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Victorian Reading Table

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Project by Mean_Dean posted 249 days ago 701 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was for a friend as a Christmas gift.

It’s made out of African mahogany, and features feet with their grain running horizontally to keep them from breaking if bumped. It has a shelf to keep her books close at hand, and is finished with home-mixed, semi-gloss wipe-on polyurethane.

It’s dimensions are: 24 1/2”H x 24”L x 11 1/4”W

Now for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: The grain match on the top is virtually flawless—you can’t see the seam unless you squat down over it, and really squint! Also, the finish came out first-rate! I’ve used wiping varnish before, but have always left the excess on, and hoped the bubbles would pop out. If they didn’t, I’d thin the mix further. But after having studied Bob Flexner’s books, I decided to wipe off the excess—thus no runs, no sags, no bubbles, and virtually no dust nibs.

The Bad: Wiping off the excess wiping varnish really makes for a slow build to the finish. I was able to get 2 coats of finish on per day, with sanding between coats and vacuuming. I had 9 coats of finish on the top before I was satisfied with its look—which took 5 days to build! It’s a great way to achieve beautiful results, but it’s slower than heck!

The Ugly: These photos….. Since it’s Winter up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, there isn’t much light outside, especially when it’s cloudy. I had to shoot these photos with an overhead flourescent light fixture, which made these photos take on a yellowish cast.

As always, comments and questions are welcome!

-- Dean





9 comments so far

View Woodbridge's profile

Woodbridge

2677 posts in 1055 days


#1 posted 249 days ago

great looking table.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4510 posts in 929 days


#2 posted 249 days ago

Looks great! How did you like working with African mahogany?

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

1387 posts in 1784 days


#3 posted 249 days ago

John,

I love African mahogany, and all mahoganies in general. Mahogany is beautiful to look at, machines pretty easily, and takes finish well.

One quirk of African mahogany is that it has interlocking grain. Interlocked grain is where the grain runs in both directions, instead of just one as in most wood species. What this means to we woodworkers is that no matter which way you run it through the jointer or planer, some of the grain will tear out. The best you can do, is to run it in the direction that produces the least amount of tearout. When you’re ready to start sanding, use 80-grit to smooth the tearout.

It’s more work, but African mahogany is so beautiful, it’s worth it!

-- Dean

View johnhutchinson's profile

johnhutchinson

611 posts in 266 days


#4 posted 248 days ago

Don’t knock your photos, Dean. They’re great! And so is the reading table!
I always though this way of storing books makes perfect sense because you don’t need bookends and you can see the titles at a glance.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15649 posts in 1503 days


#5 posted 248 days ago

This is really nice. It looks like a similar one that I saw in an antique shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1539 posts in 1064 days


#6 posted 186 days ago

Wow all your projects are an inspiration to me, thanks for posting.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Alongiron's profile

Alongiron

402 posts in 1330 days


#7 posted 164 days ago

Very nice work…so nice and clean…did you have a plan for that? I would like to give it a try. I have a perfect spot for that exact table. If not do you have some sizing information so that I could make my own version?

Thanks for sharing! Great work

Steve

-- Measure twice and cut once.....

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

1387 posts in 1784 days


#8 posted 164 days ago

Steve: Yes, I used a plan for this project. I found it in the December, 2010 edition of Popular Woodworking. You can probably find it at your local library. In the plan, you’ll find templates that you can enlarge, and spray adhere to 1/4” MDF to use as project templates. That way you can make as many of these tables as you like. They make great Christmas presents!

-- Dean

View Alongiron's profile

Alongiron

402 posts in 1330 days


#9 posted 163 days ago

Dean

Thanks I found it online for free. If anyone else is reading this, here is the link

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/victorian-side-table-free-plan

I am going to make one this weekend!

Steve

-- Measure twice and cut once.....

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