I thought that I would take a little time to show how we went about the construction of the hall table. This project is currently in the final stages but I can backtrack a little for the sake of discussion. Check back a little later and I will update with some pictures.
We started the table off at the lumber store. (almost my favorite place to be) We spent a good deal of time trying to decide what wood that we wanted to use and finally settled on Mahogany. We had some concern about the colors of the boards that we chose but as you will see they turned out fine. We chose 4 nice looking 4/4 boards for the top and skirts and an 8/4 for the legs and headed for home. (Sorry, no picture of the lumber pile.)
The first task, shorten the rough boards to make them more manageable. We cut the board down to our rough length on the miter saw and then started the 4 square process at the jointer followed up by a trip to the planer and cut to width at the table saw. The final edge was jointed true at the jointer and we turned to gluing the table top. We had selected the boards that we wanted before starting to rough cut the length. (for that matter we knew before we purchased the lumber.)
This is the point where we should say that I learned something very important. I learned that poor preparation before gluing leads to problems. So, the glue is on and the boards are clamped up and guess what. They are not properly aligned. CRAP!! That’s enough for one day.
Oh well, moving on to the skirt and legs.
the first thing that needed to be done to the legs was cut the mortises while they were square. We completed this task at the drill press with a mortising attachment and a 3/8” bit and chisel. These were then cleaned up with a bevel edge chisel and some hand work.
Because we wanted to taper the legs all the way to the top we needed to calculate the correct angle for the leg and the skirt. We made a full size drawing of the legs, drew out the taper and took a few measurements. Using those measurements we built a taper jig out of MDF and 1/4” hardboard. We used this to cut the tapers in the legs at the table saw.
After completing the tapers on the legs we could use the legs themselves to set the skirts angled tenon cut by setting the square end of the skirt against the leg that was in turn against the fence of the table saw. With the angle set, we cut the tapered shoulder on the skirts to start the tenons and nibbled away the waste. (There are better ways and almost all of them will save time cleaning up the tenons.)
We then started hand tuning the tenons to fit the mortises by thinning them out and cutting the inside shoulder back with a skewed shoulder plane to make the outside shoulder fit tighter and without gaps. With that complete a dry fit was in order. The legs and skirts are all assembled and clamped with a band clamp so lets go back to the top.
The top was left to cook for 24 hours in the clamps and now it is time to check how bad the misalignment is. After clamping a couple of scraps in the end vice and screwing a cleat to the bench out comes the hand plane. We started by planing along the length of the boards to lower the ledge that had been formed by the misalignment. When that looked a little more respectable, we turned the plane at about a 30 degree angle to the top and began taking out the gullies. We then planed along the length again to smooth out any cross grain roughness. This procedure was completed on both sides of the board. Since I am out of shape, I quit for the night before I passed out. Still, it is an impressive pile of shavings.
-- Shawn, Washington, No really, its a work in progress.