|Project by Bob O'Brien||posted 07-13-2008 11:39 PM||1202 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
This is the first serious project to come out of my shop after spending months just setting it up and building things like storage carts. I designed the table in SketchUp (see image with transparency turned on), which allowed me to work out the joinery in detail. As an architect, I have been a SketchUp user for years, so this was a failrly easy transition.
The table has 1-1/2-inch two-sided tapered legs, a 3/4-inch top with pegged, mortise-and-tenon breadboard ends, and 3/4-inch aprons. To add detail to the aprons, I wanted to place three 3/4-inch square holes at the midpoint of each side. I first considered cutting these out with mortise chisels, but then decided instead to avoid the end grain in the holes by building up the rails with the 3/4-inch strip surrounding the holes made of cherry with the grain running vertically. The holes were not cut, but assembled using a jig. To reinforce the end-grain glue joint that was inevitable in this assembly, I screwed the pieces together from the top. The strength of the rails is not really compromised because, like any beam, the stress is greatest at the top and bottom and least at the center. I think the grain reversal gives an interesting visual texture that would have been missing if I had cut the holes in a single board.
The fabrication was accomplished with a combination of power and hand tools. I cut the mortises with a router and chisels; cut the tenons and tapered the legs on the table saw, fine tuning with hand planes; and did all of the sanding with a Festool Rotex orbital sander. For the finish I used Minwax Clear Satin Wipe-On Poly, which after 4 coats produced a tough, smooth finish.
I plan to continue to develop this design with other tables, perhaps working next on a coffee table version.