|Project by jsheaney||posted 10-18-2010 07:09 AM||3483 views||4 times favorited||5 comments|
This is a bookcase/sofa table I made for myself. The first picture shows most of the features. This is my own design, which I first modeled in SketchUp. I’ll mention right up front that there is something peculiar about the top row of through tenons. I reveal what it is at the end of this; maybe you’ll have figured it out by then.
The wood is quartersawn white oak and Brazilian cherry. The wedges and the keys in the miters are also Brazilian cherry. The finish is two coats of Bush Oil with four coats of poly just on the top panel. I then rubbed out the top with rottenstone, which I highly recommend for a nice polished finish. I got away with not doing any pore filling, but I think it would have been just a little nicer if I had.
When I started this project, it was going to be my first piece of furniture. It got interrupted by the hall table, so it actually became the second. As such, I was mainly interested in using it as a learning project. My local Woodcraft store happened to be low on QSWO when I went shopping for wood, so the wood selection isn’t particular consistent. But you can see some very prominent flecking on the inside face of the left side. Of course, you have to catch the right lighting. I’m amazed by how different QSWO looks in different lighting from different angles.
I really wanted to use wedged tenons on this project, so the shelves are all haunched into dados in the side with three wedged tenons. The haunch becomes a tongue along the entire back that fits into a groove in the back support. Both shelves have very good support on each side and the back. The bottom shelf also has support in the front from the kick panel. It feels very solid. Even with the open back, it’s pretty heavy.
The top panel sits raised in a mitered, beveled frame. The panel itself is 8” wide and the sides are 11” deep or so. Therefore, I figured I needed to account for wood movement. I cut a centered groove around the outside of the panel and around the inside of the frame, so they interlock. I inserted a square peg at the center of each of the four sides of the panel, extending down from the bottom face. I then cut a matching notch at the center of each side of the frame, so as the panel expands and contracts it will always stay centered within the frame. The panel is then screwed directly to the case along the center and the outer edges of the panel are connected to the case with those angled metal tabletop fasteners. It kind of pinches the beveled frame between the two. It’s as if the frame is floating centered between the top panel and the case, but it’s the case and the top panel that are moving in unison.
Much of this was done with hand tools. I don’t have a jointer or a planer, so all of that was done with hand planes. Each of the two shelves and the two side are glued up panels, so that was a bit of work. I routed all the dados and grooves, but pretty much all the other joinery was done with hand tools. I did the cross grain tenons on the ends of one of the shelves mainly with a rabbet plane, but even with the skewed blade I was getting some significant tearout. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t matter because it would be hidden, but I couldn’t tolerate it in this case because it creates gaps in the through tenons. I hogged off most of the cheeks of the second shelf with the tablesaw. Then I finessed the cheeks and shoulders with a shoulder plane.
OK, so here’s the secret of the top row of tenons. There’s no way I could drive wedges into tenons that are so close to the top of the case. It would have just busted out the top. If you look carefully you might be able to see that the bottom of those tenons are inline with the bottom of the three upper supports. That’s because just the bottom part of those tenons are actually through tenons. The upper part and the center strip, which is the “wedge”, are inlays to make them look like the other real wedged tenons. I knew when I modeled it that I couldn’t use wedged tenons at the top, but I wanted to use them for the shelves, so this was my solution.
This was a very educational project. It’s one of those projects I’d like to do all over again because I know I could do it better. But I have other projects ahead of me that are more important. Maybe someday.
-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.