Table Joinery

I've been in the process of gradually milling the various parts for the accent table to ensure all of the internal stresses in the wood are relieved by the time the part gets down to the final desired thickness. Mill... let it rest... mill... let it rest... etc., each time straightening the part and making it flat and square. I've been mostly concerned with the legs, perhaps overly concerned, since they will be very slim in profile and I want to make sure that they are stable before committing to the final shape.

Above is the top, primarily sapwood, which has been flattened on the surface planer by shimming it on top of a thin sheet of tempered hard board laid flat on the workbench. I used wood shims and hot melt glue to support the plank. After a few passes with the shims, I removed the hard board panel and planed the opposite face. I did this three times total before arriving at the final thickness.

Below, you can see the chatoyant flame effect of the grain pattern. For now, I'll set this aside on the bench horses while I focus on the stand.

My SketchUp model provided the curves for the legs and the front/back stretchers. Below is a shot of the leg template that gives you an idea of how much material I will be removing from the squared-up leg stock to arrive at the final shape.

The legs are now milled and ready go. Here I'm making sure to optimize the arrangement of the legs for best appearance of the grain patterns.

I then laid out the leg mortises, three per leg.

Below is the set-up I use for mortising.

With a good layout, the cutting goes very quickly.

And here they are.

Next come the end rails, a narrow upper rail and a wider lower rail at each end.

After cutting the rails and stretchers to length, I set up the table saw to cut the tenon shoulders. All the tenons will be the same length.

Next, the tenon cheeks are cut on the band saw. I followed this with a quick trip to the shaper which I used to shave the faces of the cheeks for a nice fit of the tenon thickness into the mortises.

The mortises have rounded ends and so must the tenons. For this, I like to lay out a half circle at each end of the tenon with a pencil.

Then, carve away the waste material with a chisel. This provides a close fit... the rest is done with trial and error fitting of the tenon into the mortise, followed by successive passes with a file until a nice fit is achieved.

Ahh... the first leg is fitted. Some additional cleanup of the area around the base of the tenon and the fit will be complete.

Here's a test dry-fitting of all the tenons. And, with the rough top in place, as well. The table is a massive looking beast right now, but a lot of shaping is yet to be done, including a lot of curves and tapers before the final look will be revealed.

Stay tuned for further developments over the next few weeks.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig