Monday, January 15, 2007

Completed Side Table

I finished the table today. I decided to change the finish slightly as I found this article in Fine Woodworking. I did not follow the article exactly but used it as a guideline. After the one coat of BLO mixture I did a coat of clear Shellac and Paste Wax. The article used amber Shellac but I decided to use clear as it will show the maple figure much better.

There were a number of mistakes along the way but overall I was able to hide most of them and learned a great deal. Here are a few pictures of the finished product.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finishing the Finish

Finally the table is glued up and I am at the dreaded stage for most woodworkers which is what finish to apply. There are many choices between using oil (tung, linseed), varnish, lacquer, shellac and on we go. Part of the difficulty with finishing is that I can conceptually see how things are built....the reason I like woodworking. But when it comes to finishes which is chemical reactions...I loose all understanding. Maybe why I did not do well in Chemistry.

I did a number of sample pieces of wood which I could not really tell a difference on. I tried clear and amber Shellac and for some reason did not like the Shellac. Many woodworkers seem to rave about Shellac being the next best things since sliced bread but I did not get too excited. I also tried boiled linseed oil(BLO) directly and mixed with mineral spirits 50/50. That looked fairly good. I also tried Watco Danish Oil which is a wiping varnish that also looked good. To be honest, I really could not tell much of a difference.

My wife liked the BLO with no mixture so I decided to do an approximate 70/30 mixture of BLO and Mineral Spirits. She liked the darker color even though I believe it is going to darken up over time with the BLO. I have put one coat on so far and will probably add another couple of coats and give it a final rub down with paste wax.

This is my first piece of furniture that I have made that will actually be inside our home. It is very exciting to see it coming to a completion. Here is a picture of the first coat on our kitchen table (the garage is too cold to finish in). I have to say I have a great wife to let me use the kitchen table as a finishing table.

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Monday, January 8, 2007

A Busy Sunday

Cutting the Tenons
The next step was to cut the tenons. There are many ways to do this this. I decided to take a scrap piece and use the table saw to determine how much waste to remove. I do not have a tenon jig so I determine the correct height of the blade and made several cuts to remove all of the waste. This worked well but did create a lot of dust which always gets to me. I might use a different method in the future due to the dust.

Once they were cut on the table saw, I then had to clean them up. I started with using my block and shoulder plane to clean them up. One issue I noticed is that I was taking off more wood on the side closest to me and I had a little bit of tear out on the ends. After a couple of tenons I then decided to use my chisel to pare in from the end. This worked much better. I also had to clean up the mortises slightly but was able to get them all to fit. Some are not as pretty as others but it will work.

Here is a picture of me cleaning up one of the tenons.

Cutting the Table Round
After the tenons were complete I decided to cut out the table top as I had the half inch blade already installed on the band saw. To do this I had to make a jig. Luckily, I had a scrap piece of plywood and a runner that fit perfectly in the miter slot.

I first measured out the narrowest part of the top and then found the center point. I then measured the same distance from an opposite edge and crossed the lines to drill a pilot hole on the back side of the table. This hole will ride in a dowel attach to the jig.

To make the jig I measured the distance of the miter slot from the blade and attached the runner with a couple of wood screws. I then marked the distance for the center point and drilled a hole and attached a dowel.

Here is a picture of the jig.

I then placed the top onto the jig, turned on the band saw and spun it around for a perfect circle. My wife came out to the shop to hang out and took the following pictures. Otherwise, I would never be in the picture.

Lower Stretcher Profile and Half Lap
To complete the lower stretchers I had to cut the half laps and profile. The half laps I did on the table saw marking the distance and depth. This was not too difficult.

To complete the profile I had to change the band saw blade to a 3/8" blade and I made some practice cuts. I then made the cut and used the fence once I did one profile to cut a straight line to the next profile. I also attached the both stretchers with two sided sticky tape and cut them at the same time.

The profile came out ok but did need some clean up. I used a bastard file along with the waste pieces and a hand made sanding block to clean them up.

Upper Stretcher
The final step was to cut the dovetails for the upper stretchers. I first cut the tails on the stretcher by marking them and cutting a small line in from the side. I then found it easiest to use my chisel to pare down the tail rather than cutting it.

Once complete, I marked them on the legs and number each one. I then used my hand saw to cut the lines and the drill press to remove most of the waste. I then had to use my chisel's to clean up the rest.

Once again, the first couple did not come out as good as the last two. Luckily these are hidden from view as they are not the prettiest.

Here is the table stand ready for the tenon pins, glueing and sanding.

And how it will look with the top (Not attached yet)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Legs and Mortises

Today I completed the legs and cut the mortises for the table. The legs are 1.5 inches square so I had to glue up two pieces of soft maple to obtain the correct thinkness. Everything glued up well except for one leg shown below. This had a seem that was visible so I cut a thin piece off one side and face glued it over the seem. I then planed the edges down even.

Once that was complete, I used the power planer to plane down all four sides of each leg the same thinkness, hand scraped off the planer marks and cut them to length. Here are the legs completed and ready for the mortises.

I then determined which sides of each leg I would want facing out from the table. Once figured out, I marked the mortises with a T&M marking gauge and used my marking knife to cut a line to be used as a guide for my chisel.

Once marked, I made a small jig for drilling out the holes. I used a 1/4 inch forstner bit so I could pare down to the line. Also, I marked a line on the jig of where to start drilling and clamped a stop block. I need to make a drill table at some point that would also be an outfeed table for the band saw but this will suffice for now. Add it to the to do list.

Here are the legs drilled out and ready to be cleaned up with the chisel. This is the first time I have done Mortises. The first one came out ok but I did get much better as I progressed. One tip is to place the chisel on the marked line and when hammering down on the chisel to pry the chisel away from the line. This way you make a nice square mortise without compressing the edge. Overall I think they came out ok for a first time.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to complete the lower and upper stretchers and cut the top into a circle. We are getting close to be completed. The mortises took much longer to do than I had anticipated.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Argh....Tear Out

I had spent some time trying to find three boards that would look good for the top. Unfortunately, when I started flattening the boards I realized there was so much twist in the middle board that I would have to remove a considerable amount of material. My choices were to either rip down the center of the middle board resulting in five boards of odd shapes or to select a new board. There were not many boards that match up but i did find one that will work.

Once the boards were flattened and edged on the jointer and planer I then looked to see how they fit together. They were slightly off so I cleaned them up with my jack plane leaving a very smooth surface and they fit together great. I then glued them up.

The problem came when I went to clean up the top. The boards were slightly off so I grabbed the jack plane and planed the top so the glued edges were smooth and removed all of the benchtop planer marks. Unfortunately, I ended up with some tearout in a couple of spots....Ugh. The tear out seemed fairly deep so I asked a couple of forums on what to do. I received great advice and ended up tuning up my card scraper that was sitting in the bottom of a bunch of tools. The thing worked great at removing almost all of the tear out and any scratches or ripples. Here is a picture of the top. I still need to make a jig for the bandsaw to cut the top into a circle.

My next step after completing the top is to clean up the legs of the table. Once that is complete I will cut the mortise and tenons and half laps in the lower stretcher, cut the arch in the lower strecher and do the dovetails in the upper stretcher. Still a lot to do but I was able to make great progress over the last two days.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Arts & Crafts Side Table

I am currently building my first real piece of furniture for the house. I came across this side table that would make a great plant stand for my wife.

It is a really cool project as it incorporates a fair amount of hand tools as well as machinery. There are a number of first for me on this project such as dimensioning rough sawn lumber, dovetailed upper strechers (that are luckily hidden for any mistakes), through tenons, arched bottom stretcher, round table and on and on.

Below is a picture of the pieces I selected for this project. I marked out each piece allowing an inch or two for waist.

I then cut the boards down to make them much easier to joint and plane.

Finally, I used the jointer and planer to flatten the lumber and square the edges. It was exciting to see the what was hidden below all of the saw marks when it was surfaced. I also used my jack plane to smooth out the surfaces and give a final edge on the top for glueing

I will post more as I make more progress. So far everything is going great. It is also really nice to finally have most of the tools required for woodworking. It makes life much easier and the hobby much more enjoyable.