tall; 22” square top. Canary yellow water base aniline dye—my first attempt at using dye. Three coats of wipe on poly. Late addition of a drawer with hand cut dovetails on four corners and apron used as false front. No knob on drawer as a “delete” option from the claimee. A hidden drawer…?

Legs taper from 1.5” to 1” on inside faces. 4” aprons mortise and tenon joints. Top is biscuit glue up. A little dip in the center came about some point in the process. I think I know why after reading an article. Didn’t alternate clamps, too much pressure, jointed surface not perfect, etc. But, acceptable…

Photo 4: Please note the plan… a very professional detailed blueprint drawn by Ed. The plan kept everyone on the same page and that made it all possible. Keeping six of us on track in one shop building tables isn’t all that easy. We machined at the workshop and brought our homework home for fine tuning and glue ups.

Photo 5: The table was square and flat to the floor on the first try… no re-do’s. Thank you very much!

Photo 6: The claimee immediately noticed the detail beading on the bottom edge of the aprons. She was excited about that. Hardly noticeable in the photo… but the beading was hand cut with a beading plane provided by Ed. I kept shavings for a souvenir—a highly rewarding experience to include Ed showing me how to use it. I posted a review of the cutting mat that the table is sitting on. It helped to do the layout and glue up. I used some red tape to help eyeball that parts were straight as I installed the top with Z brackets in slots running along the backside of the aprons.

I’ll continue to praise the gentlemen of the MDWW org. Pat volunteered his shop and carried out at least four barrels of wood shavings from all the jointing and planning we did. It is real nice to work in a shop that will hold that many woodworkers all running equipment simultaneously. Okay, Karson had to show up and do his table in some exotic burl wood… couldn’t do poplar like the rest of us… LOL… One day I’ll get to the point of trying some really nice wood, but actually, I was very pleased with the way the poplar and the yellow dye turned out. Table looks better than the photos.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

11 comments so far

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3784 days

#1 posted 10-22-2009 02:05 AM

I’m sure the Shakers would approve of the design, maybe not the color.

Nice Table!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#2 posted 10-22-2009 02:18 AM

Nice looking table.

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3619 days

#3 posted 10-22-2009 02:59 AM

Great work!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#4 posted 10-22-2009 03:27 AM

Al you are something else. Cherry/canary. You said you were going to try Dye, but I didn’t know you had a hearing problem.

Looks great. I’ll have to see it in person. will it around for the banquet.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3529 days

#5 posted 10-22-2009 04:01 AM

I like Poplar for a few reasons 1) the price is always right. 2) not too hard on tools and 3) it takes stains well. Having said that it also is prone to blotching and the sap wood react to dyes very differently. Whenever I build out of Poplar now I use “textile” dyes it is water base so prepare for grain raising big time, but it seems to blend better. Yeah you look out of place in the fabric section with a tape measure full of saw dust and pencil over your ear but I got over that. They have a wide variety of colours and it is relatively inexpensive.

Nice table well built colour is interesting.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#6 posted 10-22-2009 06:03 AM

Al Stop over by and we’ll come up with some wood for a cherry version for your wife.

My treat. No tricks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 10-22-2009 06:19 AM

Dusty a great table ,I think shakers started there base coats with a yellow very close to the color that you have made this table.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3393 days

#8 posted 10-22-2009 02:42 PM

It is a nice looking table. As far as the color goes, the Shakers did use yellow chrome pigment to color some of their pieces. There are several cabinets in the Hancock Village in Pittsfield Mass that have yellow panels in the doors. If you add some brown overglaze ( to mute the color a bit) you would be pretty close to the coloration found in authentic Shaker pieces.

View dustyal's profile


1295 posts in 3504 days

#9 posted 10-23-2009 01:53 AM

The dye idea was all Trifern’s fault from his beautiful vessel turnings and dye finishes. I wanted to do something with black base, blue, then yellow layers, but in practice it turned out muddy and green. So, I stuck with the basic yellow. The table just wasn’t the right project to practice on. But, it hit a homer with my daughter since it is a good table and color for her decor.

My shaker books talk and show designs and furniture detail but they don’t talk about finishes used. I wasn’t into making something too authentic but I think I would like to play around with this concept on smaller projects perhaps. It was just a change from convention…

Karson, I’d like to stop by sometime and see your shop and INVENTORY. I can never organize it. My wife has also placed an order for a Cherry dining room table. She will accept poplar for the shaker table that I may do in orange aide….

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4056 days

#10 posted 10-23-2009 06:42 AM

The grace of simplicity and economy. I like it.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Catenary's profile


8 posts in 3322 days

#11 posted 11-06-2009 03:44 AM

Al, I like your poplar table too – nice straightforward lines and a pleasing ratio of leg to top. I used Articidol #1843 (Light Pear) from Highland Woodworking for my poplar washstand. If memory serves, I washed it at least three times and found that succeeding washes were having little-to-no effect.

-- David

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