I received many e-mail messages about the half-scale table I made and submitted to the Lumberjocks Winter 2009 Woodworking Awards. As it turns out, I made two other half-scale models, to show a client for whom I will build a conference table and a stand-up desk.
The individuals from whom I received e-mail and questions in some of the woodworking forums wanted to know if the top, for example, will really be 1-1/2 inches thick. Yes, I am starting with 8/4 (rough) lumber; it will be a real workout. Everything about the half-scale tables was true to scale, including the mortise & tenon joinery.
In this entry I share with you how I approached the build of the table top. I will not have video, as this job is for a client, and I must keep totally focused. The photos will illustrate the entire process – and I can take photos as I consume a nice cup of tea while taking a breather.
If you have any questions about anything in this table build, please leave it as a Comment, or send me an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ultimately, the table will be 30 inches wide, 60 inches long, and 30 inches high. The materials are quarter-sawn white oak for all but the legs; the legs will be black walnut. This table will be 2X the size of this one:
However, the bevel will change, to match the one I machined on the top board in this photo:
This is the table top, in raw form. The boards are 8/4 (about 2 inches thick) – the original design calls for top thickness of 1-1/2 inches; the top will be 30 inches wide, and 60 inches long:
The lumber for the aprons:
The lumber has been in the shop for two weeks. Now is the time to see the grain in the four boards will match. To find out, I planed both sides using a Stanley #3 hand plane, with the iron tuned with a little more camber than I normally like. This will allow me to quickly remove shavings to get a clear picture of the grain, including pattern, direction, etc. Since at this stage I am *not* flattening the boards, the #3 is perfect and fast for the job:
Hmmm…The 1/8-inch planing stop did not work, as the board is jumping over it – the board is not flat at this point. It is time for something a little more serious. Out came my new Gramercy holdfast (from Tools for Working Wood). When I first got these (I bought four), they did not hold well; I am certain this was my own doing, as my technique with a brace is not the best). And maybe the 3-1/2 inch bench thickness aggravated this issue. Long story short: I used a file to score several horizontal grooves along the shaft of the holdfast. Now it takes but one good whack! with a mallet, and they hold like crazy:
Now I could work at full speed with the #3. To my readers: Notice the logo just above the pocket on the tee shirt? Sandy can now embroider these! I may announce something new in the future:
After hand planing the four boards on both sides, I had to stop to clean up the mess. I will need a clean floor, to arrange the four boards – the table top will be quite a bit wider than my workbench:
This is better: Getting ready to look at the boards together:
This is the payout of the hand-planing workout: I can determine the best way to cut the boards, for machining on the jointer and the planer. I just don’t like to machine all the excess lumber:
Now I have some boards of a more manageable size, with good preliminary grain match, and about 6 inches longer than the table:
After jointing and planing all surfaces flat, I now have two boards that are perfectly flat on the entire width and length:
I had to tweak the edges on the boards, to get a spring joint and minimize the risk of a gap developing in time. For this I used a jointer plane, checking the fit as I worked. Here I am working on the third board::
I could not help it – I had to check out some of the boards I bought for the aprons – what else can I say? I hope this is not too much fleck:
If my muscles are still working tomorrow morning, I will continue work on this table top.