Archive for the ‘Coffee Table’ Category

Rounding the Tenons

August 23, 2013 2 comments




Until 3 months ago I had no idea about making through tenons, let alone that rounding them could be done with a hand plane, chisel and if needed a file.


Categories: Coffee Table

Coffee Table Rails

August 20, 2013 5 comments

Through Tenons are a new joint for me. I have made a total of two and now I’m looking ahead to making 8 more. Using a saw to cut the tenons  I stayed away from the marks and used a router plane to close in on the correct thickness.



20130817-201048.jpgUsing my router plane was very relaxing and provided a lot of control as I trimmed the Tenons. I managed to get the first four Tenons looking fairly good and it is clear that as my confidence grows I can cut closer to the lines. I’ll shape the exposed mortises tomorrow and then on to the under shelf.















Aprons Finished

August 17, 2013 1 comment

It seems like the last few weeks have disappeared quickly. Between a busy work schedule and some family commitments the coffee table sat quietly on the bench. After completing the arches on the sides of the chest I realized that using a flat rather than curved spokeshave would increase my control. Searching eBay and local sources I came up empty and turned to Lee Valley Tools for a new Veritas spoke shave. Returning to my bench the new tool made a world of difference. It handle the curves better and with the flat face it did not have the tendency to chatter.



If you have never read go over and give the site a look. John asked me a question about my method for making the arches with a chisel. His method would be a coping saw. I tried this on one of the arches and apart from my poor sawing skills it worked well. Although I think I prefer the chisel method.

With the arches complete I took a few minutes to sort the stock for the table top. After swapping boards around multiple times I finally came up with the layout milled the rest of the lumber for the shelf.


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.