|Project by Cosmicsniper||posted 01-23-2013 05:30 PM||5031 views||43 times favorited||39 comments|
I promised my wonderful wife, Helen, that I would build her a reading table to place alongside our rocking chair in our upstairs bedroom. She fantasizes about sitting alone, gently rocking, and quietly reading while having a comfortable place to set her drink and reading lamp. Nevermind that “peace and quiet” is an impossibility in our house with our 3 young kids, she finally got tired of waiting and laid down the ultimatum…
“If I don’t have my table by December 26th, I will go to Target and buy one,” she threatened.
If you consider yourself a woodworker, and if that doesn’t get your attention, well…looks like I had a new project to start! But at least I didn’t have to decide what I needed to buy her for Christmas!
I didn’t quite make the deadline – which is okay because we agreed that she didn’t have to get me anything – but there was enough of it finished to stave off Helen’s threats and buy me a few weeks more. This is the result of my efforts.
Wood for the project began here, amid controversy of allegedly endangering the life of my daughters on this infamous Mini Cooper shot (I only drove one very SLOW block with the girls)...
8/4 Quartersawn White Oak makes for excellent Arts and Craft style furniture. But I had to be careful…if I made it Mission style, like my wife wanted, then I’d have to make it match our existing bedroom furniture (also Mission) which is finished in a dark cherry color. Ironically, my wife says she hates cherry but she loves our bedroom set. I guess I’m the wrong gender to figure that one out. ;)
But I had two things going for me. First, my wife didn’t know about Greene & Greene (which I kinda wanted to build) and I knew would complement our existing furniture, yet also stand-out from it. Second, my wife’s gliding rocking chair is mahogany wood with light colored upholstery. Because I bought the QSWO before I decided on a Greene & Greene piece, I eventually decided to use the oak and keep it natural, complementing the upholstery. But as I started the finishing process, it became more mahogany in tone and, therefore, became more of a color match to the wood of the rocker.
Design for the table is my own, though it pays homage to Darrell Peart’s Aurora table in some aspects. The size of the table top is approximately 22” by 18”, which utilizes a floating panel and bridle joints (instead of breadboard ends) left proud at the edges as G&G joints often are. All horizontal members except the back have cloud lift shapes created by jig saw, router template, and spindle sander. These are joined to the legs with mortise and tenon.
The legs are very slightly splayed, 1/4” wider at the bottom than at the top, which is by design. The legs have the Blacker leg indents on all sides, made with hand-held router and jig.
The top apron panels are joined to the legs with sliding dovetails. The bottom shelf, also shaped with cloud lifts, mounts to the bottom rails with through tenons. Table top is secured to the actual table with wooden brackets, recessed loosely into the apron and tightened with screws to the frame of the top.
There are 20 ebony plugs in the base, 6 in the drawer sides, and 8 larger plugs in the top bridle joints…all of which are purely decorative. All joints are pillowed and proud, except the drawer plugs which are flush.
The drawer uses box joints, again left proud and pillowed in the front. An extra board is glued to the table top rail to cover the gap above the drawer (this board is milled to size last). This also serves as an alignment aid should I ever need to remove the top, which is easily done. The drawer back and sides are actually 1/2” red oak, which I had laying around, and the bottom panel is 1/4” oak plywood, which slides in a rabbet and is held firm with some countersunk brass screws into the back board from underneath. The back board of the drawer is recessed toward the drawer front 2”, using sliding dovetail construction. Because the drawer uses wooden runners with side grooves, this technique allows the drawer to be fully open without falling out of the table. There are stops on both sides to achieve proper drawer closing.
The handle of the drawer is 3/8” oak dowel through two chunks of ebony, shaped myself, and then rabbeted, sunk, and glued into the drawer face. It turned out nice.
The table is finished first with a wiped-on dewaxed shellac (tinted mildly with Brown Mahogany TransTint dye). I did this to unify the color of the wood, as there was some variance in that regard once milled. It also pops the figure in the gorgeous QSWO. Then, I sprayed the same dye mix to bring it to the right shade, as well as to subtly tone some areas of the work, mostly around the leg/apron joints and within the leg indents (to make them a little more visible). To finish, I sprayed 3 coats of semi-gloss GF Endurovar, rubbed out to satin, and then topped with some paste wax for feel.
I signed the back of the drawer with a special message for my wife as a final, personal touch.
I hope you enjoy the result as much as my wife does!
-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com