Shaker Table - Woodworkers Fighting Cancer #1: Hot Knife, meet Butter

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Blog entry by Kerry Drake posted 03-03-2010 09:09 PM 2859 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shaker Table - Woodworkers Fighting Cancer series Part 2: My First Mortise »

March is here and by end of the month I hope to have the top of the built-in together and installed, and of course the Woodworkers Fighting Cancer table build (feel free to check it out and maybe make a small donation if you are so inclined).

Last weekend I finished jointing and planeing the faces of the Cherry for top of the built-in. All finished it ended up just over 1” thick, so that will make a nice top. I still need to cut and joint the edges and I actually think I’ll end up using my trusty circular saw and a nice straight edge to get them close as the boards are really rough along the edges right now varying buy as much as 3/4” on each side. I think I can save myself a lot effort on the jointer buy smoothing it out with the circular saw first.

While I had everything set up for the Cherry, I went ahead and surfaced 3 sides of the 1 1/2 inch piece of birch I had selected for the legs of the Shaker Table. After busting my hump working on 10’ long pieces of cherry all day, this 6’ piece of birch was a real pleasure to work with.

6/4 Yellow Birch
I finally called it quits Sunday afternoon and went in to dinner with my wife and mother (who comes over every Sunday for dinner). A bit later that evening I went out to the shop to put some 18v batteries away that were left in the house after the previous 36 hours without power and saw that birch sitting there all clean and squared up… I thought I would just take a second and layout the legs on the board with a pencil, just to make sure they would all fit fine. Well, 30 minutes later I ended up with 4 legs all cut out.

4 Sexy Legs

No if look close at the model of the table will notice the legs are tapered (on two sides). Most people would probably cut this taper on a band saw, however I do not currently own a band saw (30 days to my birthday!), so I had to come up with another way to do it. Interestingly enough I found an old copy of HANDY (the magazine) while cleaning the house on Saturday, and while leafing through it before I filed it away one of their articles had a section on building a quick tapering jig for your table saw. Armed with this information I went out Monday night and threw one together out of scrap I had laying around the shop.

Simple Tapering Jig
Here it is “loaded” with one of the legs:

Tapering Jig
And a close up showing how the Jig leaves the first 6” of the leg square and then beings to taper the rest.
Tapering Jig Close Up
Last night I went out and actually ran the legs through the table saw to cut the tapers. This was a little nerve wracking at first as this is one of the steps that you can really destroy a piece on, but things worked out great and the saw tore through the legs like, well, a hot knife through butter. Here is a shot of one the legs after tapering.
Leg - Tapered
Next up is cutting the mortises (or as my wife calls them the holey things) that the sides of the table will fit into (with tenons).

-- Kerry Drake, Loudon NH,

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