|Project by toddbeaulieu||posted 02-07-2013 02:45 PM||6121 views||33 times favorited||30 comments|
Well I must say that this was my best “quick win” to date. It took me three days, plus several quick finishing passes.
I built this from a plan in Shop Notes, a magazine that I absolutely love. I was shocked when I found out how much Baltic birch costs. This was my first time working with it. $120/sheet is about 3 times more than anything I’ve bought to date. Needless to say I was very concerned and careful when marking it out and cutting it, even taking the kerf into consideration. I’m not the best with sheet goods, so this was a knuckle biter.
This is also my first foray into laminate. I went to Home Depot and found only black and white for solids at $42. I thought that was a bit expensive, also. So I found a local WilsonArt dealer and forked over $62. Way to save money, Todd. But I did like the color selected better.
For legs I used some 8/4 oak that I had and laminated them into 4×3 finished legs. They came out swell, until I dadoed the last one incorrectly. Every time I deviate from a plan, I hit an unexpected snag and that’s what happened here. The plan called for 3×3, but since I had the wood I figured I’d use it and rotate the legs so they were wider towards the center. That’s fine, but now they’re directional and you have dado them accordingly. Idiot. I had to plug three dados because I wasn’t about to start all over with that leg. Honestly, it’s hard to even tell, so I’m happy. I just used cheap adjustable feet from WC, drilled up into the leg bottoms. I think they’ll be OK, being barely extended for levelness.
The top was difficult. I struggled with trying to prevent blow out on the underside with little success. I just chamfered and sanded the underside – you can’t see it anyway. I made a template for one row of holes with two registration holes to allow me to shift it over with each row. Well, if you’re off by even a little on those registration hole it doesn’t work so well! I was able to work around it, though. My 1 3/8” forstner lasted for maybe 3 holes (for the ends of the slots) and was so dull I had to stand on the drill and rock it aggressively. I suspect plywood and laminate are really hard on cutting edges? I came up with my own “system” for routing the slots because my flush trim bit has a bottom bearing and I didn’t want to try mounting a template under the table and routing from above. So I used a clamping straight edge. I just registered each end with the bit up against the hole’s edge. I had to be really careful to be perfect, going back and fourth until I felt like it was there. Then I routed it and made fine adjustments until it was perfect. Move it to the other side of the slot and repeated. Most of the slots really are close to perfection – better than I expected.
I wanted to experiment with lacquer, so that’s what I used here. 4 coats. Probably not ideal for a shop, but it should be fine. Whew! The smell!
For the slot closeup I had to pick the worse one. Dummy. The jig saw blade (that I was MILKING) drifted at the end, just before it snapped. I was amazed by how a sharp blade – something with less than 40 hours on it – cut! ;)
There’s another “pocket” on the back, which I didn’t show. I really like the table design and think it’s going to be amazing to use.
So now I need something to assemble. Oh, and some hold downs and clamps.