Table For My Mom

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Project by William posted 11-20-2012 02:35 PM 1712 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have got to quit using the word simple when it comes to projects. My Mom needed a simple table to place upon it a small stereo she has. She provided me with the details of what she wanted and it seemed simple enough. See that word? Simple?
There is nothing complicated to any experienced woodworker about a table. Of course, I wanted to add my own spin to this table, but still, it seemed simple. There I go using that word again.

I started with the skirts. I decided that I really would like to include finger joints in the corners to add character to a simple design. This part worked fine. Some of you probably remember the fancy finger joint, or box joint, machine I made earlier this year. It was designed by our very own Stumpy Nubs. I have used this machine on numerous projects now and it has got to be about the most useful jig I own, built or store bought.

Next, I wanted the legs to blend well with these “different” skirts. I notched the tops and middles to accept the skirts into the legs, making it all flush along the corner edges.

It’s when I started gluing everything up that it all seemed to go south. I learned an important lesson with this project. Make sure your shop is warm enough before attempting to use Gorilla Wood Glue. The day I glued all this up, it was sixty degree. This is barely within the operating temperature listed on the bottle, but I thought I’d be fine.
After everything was together and I started sanding, I kept hearing an unusual noise. It was my glue joints popping loose when I racked the entire assembly around to sand the different sides. This created a problem. Most of the joints failed, but I still could not completely disassemble it to reglue everything. I wound up fixing this with a syringe of glue to get behind separated pieces and a 23 gauge pin nailer.

At this point, I was sure glad I had used finger joints at the corners. Without those strong finger joints, I don’t know if this would have held together.
To tell the truth though, I was not happy at all. At this point in a project, I normally would have given up and started over to feel safer that things were right. I believe in doing things right, or not at all. The problem is though, I wanted to make this for my Mom out of mahogany, and I already knew that I did not have any more mahogany wide enough to redo these skirts. So I needed to push on and see this thing through.

Things got a little sturdier after adding stretchers. These helped push the legs tightly into the corners of the skirts so the legs did not have to depend so much on glue. They also are where the top will be attached down to, and the shelf underneath.

Then I started with the top and shelf and run into even more issues. I get ahead of myself sometimes. In my head, I had planned out this extravagant inlaid top and shelf. Therefore, I used particle board as a substructure to assure a dead flat surface to work with. What I didn’t take into account was, with the angles my idea had me working with, every piece of mahogany I had to work with was either too short, or too narrow.
After a better part of a day trying to figure out a way to make it work, I had to come to my senses and change gears to something a little simpler.
I made quarter inch thick panels to cover the horizontal surface. I chose mahogany board with different shades of colors for a reason. Then I used a tapering jig on the table saw and ripped them at an eight degree angle so I could mix them up when I glued them down.

After all this was done, and the sanding was done, and the kicking myself for the mess this simple project had turned into, it was time for finishing.
No, finishing did not go well.
I have gotten better in the last year or so at finishing. For some reason though, this has to be the worst finish I have done in a long time. I planned on two coats. I wound up making three just trying to even out the unevenness in color that the first two coats made. When it was all said and done, there is no way to fix it, short of sanding down and starting over, and I know from experience that this is not a good idea either with shellac. In the past when I’ve tried this, it turns into a nightmare before I can ever get the previous finish off well enough to start over with any kind of success.

Of course, my wife says I’m worried for nothing. I am my own worst critic sometimes. I can see every single flaw on this thing though, especially in the finish. At this point, I need to figure out what I’m going to do. It will be sitting in my shop until I can get it to my Mom. In the meantime, I have to decide whether to chop it up for fancy firewood and try making another one, or living with it not being my best work and hoping my Mom will like it anyway.
I will have to look at it again in the coming days and weeks, when I’m through beating myself up about it, and come to a decision then.


I try to learn something with every project. The biggest lesson I have learned with this one I think, is to stop saying anything will necessarily be simple.


19 comments so far

View patron's profile


13635 posts in 3512 days

#1 posted 11-20-2012 03:02 PM

looks great william
and it is from your heart to moms

don’t beat yourself up to much

i have become convinced
that finishes
have changed allot
they just don’t seem to work
like they used too

maybe to much input from the ‘environmentalists’
and the bean counters
and of course the ad guys
all say
‘it is new and improved’

which seems to mean
that it has less and doesn’t work

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 2733 days

#2 posted 11-20-2012 03:05 PM

Nicely done William!

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View sras's profile


4914 posts in 3300 days

#3 posted 11-20-2012 03:21 PM

Well the journey was not quite as planned, but you got to the destination just fine!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 3011 days

#4 posted 11-20-2012 03:21 PM

William nice save. Its looking good and that panel , I cant stop looking at it.
Your Mom will be proud.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2785 days

#5 posted 11-20-2012 03:40 PM

William your Mom going to love this ,great design too,it dont look that simple to me but then your skills are far more than mine ,i think your Mom is going to be proud of this table too.

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3606 days

#6 posted 11-20-2012 03:40 PM

Super job William, your mom is going to ecstatic and so proud of you. Wel done.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View luv2learn's profile (online now)


2866 posts in 2474 days

#7 posted 11-20-2012 05:06 PM

William, I have been following your blog on this project and I know how it feels to have something not go as planned. But you persevered and wound up with a beautiful table for mom. Way to stick in there!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View a1Jim's profile


117268 posts in 3748 days

#8 posted 11-20-2012 05:07 PM

A totally unique table William,nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3474 days

#9 posted 11-20-2012 05:20 PM

yea your right, i would throw it into the fire pit, and just do a simple dance around the fire and sing a chant…to the words which should be simple also…lol…your a nut case william…like everyone else here, i love how it turned out, its really a nice piece, your mom will be proud to have such a piece from her son…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2344 days

#10 posted 11-20-2012 05:31 PM

Extraordinary one! The design is wonderful.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3013 days

#11 posted 11-20-2012 06:23 PM

Thank you all for your kind words.
I appreciate the support so much.


View Roger's profile


20949 posts in 2975 days

#12 posted 11-20-2012 10:11 PM

This really turned out super nice. Very very awesome

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View DIYaholic's profile


19659 posts in 2846 days

#13 posted 11-20-2012 11:18 PM

It looks geat from where I am! How is mom’s eyesight anyway? JK.

It does look good. We are always our own worst critic. Don’t focus on the imperfections, as nothing is perfect. Rather, look at the uniqueness of the piece and the character you gave it.

Every project is a lesson learned. If you are not learning then you do not improve/increase your skill set.

Be easy on yourself, smile when you gift it and enjoy her appreciation of a gift made from the heart!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 3011 days

#14 posted 11-20-2012 11:23 PM

That was funny Randy. Awkward but funny.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3859 days

#15 posted 11-21-2012 12:00 AM

”How is mom’s eyesight anyway?”
LMAO , Randy : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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