Wednesday, February 19, 2014

White Oak Console Table: Finish

A simple shaker inspired table like this is a great candidate for an oil varnish blend, but the ambered tone of oak furniture has been maligned by the mass production ubiquity of cheap oak kitchen cabinetry.  The client wanted the look of  raw white oak (as if it had just been sanded) that did not have the orange tones of an oil/varnish.

I shot the table with a matte clear conversion varnish.  The finish is a catalyzed product that is water white, incredibly tough, and comes in a flat 10 sheen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

White Oak Console Table: The Top

    A beautiful table top grabs your attention and engages your interest, often enticing your hands to run over its length.  These are the outward workings of a top: are its dimensions correct, does the finish suit it style, will it function as the piece is intended?

Large solid tops are challenging in almost every way.

I have to confess I glued up this top and had a panic attack.  I was under a time crunch and the glue-up had not yielded a suitable surface. There were some raised edges along the glue lines, and I had a bit of cup across the width.

What did I do, I took it to someone with bigger machines.  A 42" planer sander to be exact, and they leveled and sanded this top fantastically.  Moral of the story, there is no shame to knowing the limits of your own shop.

Even with the top flat and sanded, there was still much work to be done.

In my opinion large tops like this benefit greatly from breadboard ends.  They help keep the top flat and stable.  I also find that the edge where the endgrain would normally be exposed is neater .

I start this process by making a shallow crosscut to define the shoulder of the tenon:

With the fibers cleanly severed, we can hog out the waste to define the cheeks of the tenon,

Lay out and cut your tenons, making sure to leave a stub tenon.

 I cut these with a jigsaw and transferred the layout to the breadboard end blanks.  After milling the groove to fit the stub tenon, I drilled out the mortises on the drill press.

Breadboard ends are traditionally pegged, but only glued on the center tenon, the peg holes in the tenons are widened to allow the top to expand with the clearance they are given in the mortises.

I lay glue on the center tenon and glue on all the pegs and assemble the the breadboards onto the top. The top is done.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

White Oak Console Table: Drawers

There is something wonderful about opening and closing a handmade drawers that has no metal slides.

I chose to complete the drawers with a pinned rabbet design, after reading an article by Hendrik Varju.

After choosing a single board to complete the drawer fronts and sizing the drawer front blanks to be tightly fit, it was time to accomplish the joinery for all the parts.

The sides fits into a rabbet cut into the front:

Notice that the sides stand proud of the sides, part of the finally fitting will involve a pass on the jointer to ensure a nice flush fit.

The carcass of the drawer is glued up, using a piece of scrap ply that matches the thickness of the bottom.  A diagonal clamp helps ensure square.

With the drawer carcasses glued up, I do the initial fitting by one quick pass on the jointer for the sides and a fine tuning with a smoother:

To increase the strength of the rabbet joinery, pins are driven thru the sides into the edge of the fronts

With the joinery finished, I size the ply bottoms, fine tune the fit of each drawer, wipe the interiors with a spit coat of shellac and set the drawers aside.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

White Oak Console Table: Base Part 3

With the table legs tapered, I glued up the 2 leg assemblies, trimming pegs on the way.

As much as I love driving home a drawbored peg, the real fun was only about to begin.

Up next I cut the dovetail joinery for the upper divider that sits right above the drawers, because of the length I had to be creative with how I clamped and cut out the tails.

You can see that there is also a tail placed in the doubler as well as the leg. While I had hoped to get an airtight fit, these are purely functionally and will be hidden under the top.

Below the upper divider is, oddly enough the lower divider attached with a triple tenon into the leg:

Position the divider and mark away! Follow up with the mortising and we now have both dividers ready to be marked out for the drawer partitions:

thats 3 dividers with 6 tenons a piece, 18 M&T's, the word slog comes to mind.
Domino in the kickers on the rear face of the dividers and half lap them into the upper/lower ledger and we are ready to put the drawer framework together:

I glue in the framework, along with the drawer guides,

the base is done.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

White Oak Console Table: Base 2

Once the legs have been mortised it was time to tenon the two side and the rear aprons.

The side aprons are done as most shops cut tenons: 

With a nearly 9 ft rear apron, the same technique was not gonna work. I 
chose to kerf the ends and clean up with a chisel. We shape the tenons a bit more and here is where we end.

Large scale tables should be pegged and if you have time draw bored.

At this point we are ready to put together our leg assemblies, we just need to taper the legs and clean them up.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

White Oak Console Table: Base

     In a table with drawers there are a lot of components that make up the guts, but they all depend on a solid base. The base is chiefly comprised of 4 legs and 3 aprons.

I begin with the legs.

Leg should be chosen from slash grain (bastard), if possible, the diagonal grain will present uniformly on all four sides.  I try to select leg material carefully, as these will be part of the show face of the table.

As you can see here I have laminated 6/4 stock to form 2.5" square blanks.  I orient the blanks to show the most uniform from a frontal view of the table, relegating flatsawn facets to the rear of the table.

Note the marking, we are gonna be dealing with joinery soon and we don't want legs to change orientation, causing us to mortise the wrong face.

I keep the legs square as long as possible, only tapering them once the joinery has been cut.

Gang the legs and lay out the mortises on the proper faces.

I make every effort to make things as clearly marked as possible, and off we are to the slot mortiser:

I was hesitant to build this machine initially, ( design), but could not pass up the time saving it offers.  For the amount of M&T I do, it produces a quick/clean mortise in a few sweeps of the bit with minimal setup.  This is another example of where clean layout pays off.  Adjust the x,y,z motions to the outlines of the shadowed mortise and begin hogging out material.

If all goes well, here is what you get:


Thursday, September 12, 2013

White Oak Console Table: The Design

I have started on a new piece that will be a long console table made from White Oak.

Dimensions: 108"l x 24"w x 32"h

The design is based on the essential Shaker table with drawers.  These types of table most often taking the form of a small side or night table, represent the simple, and functional spirit of the Shakers.

The long span of the table was a challenge to balance with the proportions of the legs and the drawer depth.

The legs do taper a 1/2" from below the drawers to the bottom on the inside faces to lighten the visual weight.  We are after a strong and graceful table.

The top will feature breadboard ends to control cup and stability in a 24" wide top.

The guts of the table will involve drawer components found in traditional construction: doublers, runners, kickers, dividers, and partitions.