Archive for the ‘Coffee Table’ Category

Coffee Table Aprons

July 28, 2013 2 comments


The aprons are all cut and planed smooth and I spent a few hours fitting all of the tenons into their matching mortise. Some minor adjustments and everything fits well. Using a couple of pipe clamps I assembled the legs and apron to take a first peak at the table. Each of the aprons needs to be shaped with a small arch. Like the leg shaping a made a template out of 1/2″ pine and penciled in the shape of the curve.


Using a saw i divided the cuts into smaller sections and then using a chisel chopped along the line. A spokeshave made light work of finishing the curve. I have leaned that this curve is too gentle for my rounded spokeshave and I am contemplating using a flat spokeshave for the remaining three. I think that this will allow me to make a more consistent curve a cut down on the amount of final smoothing that I have to do.



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Shaping the Legs

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Chopping all of the apron mortises this week gave me plenty of time to contemplate, the heat wave that has been stable over the U.S. There were several blogs that showed fellow woodworkers installing air conditioning. After last Wednesday night it certainly sounded like a great idea, but I waited for the weekend and the temperature has declined.


20130719-205252.jpg After completing all of the mortises for the aprons, the through mortises remained. I laid them out on each edge careful to align and mark each side. cutting three of the mortises I realized that I marked them all 1/2″ wider than I intended. Fortunately I have not cut the lumber for the pieces yet and will have to adjust. Hopefully that’s the one mistake for this project. The final mortise completed I again turned to shaping the legs.

Placing them on top of my bench it became clear that shaping the legs would lighten the look of the table so I proceeded as planned. I made a template from some 1/2″ pine and used it to lay out all of the cuts. Making saw cuts to help ease out the pieces I chopped the waste wood away from the lines. Quickly planing the first leg I held It up and studied the slight change in color where I cut across the lamination. It looks OK. I will always know that the joint is there but it is not noticeable to the casual person.















With the temperature lower I hope to push ahead with fitting the tenons and shaping the aprons.


Leg Conundrum

July 17, 2013 1 comment

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm! It’s highly likely that that sound as echoed through your head and often slipped across your tongue. This morning it has reverberated across the bench. There are four legs in front of me, each has been planed, jointed, and cut to length. Mortises have been marked and chopped and aprons prepared for fitting, but alas the Hmmmmmmmmmm! Sound crosses my lips.

When I purchase the lumber for this project there was not and quarter sawn white oak that was 10/4 thickness. Not exactly true….there was not any quarter sawn white oak that I was willing to pay for in 10/4 thickness. It seemed very extravagant and a rip off to pay $12.75 per board foot for the material for the legs. Please comment if this is typical of pricing for you. Obviously I laminated the legs and cut them to size chopped the mortises and have arrived at this spot where I realize that my plan includes shaping the legs.

The laminations are difficult to spot when the legs are square but, when I shape the legs will the changes in grain become obvious and leave a lingering change for all to comment upon. Stay tuned I think I need a cup of tea.


Mortise Guide

July 15, 2013 8 comments


The coffee table has three mortises in each leg and and eight more supporting the shelf. Chopping mortises by hand is like running. The first steps are rife with anticipation, the next come with labored breath, but with training and patience a rhythm is developed that helps clear the mind and ends in an intense focus. It’s probably a little too far out on the limb to describe it has “mortise chopper’s high” but it is a very calming work.

Ensuring crisp edges especially where a through mortise is chopped takes practice. Helping a long the way is this little guide that Paul Sellers introduced me to a month ago. It is simply two pieces of wood and a small piece of counter top that can be used to guide the chisel along one edge. Making two of them one 3/8″ and the other 1/2″, they can be placed adjacent to the mortise and as long as I register the chisel against it, I will maintain a very nice edge.



Coffee Table Legs

July 9, 2013 Leave a comment

20130709-203930.jpg The boards for the legs are glued together and clamps removed. It’s time to cut them to size and ensure that they are square and smooth.













Coffee Table

June 22, 2013 1 comment

Several boards of quarter sawn white oak lie next to my bench, their grain is hidden behind the rough surface left from the sawmill. Running my hands over the rough surface I look for the clues that will allow me to smooth the surface and bring out the beauty of the wood. The grain rises right to left, it swirls around on one side giving a slight indication of its past. Clamping the board in the vice I hear the blade take the fist slices and watch the wood curl over the chip breaker. Medullary rays appear on the surface like golden rays of light and the wood smooths to the touch. Turning the board on edge the plane glides back and forth exposing the grain.

Many people shy away from planing their lumber. I turn to the jointer and planer when the task becomes arduous, but there is always satisfaction when done by hand and the subtle tones work there way to the surface. Today I begin work on a new project, Paul Sellers Masterclass, coffee table. I am excited to put my new skills to work and I desperately want to replace the coffee table in our house. I picked up lumber a few weeks ago and after cutting it to rough dimensions I decided to plane one side and an edge, the opposite side I will run through a planer.


Unable to find boards wide enough for the legs my first task is to glue up to the correct thickness.


20130623-142153.jpg Carefully matching the grain I matched boards until I felt comfortable that only the closest scrutiny would reveal the joint. I then edge glued the boards and clamped for a couple of hours and repeated on the other board. Success was realized when my son pointed to the natural change in wood tone rather then the glue line when asked to find the joint.


Categories: Coffee Table