I know this challenge is mostly judged on originality but after a little bit of thought I decided that I don’t care. I have a project idea that has been on my mind for a long time and with so little shop time I decided that this will be my 2010 build challenge entry. The problem is that its just a table. I know there will be some crazy ideas coming in and something this simple is most likely not going to be on top of the competition but this will be a challenge for me. Plus I’ve never actually made a piece of furniture. I’ve attached a 2d render from a sketchup of the idea I did a long time ago. This is not the final sketchup that I’m going to build but it is very close. You can’t see very well in this drawing that I plan to do a “cloud lift” top. If the weather has cooled off in St. Louis I hope to start next weekend.
Here you can see what I’m thinking as I experiment with design and dimensions. I think the thin versions are too thin but also the thick versions are MUCH to thick. I didn’t see just how too thick they were until they were next to versions that were to thin. I am also on the fence about how I’m gong to mount the top. I have decided that I will use figure eight clips and screw the top to the base. I’m leaning toward the version where the top supports are crossing in the center. It seems to accentuate the “cloud lift” a little bit.
Love it? Hate it? Let me here it. I can take it.
I am having my doubts about building this in the 30 days that I will have available. 30 days works out to be more like 16 to 20 hours. I am still working on the design (I am not counting design time) and I am adding curves and little details that are gong to mean templates and more time. The Greene and Greene updates should be obvious.
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I didn’t think I’d be able to get started until October but I was able to put in about 3 hours today.
I printed some full size patterns of the parts that have curves from my sketchup design.
Then I spray glued the patterns on some half inch mdf and cut those out so I would have templates and be able to make exact duplicates.
You can see that I also got 5 leg blanks milled. Your thinking, dude 5 legs for a 4 legged table? Well I thought that it would be easier to mill up the extra leg now rather than later. So when I screw up a leg so bad that it ends up in the burn pile, I have another blank waiting and ready and the dimensions will be a perfect match.
I want my table top to be sort of a rail and style door design. I plan to make 4 edges and have the top fill the void and a small rabbet on the inside top edge of the edge pieces will be decorative and match some existing furniture in the house. The top will be flush with the top of the edges so the rabbets will essentially just be grooves. I am also going to some how make the bottom of the grooves black. My question is how to deal with seasonal movement of the top and still keep a consistent groove width. The solid piece in the top will only be about 14 – 15 inches wide.
ARRRGGG! Well I have come to the conclusion with the help of advice from the proprietors of the contest (The Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge 2010) that my design requires a laminated top. I knew that movement would be a problem but I hoped there was a trick I was unfamiliar with. There is no trick. If I want a “framed” top on my little table I either leave room for movement and accept that or I laminate. And let the sucking begin. Uh… that sounded odd. Anyway. First I need to resaw my stock for laminating. If I’m gonna laminate then I am at least going to make my own from the same stock that the rest of the build is coming from. Wow resawing is not so easy. to get the right size pieces I need to make an 8 inch deep slice. I screwed this up. A LOT. I finally get the pieces I need and run them through my drum sander until they no longer look like ruffles potato chips. My finish pieces are thin. Real thin. I think hey they almost looks like the real thing. Well I found out that I can not glue pieces that thin because I don’t have a vacuum press. I tried to glue it but it was a total waste. The top had waves like the ocean. Its an unrepairable disaster bound for the burn pile. I attempted to clamp a piece of MDF to act as a big caul and there was just not enough pressure.
I have milled more material for laminating. All the extra lumber I had is quickly getting used up. These are a little thicker. I hope that does the trick. I really have no ideas how to do a better glue up of this without a vacuum press.
Wish me luck
I got some progress on my little table for The Sawdust Chronicles 2010 Build Challenge. It seems with every step I take I feel the frustration of compromise. This is not going to be perfect. Thats always the goal and I have yet to make anything were every cut was perfect. I wonder if I should be focusing on improving my skills or figuring out ways to circumvent my lack of skill with ingenuity? But if I found a way around my lack of skill problem would that just mean that my “skill” was inventing ways around being skill less? Well either way I have some, far from prefect, pieces of my table started on their way.
Here is a quick reminder of where I’m headed.
I have the top lamination glued to some mdf and the frame glues together.
I also made a tenon jig and made the uh um… I don’t know its a cross piece. This table doesn’t have an apron so its in lieu of that.
Yes thats a band-aid on my thumb. I got this whacky idea to hone my card scrapper on my Worksharp 3000 and then roll the edge on it. Turns out you can get a razor sharp burr on a card scrapper. Don’t ask how I cut my thumb open with a card scrapper.
This small accent table is made of mahogany. The legs are held together by stretchers with mortise and tenons. All miters in this project (except for the tiny miters on the walnut trim) are splined with mahogany.
I cut the tops of the legs by setting the table saw blade to 10 degrees and then also setting the miter gauge to 10 degrees. Then I could lay the leg flat but the angle on the top of the leg would go across the top diagonally . I cut the mortises for the legs before I tapered them. The taper doesn’t go past the mortise but I wanted to be sure I had room to place them wherever I wanted . I had never cut a mortise or a tenon before. I made a tenon jig for my table saw to cut the tenons. I cut the mortises with my router. I used the pattern attachment that came with my Triton router and cut a slot in some scrap as a guide. I cut them a little short because of the rounded ends and then used chisels to square them up to match my square tenons.
The top supports are fitted into the mortises in the legs but the support pieces themselves have no tenons. There is a half lap joint where the two pieces cross. The four lifting pieces on the cross supports are each solid mahogany. They are joined to the cross pieces with half laps on each side. So the cross pieces have a half lap notch cut on one side for a leg of a lift piece and another half lap on the other side for the short leg of the lift piece.
The top is frame with a rabit around the inside. The center has eight pieces resawn from a thick piece. I cut the thick pieces to the angle that I needed and then used my hand plane and a 45 degree shooting board to get them perfect. The top sits up a little higher than the frame and is surrounded with a thin strip of walnut. The corners are inlayed with walnut.
I lost track of the number of jigs I had to make. My last count was 6. This is not including the templates.
The finish is garnet shellac.