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Salad Bar - Making the most of a mundane project

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Project by Brit posted 05-18-2012 02:20 PM 2245 views 1 time favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t going to bother posting this quick and dirty project, but then I thought people might like to know what I do when faced with those day to day woodworking projects that I REALLY don’t want to do. My wife needed a salad bar to hold 14 tupperware containers for our street party.

Let’s be clear though, this is not fine woodworking. This salad bar will be used once and then trashed. Now the quickest way to do it would have been to simply screw the rails onto the face of the legs, jigsaw out the holes in the MDF for the containers and screw the MDF onto the rails, but where’s the fun in that? So I decided to use mortise and tenon joinery. Now I’ve cut loads of mortise and tenon joints before by hand, so I really don’t have to think about the process. Usually though, I take my time and strive for perfection with each one. This time it would be all about speed. Ideally, I wanted them to fit properly right off the saw with no paring.

I used the following method to cut out each mortise.

  1. Drill two 10mm holes to a depth of 15mm.
  2. One paring cut either side inbetween the two holes
  3. Two full depth chopping cuts either end and lever out the waste.

My method for each tenon was:

  1. Two rip cuts for the cheeks.
  2. Two rip cuts to establish a shoulder top and bottom
  3. Four crosscuts around the shoulders to remove the waste.

The first one took me about 10 minutes, but by the end of it I was knocking out a completed mortise and tenon joint in just over 5 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to see that 28 joints fitted acceptably straight off the saw and the other 4 needed only light paring. This little exercise turned this dull project into a bit of fun for me, so the next time SWMBO gets you to do something boring, why not look for a way to challenge yourself.

When my wife saw the four completed units, she said ”See you can work fast if you want to.”

Do you think I’ve made a rod for my own back now?

P.S. – The wife is going to paint them all white at the weekend.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.





32 comments so far

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15240 posts in 1257 days


#1 posted 05-18-2012 02:23 PM

they look fine to me Andy.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View FutureOptimistic's profile

FutureOptimistic

2 posts in 1279 days


#2 posted 05-18-2012 02:30 PM

White? Not red, white and blue?

We do tend to get wrapped up in doing things “perfectly”, don’t we? Perhaps it’s time to recognise that the most beautiful solution isn’t necessarily the best, or most rewarding, solution.

Cripes, philosophy at this time of the morning… I must need more coffee.

-- Maker of fine parallelograms since 2008

View Brit's profile

Brit

5220 posts in 1532 days


#3 posted 05-18-2012 02:39 PM

Thanks Don. Sometimes good enough IS good enough.

FurtureOptimistic – The color will be in the food. :-) It is 15:30 here, so you’re OK.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View terryR's profile

terryR

3219 posts in 998 days


#4 posted 05-18-2012 02:42 PM

Those look geat, Andy…maybe too nice to throw away?

I sure hope the ol’ workmate gets to attend the party, too! :-)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1382 days


#5 posted 05-18-2012 02:56 PM

Nice job, Andy! They could make for some nice dog bowls….for very big dogs.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Brit's profile

Brit

5220 posts in 1532 days


#6 posted 05-18-2012 03:03 PM

Cheers Terry. No the Workmate won’t be making an appearance. I don’t want it getting ideas above it’s station.

LOL Al. Yes for Great Danes or maybe a bath for your dog :-)

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Dave's profile

Dave

11184 posts in 1529 days


#7 posted 05-18-2012 03:14 PM

Making do and building what you need to keep the wife happy. Well done.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View MrsN's profile

MrsN

940 posts in 2215 days


#8 posted 05-18-2012 04:20 PM

You should store them after the party and rent them out for graduation parties and things like that.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View stefang's profile

stefang

13298 posts in 2024 days


#9 posted 05-18-2012 04:56 PM

Hi Brit. Sometimes woodworking is about making practical things and yet a real woodworker like yourself who takes pride in his work cannot bring himself to do it badly. The old saying that ‘any job worth doing is worth doing well’ still applies. This project came out great and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the street party guests come knocking on your door and asking you to make something for them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6845 posts in 1841 days


#10 posted 05-18-2012 05:01 PM

Wow, great fitting joints!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6845 posts in 1841 days


#11 posted 05-18-2012 05:23 PM

Did you drill the Mortices with a Brace?

Also, your shoulder look very clean, did you do the old cut a V with the marking knife to guide your saw?

Your wife sounds like a trip, she just wont cut you any slack…

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

572 posts in 1002 days


#12 posted 05-18-2012 05:41 PM

Brilliant! Make sure the white paint meets all Health and Safety requirements so there is no chance of them being condemned by those who have nothing better to do!
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Brit's profile

Brit

5220 posts in 1532 days


#13 posted 05-18-2012 05:53 PM

Dave – I’m happy to support her and it is kind of nice that she feels comfortable with giving me the responsibility of making all this stuff and leaving me to get on with it.

MrsN – We have talked about storing some stuff and renting it out afterwards and we might do that. We have personally funded 4 huge marquees to the tune of £1500, because renting them wasn’t really any cheaper. After the event, we will probably rent them out a couple of times and then sell them on. That way we should easily make a profit on them.

Stefang – My dad was always saying that to me when I was a lad and I’ve never forgotten it. Sometimes though, I have to force myself to work to a lower standard in the interest of speed/cost. I used to find that really hard to do, but I’m getting better at it now I think.

Mauricio – Thanks, they’re good enough. Don’t forget that I’m working with soft pine so clamping the joints in parallel clamps compresses the fibers to some degree. It wouldn’t look that good if I’d used hard maple. I didn’t use a first class saw cut (V-cut), but I did scribe the shoulders with a marking knife.

My wife is the best organizer I’ve ever met. She thinks of every little detail and as far as the street party is concerned, she is the boss and I am merely an unpaid hand. Once the street party is over though, I’m allowed to have an opinion again. Don’t get the wrong idea, we are always being sarcastic with each other and taking the p*ss out of each other. She’s not really a tyrant.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5220 posts in 1532 days


#14 posted 05-18-2012 05:55 PM

Good point Jim. Mind you any white paint is better than MDF right?

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5220 posts in 1532 days


#15 posted 05-18-2012 05:58 PM

Mauricio – Forgot to say that no I didn’t use a brace. I used a cordless drill with a 10mm lip and spur bit and some blue tape for a depth stop.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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