Author Archive

Walnut coffee Table – Top

January 26, 2022 Leave a comment

I have heard many people discuss whether to make the top first or last. I don’t see any reason to do one over the other. For this project the top was done last. Milling was typical slog of passing boards through the jointer followed by hand planing the edges and running the opposite edge through the table saw.

I used two planes to work the edges. Stanley #4 to rough the edges followed by a #7. I needed the longer plane due to the 48” length of the boards.

With the edges jointed and parallel I glued up the top and let it sit overnight. The next day was spent planing and smoothing. I did notice a couple of knots which will need to be filled.

Trimming the edges was done on the Tablesaw and hand planed with a very sharp plane. I also noticed a couple of Knots that needed to be filled, so as you read I am also reading about how to use Epoxy.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Side Rails

January 22, 2022 Leave a comment

Making the upper and lower rails was an exercise in planing boards and cutting tenons. I did most of the work by hand and forgot to take pictures.

Oops. The lower rail is just over an inch square, when I was test fitting the pieces I realized that I left one of the tenons longer than the others and when pulling it loose it snapped. I used the mortiser to drill out the broken piece and made another to fit. Lesson learned. Lower rails should have thicker tenons.

Finally I was able to assemble the table legs and sides.

The glue up was relatively uneventful.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Legs

January 15, 2022 Leave a comment

There comes a time in the woodworking journey that an epiphany occurs. As you look at the work of others and study pictures on line or in articles you realize that all of your hard work to make tight joints and smooth tops doesn’t make for the perfect piece. Suddenly you realize the importance of wood selection and grain, shadow lines and many small details. I’m not sure when that realization occurred,but i’m certainly aware and trying to work on executing on that knowledge.

Cutting the end of the 8/4 board it becomes clear that these are flat sawn. Reference the fine drawing that I made on the left. If I cut this board into the four legs as intended I will end up with two sides with intersecting grain and two with flat grain. Since I want legs that are 1 15/16” I don’t have a lot of options to cut diagonally across and make the grain similar on all legs but I am certainly becoming more aware and will consider where the legs are placed on the table. In the picture below you can certainly see the grain difference on the two sides of the leg and follow it across the bottom.

Back to woodworking. I used the sled to hoping the lumber and then cut the legs to size, hand planing each one to the same dimensions and ensuring they were square. Looking at the grain pattern I laid out the mortises for the side rails and lower rails and used my mortising machine to cut the mortises. This was the first time that I have used it on a project and it was very satisfying

Standing up all the legs you can see the grain and that I placed the flat sawn edges on the side of the table (right and left). Lot more to learn but it’s on my mind.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Lumber

January 13, 2022 Leave a comment

Procrastination is an art that I suppose could continue for ever. Today however was the time to begin preparing the material for a walnut coffee table. Walnut is a new species in my shop and I’m looking forward to learning about its desire to be turned into furniture.

All projects begin with a plan followed by choosing and preparing lumber. The dimensions for this table are roughly based on a previous table I made designed by Paul Sellers. It’s a simpler table but should satisfy its future owner. I used the same method for preparing the wood as I outlined in the Jointing without a jointer blog and it worked great. This is where I made the longer sled to fit the lumber needed for the side rails and top. Not long after the picture was taken I realized that I forgot to hook up the dust collector. The magical on off switch doesn’t work if the hose is disconnected.

Walnut milled nicely on the planer and I even milled several pieces by hand.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Jointing without a Jointer

January 5, 2022 3 comments

Since moving a couple of years ago I never took the time to reassemble my jointer, perhaps not having the space, but in reality I have not needed it. For the last year I have reached for my Stanley #7 and flattened one side and then used my planer to finish the opposite side.

This month however I tried something totally different that I know several of you have done for wider boards. I built a Planer sled out of 3/4 plywood and a piece of scrap that was about 48” long and 11” wide. The lower board is made out of two pieces of plywood glued together to make it as rigid as possible. The smaller I assembled to handle shorter pieces.

Next I cut several wedges and placed the board I wanted to Joint on the sled and used the wedges to level it. Next I send it through the planer to flatten one side, then flip it over and now I have both sides flat and parallel. Works like a charm!

Dust Collector Switch

December 29, 2021 5 comments

Sometimes safety is all about making the right thing easy. Turning on my dust collector seems like an easy thing but when I have to walk around to the other side of my table saw in the middle of a project it often gets overlooked. There are a lot of expensive solutions, some that automatically start when a piece of equipment starts, some that even control ventilation gates. Perhaps the easiest solution is having a remote in your apron pocket that allows you to select what to turn on and at the press of a button you can turn the dust collector off and on.

A remote control and 5 plug in adapters, hopefully this is the cure fro my lazy streak!

Categories: Tools

Lumber Yards

December 25, 2021 Leave a comment

Glancing at the sign I attempted to determine what lay inside. Perhaps the typeface would provide a clue as to the quality of service? Instead I could only see the words Dakota Hardwoods nothing more nothing less, pulling into a parking space I glanced around for the entrance and spotted a smaller sign with the word office and an arrow pointing to a glass door. No bars on the door first impressions….

There are many blogs and articles about purchasing lumber and it’s interesting seeing how different companies and countries provide the service. Relocation to a new town or state always brings me a little trepidation, will they let me sort through the lumber, will they have the thickness I desire, will I have to deal with the grumpy know it all clerk?

Since I began making furniture this will be the 5th state that I’ve sought a new vendor and the last couple of moves the internet makes finding options easier. Here in the San Antonio area I asked the local woodworkers guild for recommendations and wow what mixed results! I’m sure that is the most common question asked on the guild site (perhaps someone who knows how could add a link that gives the options) and I also recognize that everyone is looking for a different set of services. in my case I wanted to sort through my own lumber and in particular wanted 5/4 material. After some calls and a couple of false starts I ended up at Dakota Hardwoods. It was a good experience; however they certainly use a system that I’ve not seen before.

There are the lumberyards that let you sort through stacks of lumber, there some that make you take what is there, lumber may be vertical some horizontal and at the best places someone stands over your shoulder. At Dakota, I checked in at the office they wrote out roughly what I was seeking, 5/5 Walnut and Cherry and 8/4 for the legs. Backing my truck up to the loading dock I handed my request to the forklift operator. He then drove off appearing with a stack of lumber that I picked through and loaded into my truck, he then noted the sizes and drove off to get the next size. Again I sorted through the stack, he noted my choices and went off to find the next stack. Very different from what I had done before but if was efficient and the selection was good.

30 minutes later I had lumber selected, loaded and paid for and was on my way back to the shop.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Every Dovetail deserves an adjustment

September 15, 2021 Leave a comment

There are people that make perfectly fitting dovetails every time and I don’t envy their lack of opportunity to adjust the dovetails they make. Typically I will have at least one dovetail that needs some work along with a saw cut that went a little too far and perhaps somewhere the wood chipped. Frequently I can also pick out the dovetail that was cut first. Which suggests that I should make a practice dovetail to increase my focus before beginning on the real thing.

With this box I have three corners that look good with only a couple of minor changes required but the fourth corner needs a little work. Nothing major the joints are strong and fit well just a few cosmetic touches.

Filling in the minor gaps is simple, find wood that is similar in color ensure you match end grain to end grain and long grain to long grain and trim the wood to fit the gap and glue in place. Once the glue is dry trim with a chisel and plane it smooth. In most cases the gap disappears and will never be noticed. If needed you can fill in some fairly large gaps!

Categories: Cherry Box

Box Making – Glue Up

September 8, 2021 Leave a comment

Before glueing up the box I needed to install the grooves for the future sliding door. I thought this could be done quickly on the table saw, but after a minute realized that it would not leave a flat groove since the saw teeth are offset. I grabbed the plow plane and in a few minutes had a 3/8 inch upper groove and 1/4 in lower groove completed. In most of the woodworking I do, it is often quicker to do the work by hand and much more pleasant.

There are more clamps then usual since I continued to have some minor warping from the humidity. I did not glue the back or shelf in place just let them ride free in the grooves.

This is a typical dovetailed box with only the integrated divider to consider so I didn’t plan on extensive practice prior to putting it together. But I did lay out all the clamps and place some brown paper on my bench. I did make some cauls to help glue the ends and then forgot to take a picture of the final glue up.

There are people that make perfectly fitting dovetails every time and I don’t envy their lack of opportunity to adjust the dovetails they make. Typically I will have at least one dovetail that needs some work along with a saw cut that went a little too far and perhaps somewhere the wood chipped. Frequently I can also pick out the dovetail that was cut first. After the glue up we’ll se how I did.

Categories: Cherry Box

Box Making – Installing a shelf

September 1, 2021 Leave a comment

The box design has a shelf approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. The shelf is installed with blind rabbets so all of the work must be done prior to glue up. There are many ways to make rabbits and after some thought I decided to use my router plane and a chisel to provide a stop for the blind end of the rabbet.

The shelf is wider than the boards that I have on hand so I did a quick glue up and planed it down to 1/2 inch. It’s been some time since I used the router plane and it is definitely one of the most useful specialty planes that I own. This one happens to be a Veritas since I had a very difficult time finding a used plane when I first began using hand tools. Needless to say I have been very happy with it. Since the rabbit was in a couple of inches from the edge I cut across the board with my marking knife and then used an edge guide. You can see a corner of the guide at the bottom of the plane in the photograph above.

It only took a few minutes to cut each rabbit and square up the blind end with a chisel.

Categories: Uncategorized