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My first year of woodworking "thesis" - Arts and crafts end table

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Project by lumberjoe posted 10-30-2012 06:19 PM 2246 views 3 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This table represents the culmination of my skills thus far. As the weather changes n the north east, my un-climate controlled shop is winding down to a close. I started woodworking in March of this year. Before that I have only tinkered and never really made anything out of wood. My goal, albeit lofty, was to create a table in this style I am quite pleased with this, but as always it is far from perfect and there is a lot I would change. I feel I utilized the really curly wood as best as I could. However if I had to do it over, I would have cut the top into 3/4 strips and used the side grain. The randomness of the grain in all 3 pieces is interesting, but there is no rhyme or reason to it and I find it distracting.

Statistics Wood – Ash (a lot of it curly) and Walnut accents

Dimensions – 21” tall, top is 21” wide and 24” long

Construction – Mostly mortise and tenon, the top is attached with figure 8’s

Details - Over-sized breadboard ends, edges chamfered, pinned with walnut dowels

- Shallow V grooves cut into the vertical slats

- Legs are slightly pointed toward the bottom and inlayed with walnut

- I wanted to keep the piece “light” looking so I added a 3 piece shelf accented with walnut


Finish – 2 coats of danish oil, 5 coats of GF Arm-R-Seal semi gloss – sprayed. The top is buffed out with Minwax furniture paste wax applied with 0000 steel wool.

I had a lot of trouble with the top warping. It had to be cut and re-glued 3 times. This also represented a lot of firsts for me. This is my first time with arts and crafts anything. My first inlay of any kind, my first breadboard ends, and my first time spraying finish. I am never going back to brushing or wiping. There are no runs, sags, or brush marks at all. A very quick pass with some 600 grit was all that was required for the next coat.

The corbels were the worst for me. I don’t have a bandsaw and am TERRIBLE with a jig saw. about 75% of the shaping was done with some 60 grit on a spindle sander.

Overall I don’t thing this is that bad. From not owning any woodworking tools at all to this in 7 months is an accomplishment for me. I also have many of you guys to thank! I can’t wait to see what I can do by this time next year

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts





35 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1085 posts in 790 days


#1 posted 10-30-2012 06:34 PM

Very, very nice “First”. I can imagine it sitting in a receptionist’s area of a major corporation or Dr.’s office or in a entry hall of many southern homes. Hope you are able to continue your efforts soon in 2013. Maybe expand on your toolage. Be wise in your choices for your advanced shop equipment.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#2 posted 10-30-2012 06:43 PM

Thanks Handtooler. I can’t wait to get back at it. I actually made this for my office to put my printer on, but my wife already put it in the living room. So it needs a brother and a coffee table that matches. I have no clue where I will get more curly ash though. I do plan on expanding my tool collection a bit. “Santa” is going to bring me a few things, but of note I will be adding the following to my shop (not necessarily in order):

1 – Properly install and hook up my DC
2 – A (working) bandsaw
3 – Hollow chisel mortiser
4 – A large Belt/disk sander
5 – A jointer, but most likely of the hand tool variety (woodriver V3)
6 – Build a proper bench.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

94 posts in 710 days


#3 posted 10-30-2012 06:45 PM

This looks really great! You should be proud of yourself. I’d say greater than half of woodworking is just creative problem solving, both in joining the wood and in using the tools you have to reach your goal.

My only feedback with regard to your comments about distracting grain patterns are as follows:
  • in one of your next tables, use a single length of board for your apron and skirt so that the grain “wraps” all the way around the table. It’s a subtle detail that most people might not realize at first glance, but subconsciously I think it adds to the piece… and it’s a detail I really enjoy.
  • you can apply the same “single board” approach to the vertical slats so the grain “leaps” over the gaps between them and your eye can connect the grain patterns.
  • The best visual case for a table top is going to be a single board or a bookmatched panel. That’s not easy to do without your own bandsaw, but you could buy them precut at the mill.
  • I really like the dark wood motif repeated throughout the piece. It makes it feel cohesive.
  • You picked nice straight grain for the legs and bread board ends. I think that’s a good choice. The quieter, linear quality of the bread board ends “encapsulates” the crazy grain of the table top…. (if you want to have a metaphorical justification for it :P)

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

3425 posts in 1525 days


#4 posted 10-30-2012 06:47 PM

I would say this is work of very skilled woodworker with very good sence for design

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#5 posted 10-30-2012 06:53 PM

Thanks for the tips. that is all really good info. The verticals are actually all cut from the same board. However my wife’s cat knocked them off the bench and they got really out of order. I couldn’t tell where they should go until I put finish down. At that point it was way too late.

I actually did use a single board for the aprons, however I had a piece left over that looked amazing. I used that for the top and bottom aprons in the front. I know they stand out quite a bit, but I like it.

Believe it or not, those legs are laminated. That’s two 4/4 boards glued together. the Inlay is not through the seam either. I felt it would compromise the glue joint.
I’m glad you like the walnut. I tried to keep it as subtle as possible as it is really easy to get carried away. I actually didn’t even use walnut plugs the first time around. I used brass pins. They just didn’t fit with the rest of the piece so I replaced them with the walnut.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1891 days


#6 posted 10-30-2012 06:54 PM

Really nice. I love ash and walnut together. Your wife will keep you busy for years to come – as does mine. I like your wish list. I also “needed” this power tool and that power tool. Thankfully the funds weren’t there to throw my money away. Once you find out what a hand plane/tools can do, woodworking becomes really enjoyable. But, you definitely NEED a proper bench.

I also was in the IT world for over 35 years. And when I retired I wanted nothing to do with computers and stuff. Other than LJs here and a few emails, the rest of my time is spent in the shop. or out-and-about with my wife.

-- Don

View jap's profile

jap

1229 posts in 712 days


#7 posted 10-30-2012 06:57 PM

Great looking table, i also second gildedrain comments on the random grain pattern.

-- Joel

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#8 posted 10-30-2012 07:12 PM

Also, I had the top oriented much differently. If you rearrange all 3 pieces (and flip one of them over) the grain flowed together pretty well. The piece on the left REALLY wants to cup, and that one needs to be in the middle to look nice. Even left in clamps and cauls for 2 weeks, it would warp within a few days after I took them off. This was the only configuration I could get it to stay flat. Design took a back seat to dimensional stability here.

In addition the corbels were an afterthought. I messed up. When I cut the front aprons, I forgot to add an extra inch for the tenons. That reduced the overall width and the overhang on the top went from the planned 1/2” to 1 1/2” – WAY too much overhang. I’m kind of glad though because they look nice.

Thanks for the tips guys, keep them coming!

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1085 posts in 790 days


#9 posted 10-30-2012 07:21 PM

Thanks Glidedrain for your GREAT advice. Many will profit from these wise points. I have never considered the artistic benefits fron grain direction and matching. SO well put. Thanks for so nicely offering your positive critical comments.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

94 posts in 710 days


#10 posted 10-30-2012 07:45 PM

@Handtooler: I’ve just recently started really paying attention to grain patterns and how they affect the overall design. It’s just another layer of problem-solving on top of the joinery and finishing.

I’ll admit it’s particularly challenging, especially when you don’t like your lumber mill. A great lumber mill can really help you bring your projects to that “fine furniture” level. They know the wood, how it behaves, and more importantly, where it’s hiding in their lumber pile :)

If you can find a mill that works with you to find the perfect boards for your project, you’re going to have a lot more success with grain matching. I like the idea of buying all the boards from the same tree (to ensure the color and grains match perfectly), but I can’t quite afford that yet.

This is the article I read that really got me thinking about this sorta thing.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#11 posted 10-30-2012 07:54 PM

These boards (there were 3) came from the same tree. I love my lumber mill. He owns all the land and all the trees on them for the wood he sells. I’ve asked him to resaw for me, but he doesn’t like to. He did mention he has more curly ash in the kiln now, so I am going to pick it up this weekend.

For bookmatches, do you veneer? Most of his stuff is 4/4. It is pretty thick before planing, but I like to keep my table tops about 7/16”. I don’t think I could get two 7/16 or 3/4 boards out of it (after planing each piece to get the shag off)

For the next table, I was planning on milling the material to about 1” or whatever gets it smooth, then cutting into 7/16 strips. I would then glue up all the strips so the side grain shows on the top. That would be the worst glue up ever, but I think it would come out awesome.

Thanks a lot for that article! I am a paid member, I’ll read up on it a bit later.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

94 posts in 710 days


#12 posted 10-30-2012 08:12 PM

@lumberjoe: I haven’t done any bookmatching yet (or veneering). I originally went to the mill looking for a pretty grained 6/4 or 8/4 piece of cherry, which would be thick enough that I could resaw and finish plane down to 3/4” thick panels for my tool cabinet doors. I looked around for about an hour and at the very end, tripped on a precut bookmatched set of curly cherry which was close to my final dimensions, so I grabbed that instead, saving myself the effort.

7/16” sounds pretty thin for a table top to me, but tastes may vary. I tend to stick with 3/4” table tops for most work. If it’s a smaller scale / delicate piece I’ll go down toward 1/2” or 3/8” for a lid on something like a jewelry box, and if it’s larger scale I’ll try 7/8” or 1” with an under-bevel to “lighten” the look a bit.

I’m wondering if your table top on this project is warping because it’s only 7/16” thick. If that’s really true (it looks thicker than that in the photos) then perhaps a thicker top would provide greater stability across the span.

Your idea for the side-grain-butcher-block top might run into trouble (grain-wise) in that not all side grain is the same. It really depends on how the grain is running through each board and where within each board you make your cuts. Check out this (free) video.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born.

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1085 posts in 790 days


#13 posted 10-30-2012 08:29 PM

Gildedrain, How do you make use of reverse grain boards? Wow can they cause some headaches in thinner lumber but look interesting to me in tops of 8-9/4 in lengths of 5-7’ for causal outdoor or rec-room applications.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#14 posted 10-30-2012 08:36 PM

Sorry, I meant 13/16”. I generally work in Metric and get fractions wrong a lot :). I like my table tops about 21mm thick, which is a bit over 3/4”. I never have good luck finding curly pieces of any decent length over 4/4 unless I want to pay a fortune.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

1786 posts in 846 days


#15 posted 10-30-2012 09:16 PM

Joe – Wow!!!!! Congratulations! What a major leap in seven months. That table has so many cool aspects. We already talked about the beautiful grain on top. Your end grain solution is a beauty.

You have just got to love lumberjocks! I can’t wait to see what you can do in a year.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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