|Project by brianl||posted 01-03-2010 05:29 PM||2633 views||13 times favorited||11 comments|
I recently completed work on a tabouret foot stool. I based the design on the old Popular Mechanics book “Mission Furniture: How to make it”. You can find the Tabouret section at (http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/popular-mechanics/Mission-Furniture/How-To-Make-A-Tabouret.html). I altered the dimensions to make the piece to make it 13 inches tall and 11 inches across at the top.
This was my first “real” furniture-making project and it was very rewarding. I made a LOT of mistakes along the way but hopefully the craftsman nature of the piece allows that to add personality and charm.
The piece was made with red oak puchased at my local home center. As I had never worked with hardwoods before, the density and weight of oak compared to pine were quite a shock. I made all the cuts using either a circular saw or a jigsaw as I do not have a table saw. I clamped a straight edge to my worktable and used that to guide the saw.
This was also the first time I did motise and tennon work. While doing so I learned that the cheap set of chisels I bought were not very sharp. During this project I also learned how to use a rasp and a block plane.
If I had been more accurate in my planning or in my tool use I would have liked to have calculated out the angles properly. I did not do this so all of my mortises are custom fit to their particular tennon. There was a lot of “aw shucks it doesn’t fit, where’s that chisel again?”
I had picked up some screws at my home center to use in fastening the cross-braces to the top of the stool. I predrilled the hole and used a #6 screw which quickly decided to shear off while I was putting it in. I learned then and there that the little boxes/bags of screws sold at home centers are very soft and quick to snap. In the future I plan on using square-drive screws.
The mortise and tennon joints were done by first drilling a series of holes then using a coping saw and a chisel to create the opening. A rasp was also occassionally used to fine tune the slot.
The finish was chosen to match existing furniture. Three coats of stain worked out pretty well. I then applied three coats of satin polycrylic to it. In doing so I learned that my sanding was incomplete – the grain popped right through the polyurethane. Next time I’ll have to make sure to sand it more completely. I read about wiping down the surface with water (to raise the grain) and then sanding so I’ll have to try that out.
-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts