|Project by Dan Wolfgang||posted 05-23-2016 01:31 AM||614 views||0 times favorited||1 comment|
For my first attempt at fine woodworking I decided to make a table for next to our washing machine. It would be hidden away in the basement and really didn’t need to be particularly high quality, so even if I did a horrible job it would still serve its purpose just fine. It proved a great learning experience and turned out pretty well, I think. This was all done by hand. It took me about two months of evenings to complete this.
Since this was my first attempt I didn’t want to waste good wood, so I went to Home Depot and bought a douglas fir 2×8 to build it out of. The legs, cross supports, and skirt is made of that. I really enjoyed cutting the mortise and tenons. When I was finally ready to glue the base together I found that the mortise and tenons didn’t fit well anymore. In fact, they fit poorly! Some of the tenons were visibly twisted, previously smooth pieces now had deep depressions, and a few cracks had even developed. The wood had dried out and moved considerably. This was a big lesson about wood quality and dryness. For a couple of the tenons, I cut the twisted parts off and glued them to the other side to resquare the tenon.
At this point I knew that trying to make the table top out of the douglas fir would result in a disaster—as it dries it would also twist and probably cause bigger trouble, perhaps breaking the table. So, I headed to the local wood store to see what I could find, and came out with a piece of soft maple, and I also grabbed a few cut-offs of white oak because for $2 I couldn’t pass it up. I decided to use a piece of white oak as a “stripe” on the table top because, well, I just thought it would be fun to do. Working with these woods showed off just how much better it is—likely because it’s completely dry. I rounded the edges of the top by eye with planes. I should have made a pencil guideline because one end cut in too far. I used table top fastener hardware to attach the top and base.
I finished the table with Bush Oil. I don’t particularly like how it looks on the dougals fir, but I think it looks good on the top.
The base has some fairly obvious mistakes, mostly thanks to the wood movement. The mortise and tenons aren’t quite as tight as I think they could be. But, it seems quite stable and strong. The top looks pretty good aside from the roundover mistake. I’m pleased with the result, and I think it looks better than a laundry table needs to be!