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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, (woodgears.ca 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:

 Cheers!

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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.

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Burl Slab Tables: The Finish

These coffee tables were tough to finish  because of the nature of the Mesquite.  Soft sections in the grain and bark inclusions forced the use of epoxy.  The dramatic swirls and curl in the grain often come along with challenging porous spots, loose bark, and pockets.

Progressive sanding from 120 up to 220 cleans the surface.

I begin with flooding the surface with Danish oil in a “natural” tint (watco), and let all the surfaces soak in the oil .  This allows the wood to take on a shine and illuminate the grain.  Re-apply this blend after an initial 30 minutes, and then wipe down any standing or excess oil.  Puddles left on the surface will leave a sticky film that will interfere with our topcoat.

Watco like other oil/varnish blends is mostly boiled linseed oil and as such you must allow it to dry before you proceed to your topcoats.  On a lighter use piece you may just go with 3 coats of a danish oil and that will suffice.  For a table that is bound to see cold drinks and more traffic, more varnish is called for.

In choosing to apply more protection comes the compromise of a more natural feel to the surface versus a surface that is slick with all pores closed with resin.  For the base and underside of the table I brushed on 2 wet coats of a Satin varnish (GF Arm-r-Seal ) and 3 wet coats to the top of a Semi Gloss (same).

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Burl Slab Tables: The Stretcher

With the legs dry fit into the top, it was time to fit the stretcher to the legs.  I like a stretcher near the bottom of the legs, as it gives more visual weight and will get rid of any likelihood the table will rack.

We use a type of cross lap to join the legs to the stretcher:

Keep it simple and put your tape measure away, this is all relative layout.
We place the stretcher exactly where we want it using center lines marked on the legs to mark the cheeks:
Some will be tempted to use a simple cross lap in which half the thickness of the stretcher is removed from the leg and the stretcher.  I prefer to recess the lap by 3/8″ to hide any imperfections in the joint.  I achieve this recess by defining the cheeks on the SCMS with the depth stop set and kerfing in between the layout lines until I can slide the blade back and forth.

Using the bandsaw we cut a simple slot in the legs for the stretcher to fit into.  And thus the base is ready to go!
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Burl Slab Tables: the Base

     My guiding principle in creating these slab tables is to allow the top speak.  I looked for a simple  and substantial design for the legs.  Working with cuts from longer slabs I chose the following shape for the legs:

Dadoing the underside of the slab gives us a solid seat for the tenons on the end of the legs. With the legs dry fit into the top, I laid out the shoulders for the cross lap on the stretcher:

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A-Frame Nightstand Completed

A-Frame NightStands
Walnut, Poplar
20″w x 15″d x 26 1/4″ h
Watco Danish Oil (Natural), Arm-R-Seal
     I initially designed this nightstand in 2011 as a way of blending dovetail case construction with a mid-century modern aesthetic.  
The case features dovetail construction, seperated into 2 compartments with a solid shelf seated in a dado.  Perched on four legs, rabbeted to accept the case, the design moves away from traditional mortise/tenon which feature aprons to join the legs to the top.  The leg assemblies are connected with a stretcher to resist racking forces.

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Dovetail Box

Dovetail Box
Box Carcasse: South American Mahogany
Hinges: African Mahogany
Top Panel: Black Walnut

Finish: Le Tonkinois Bio Impression Flat Varnish

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