There's a really helpful and generous member on here. He lives down in the New Forest, where he makes astonishingly beautiful furniture for discerning customers who appreciate quality work. He also finds time to patiently answer loads of questions, drawing on his practical experience.
You may have noticed that he has posted several times about this little table:
Shaker-Side-Table.jpg [ 22.68 KiB | Viewed 1103 times ]
He mentioned this table a good while back, when I was just starting to think about making one. Not only did he send me some magazine articles to help inspire me, he offered to sort out some "offcuts" that I could make it from. Naturally, I took him up on his offer and after a pleasant drive down to Hampshire I met him in his workshop where we talked for a couple of hours and he started filling the boot of my car with wood.
I am of course, talking about Custard
, the grinning pink cat with the most thumbs-up thank-yous of anyone on this forum. Custard's offcuts are not tiny little scraps like mine, fit only for making dolls house furniture - they are lovely boards of high grade timber which he "just happens" to have sawn and carefully planed to the right sizes to be used as table legs, tops, drawer sides and so on.
So this project starts with a great big Thankyou
to Custard. And a big helping of embarrassment that it has taken me over a year of doing all sorts of other things (going on holiday, painting the house, contributing to sharpening threads...) except starting this table.
But now I have finished my other projects. I've done the Christmas shopping. I've tidied the workshop. I've even flattened the top of the bench. I feel really apprehensive about this and don't want to mess it up, but now it's time to start!
One thing I have done in the time is to sit and think carefully about the details of the construction and the size of the table, to fit the one spot in our house where there is room for it. I have studied articles and books and I have forced myself to draw a full-size diagram so I am sure I understand how it all fits together. I've also written out a cutting list.
The design is an old Shaker one. It's in Thomas Moser's book "How to Build Shaker Furniture". It's also featured in a magazine article by Christopher Schwarz available here: https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-c ... 4-Seg2.pdf
I need to modify the design a little - I want my table to be rectangular, not square - but I will follow the suggested widths and thicknesses quite closely. That's one reason why I will work in inches on this project. (Other reasons are that most of my measuring tools are imperial and so is most of my brain.) Also, I won't be machining rebates for the drawers, but doing them old-school with dovetails and slips, like I did on my little chest of drawers.
Here is my drawing, on a piece of lining paper, somewhat faded from the weeks it spent laid out on a desk in the spare bedroom.
Here's part of the top, possibly close enough to see the pencil lines
The point of the drawing was to force myself to think about the sizes of all the components, including the awkward little runners and stretchers and spacers. There are more separate pieces in this than you might think.
So here you can see the wood that Custard gave me - enough to make two or three tables!
After an hour or so, I had sorted out which pieces of walnut and oak will be suitable for each item on the cutting list, and labelled them all, so I can be confident that I am using wood which will look right, while not wasting it. Here are all the parts, piled up on my table saw - probably its only contribution to this project.
The first step has to be gluing up the two pieces of lovely book-matched walnut that will make the top. I want to keep the top as large as I can. If it ends up not the same as I have drawn it, I can adjust dimensions of the other pieces to suit. I'll then make a rod to give me actual dimensions to work to.
So, first decision - which way to edge-join these two pieces. Like this:
or like this?
Now, that's sort of a rhetorical question, as I have already glued them together but I hope you all agree that the first option is the right one. I think it looks more like a single piece of wood than the other, where the busier grain doesn't join up so well and the pattern seems to divide into three stripes.
So, I boldly carried on, with a No 7
and a 4½
taking not very much off and repeatedly taking each piece in and out of the vice and holding them together up to the light. Eventually I was happy with a very slight gap in the middle and tight ends and moved on to the glue up. I'm using Liquid Hide Glue which says it's ok above 50° F. It's about 56°F / 13°C in my workshop so I should be ok. Out with the protective cloth, Record sash cramps and an antique wooden one. No action shots of putting the glue on, but you all know what that looks like.
Next time, I'll get the top flattened and squared up and then embark on the framework.