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Arts & Crafts Flip Top Table

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Project by Steve Erwin posted 04-02-2016 04:04 AM 1361 views 9 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a standing offer that everyone in my family gets to choose (at least) one thing for me to make them. I explain this offer with enough seriousness that they don’t choose without thinking. My intention is to make them something that will last for the rest of their lives. Maybe I succeed in that and maybe I don’t, but however it turns out, I’m offering to put all of my effort, focus and skill into it, for them, and that’s the real gift anyway.

My brother, Jason, had a need for a bigger table in his small apartment. But he doesn’t want a table that takes up tons of space all the time, so it would be nice if it was collapsible for when it’s just him and expandable when he has guests over. Most of his furniture is in the Arts & Crafts style, so I brought him to the Stickley showroom and we walked around until he saw something he liked.

This is my close approximation of a Stickley Flip Top Table. Their table is a little smaller than this, and I went a little overboard on the joinery for the sake of strength and longevity, and because I like to challenge myself.

Here’s the rundown:

Started August 28, 2015

Completed March 31, 2016

Closed Dimensions: 30-3/4” H x 40” W x 40” L

Open Dimensions: 29-7/8” H x 40” W x 80” L

Finishing Recipe

  1. sand to 120 grit
  2. dampen all surfaces with hot water, let dry completely
  3. sand to 180 grit
  4. flood with aniline dye, wipe dry, let dry completely
  5. flood with boiled linseed oil, wipe dry, let cure for a day or two, dispose of oily rags safely
  6. shellac, let dry completely
  7. lightly scuff sand with 320 grit
  8. gel stain, let haze, scrub off, let dry completely
  9. polyurethane coat #1, let dry completely
  10. lightly scuff sand with 320 grit
  11. poly coat #2, let dry completely
  12. lightly scuff sand with 320 grit
  13. poly coat #3, let dry completely
  14. lightly scuff sand with 320 grit
  15. poly coat #4 (really light coat), let dry completely
  16. rub with grey nonwoven fiber pad to a dull, even sheen
  17. paste wax, let haze, buff to a shine

Joinery Highlights

  • tongue & groove table top panels (unnecessary, next time I’ll just do biscuits, less chance of alignment errors)
  • drawbored & spring jointed breadboard ends
  • haunched & drawbored through mortise & tenon joints in the legs
  • quadrilinear legs (cuz I’m a glutton for punishment)
  • corbels with tongues set into grooves
  • double-thick, double-tenoned guide rails, for stiffness
  • sliding dovetail stiffener down the middle
  • dovetailed separator to keep everything parallel and rigid
  • dovetailed corner braces (a neat little challenge)
  • hand-mortised hinges with clocked screwheads (cuz I drank the kool-aid)
  • felt-lined the top of the base to make it easier to slide the table tops (and because it makes a really sweet shooshing noise)

I think that’s it.

And here’s a few extra photos of the build process for your viewing pleasure:

Quadrilinear Legs

Breadboard Ends

Hinge Mortises

Sketchup Detail of the Apron Joinery

Sketchup of the Base Assembly

The Base Completed

Had to darken the hinges as we didn’t like the shiny yellow brass. Jax Brown Brass Darkener worked like a charm!

And the dedication… may he never need another table for as long as he lives.

If you’d like more information about each step of the process, feel free to check out my blog. I tried to keep a regular journal of the build.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. - http://honeydowoodworking.blogspot.com





19 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1403 posts in 2956 days


#1 posted 04-02-2016 04:20 AM

This actually made me a little misty-eyed. Thanks for posting. I’m looking forward to future builds. I hope you have a large family…

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7611 posts in 2240 days


#2 posted 04-02-2016 04:20 AM

Wow,

VERY NICE! It will be a family heirloom that is well crafted and made with love!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Jamie McDonald's profile

Jamie McDonald

93 posts in 1678 days


#3 posted 04-02-2016 05:35 AM

Pretty amazing! Who gets one next? I like your obsession with the joinery and design concept. Anything worth building is worth putting a lot of thought into especially for the ones you love. You also have to look at it every time you go to your brothers… It should be like greeting another family memeber. Did your brother help you with any of the build process? I don’t think some of our family and friends know quite how much time and consideration goes into the work from the start of design to the completed piece. This kind of work is truly for the passionate at heart.

-- Jamie McDonald, Buford GA

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

1102 posts in 1019 days


#4 posted 04-02-2016 09:05 AM

more than impressed but I would have been totally disappointed if you had not kept the screw slots in line and symetrical ‹(•¿•)›

Great build !!

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - Your imagination is your only holdup

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2505 posts in 1654 days


#5 posted 04-02-2016 11:24 AM

Steve, that is superb craftsmanship. Your brother is one lucky guy; I doubt the ones in the Stickley store were as well made.

-- Art

View BB1's profile

BB1

385 posts in 245 days


#6 posted 04-02-2016 11:47 AM

What an inspiring project. Using your talent in this way is really a gift. I really appreciate all the details you provided.

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

129 posts in 1450 days


#7 posted 04-02-2016 01:24 PM

@Jamie McDonald

Who gets one next?

I think there are four people left to receive something. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two sons. The ladies get to pick their thing, but I think I’ll delve into the Shaker style for a change and build a bed and nightstand for each of my sons down the road.

Did your brother help you with any of the build process? I don t think some of our family and friends know quite how much time and consideration goes into the work from the start of design to the completed piece.

Originally, he said he wanted to take part in the build, but he got busy with work and it really isn’t his cup of tea to focus that intensely for such a prolonged period of time. He helped me carry the lumber down to my basement and sort through it to find the right parts and pick out the boards for his table tops. I’m pretty paranoid of handing someone else a saw and watching them remove too much wood at a key location, so I told him I’d call him when the simple stuff came around. (shifty eyes) I guess it never got simple. Oh well. :P

But they all (my family members) know how much time and attention I put into this stuff. I spent a couple months just on the SketchUp model and confirmed the dimensions with his apartment and made sure he was confident this is what he wanted before I ordered the wood.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. - http://honeydowoodworking.blogspot.com

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

129 posts in 1450 days


#8 posted 04-02-2016 01:27 PM

@ Everybody
Thank you for all the kind words. You folks are pretty alright.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. - http://honeydowoodworking.blogspot.com

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1403 posts in 2956 days


#9 posted 04-02-2016 01:36 PM

And the coolest thing is that unlike commissioned work that you never get to see again, you get to see your stuff every time you go over to someone else’s place!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

129 posts in 1450 days


#10 posted 04-02-2016 01:38 PM

@CaptainSkully

And the coolest thing is that unlike commissioned work that you never get to see again, you get to see your stuff every time you go over to someone else’s place!

That could be a curse or a blessing :-) Depends on how it turned out. Those end grain cherry cutting boards I made as Christmas gifts for everybody one year all warped like potato chips and cracked :P

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. - http://honeydowoodworking.blogspot.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115105 posts in 2974 days


#11 posted 04-02-2016 02:27 PM

Very nice table Steve ,super workmanship and great photos plus detailed info. Thanks for sharing.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View JimYoung's profile

JimYoung

209 posts in 984 days


#12 posted 04-02-2016 02:36 PM

Simply beautiful.

-- -Jim, "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon

View david38's profile

david38

2324 posts in 1741 days


#13 posted 04-02-2016 02:41 PM

LOOKS GREAT

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

22562 posts in 2264 days


#14 posted 04-02-2016 03:27 PM

This table is beautiful. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

129 posts in 1450 days


#15 posted 04-02-2016 05:07 PM

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the kind words.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. - http://honeydowoodworking.blogspot.com

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