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Designing some side tables, out of comfort zone, input need please!

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undergroundhunter

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That's looking good now!
Mortices can be cut with a router but I find it quite a tedious job, for me its quicker to use a chisel and mallet. I have a spare 1/4 mortice chisel kicking about if you PM me your address I will pop it in the post.

Just for inspiration here are a couple of smaller tables I have made.
IMG_20201031_203611_774.jpg


FB_IMG_1560284499267.jpg


Regards
Matt
 

Jameshow

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A couple of thoughts.

Why not put a drawer in it?!
Place to put the TV remote radio times, glasses etc?

If it's close up to other furniture the the table edge isn't if too much importance.

As to tenon's I used 12mm thick tenons in 18mm pine and 18mm from top and bottom however that was with a drawer so with your apron being smaller 12mm would be fine.

With the attention to detail your putting in the design stage, I'm sure you'll master the build with great acclaim!

Cheers James
 

Fitzroy

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For the mortice and tennons - the apron is now 60mm deep and 20mm thick, so should I have a 5mm shoulder front and back, and then a 10 or 15mm shoulder top and bottom? Should it protrude out 10mm/15mm - bit like this...

View attachment 96898
Looking good! The distance at the top of the tenon is to ensure there is strength remaining in the short grain at the top of the leg mortice. The bottom of the tenon has no such issue and the shoulder depth is just to cover the mortice edge and give a nice tight line between apron and leg, I’d have this 5mm to keep the tenon as tall as possible.

F.
 

Cabinetman

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That’s looking better, the reveal, three mil is a little small I think five or six. You should base the mortise width on what chisel you have, as the legs are much thicker than the rails you can have a tenon almost the thickness of the rail with just a small shoulder.
 

Rorton

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That's looking good now!
Mortices can be cut with a router but I find it quite a tedious job, for me its quicker to use a chisel and mallet. I have a spare 1/4 mortice chisel kicking about if you PM me your address I will pop it in the post.

Just for inspiration here are a couple of smaller tables I have made.
View attachment 96899

View attachment 96900

Regards
Matt

Thank you so much for the kind offer, message on the way!

Nice tables too!

A couple of thoughts.

Why not put a drawer in it?!
Place to put the TV remote radio times, glasses etc?

If it's close up to other furniture the the table edge isn't if too much importance.

As to tenon's I used 12mm thick tenons in 18mm pine and 18mm from top and bottom however that was with a drawer so with your apron being smaller 12mm would be fine.

With the attention to detail your putting in the design stage, I'm sure you'll master the build with great acclaim!

Cheers James
Thanks for the input, I did think a drawer too, but as someone else mentioned, the short end of the table is quite small (185mm now) so by the time a drawer box is in, it would be close to 6 inch which may not be much use?

How about 5 mm shoulder on each side and the bottom, and then 15mm at the top, should given though material in the top of the leg then, and make the tenon 40mm x 10mm and protrude 15mm into the leg (is 15mm into the leg enough?

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I have to see something first hence the sketch frenzy, before I go to work!

Looking good! The distance at the top of the tenon is to ensure there is strength remaining in the short grain at the top of the leg mortice. The bottom of the tenon has no such issue and the shoulder depth is just to cover the mortice edge and give a nice tight line between apron and leg, I’d have this 5mm to keep the tenon as tall as possible.

F.
Thanks , as above, 5mm all round for a shoulder, with 15mm at the top to leave some meat in the top of the leg - would that be OK - and then a 15mm protrusion

Ive moved the legs in from the edge of where the bevel starts 5mm also

SideTables10.png
 

AndyT

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I think you're there.

I know what you are going through. Several years ago I made a little side table out of oak, salvaged from my parents' old bedroom suite. I spent ages trying to work out how much the top should overhang the frame, how much the stretchers should be set back, all those variables. In the end the design was mostly decided by needing to tuck in between the sofa and the door.

Top is 440 x 310mm, 20mm thick, with a 5mm wide chamfer on the top (because it's a low table, viewed from above).

Legs are 45mm square, overall height is 395mm.

IMG_20201122_100632_DRO.png


IMG_20201122_100718_DRO.png
 

Rorton

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That’s looking better, the reveal, three mil is a little small I think five or six. You should base the mortise width on what chisel you have, as the legs are much thicker than the rails you can have a tenon almost the thickness of the rail with just a small shoulder.
thanks that makes sense! so a 2-3mm shoulder on the 3 sides is sufficient, the 'face' of the shoulder mating to the leg doesn't add much to the strength of the joint? Just leave enough at the top to the top of the leg has some strength?

reveal moved to 5mm now, and also moved the legs 5mm in from the start of the bevel as they looked to close
 

Rorton

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I think you're there.

I know what you are going through. Several years ago I made a little side table out of oak, salvaged from my parents' old bedroom suite. I spent ages trying to work out how much the top should overhang the frame, how much the stretchers should be set back, all those variables. In the end the design was mostly decided by needing to tuck in between the sofa and the door.

Top is 440 x 310mm, 20mm thick, with a 5mm wide chamfer on the top (because it's a low table, viewed from above).

Legs are 45mm square, overall height is 395mm.

View attachment 96904

View attachment 96905
thanks, exactly that!

My overall dimension (the top) is dictating the space, so the rest is following that. I notice you put your chamfer on the top, any particular reason or just a design decision (looks great btw!)

SideTables11.png


SideTables12.png


SideTables13.png
 

Jameshow

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I'd keep your mortice and tenons width a standard size 12 / 15 / 18mm.
Then cutting out the mortices is much simpler.

Cheers James
 

Mike Jordan

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I have a couple of suggestions to make the process enjoyable and a learning experience. First thing would be to get hold of a piece of 6mm birch ply and set out the table in pencil on that, you will be able to see in full size the look of the item and alter it until satisfied. Sizes can also be lifted directly from the drawing, it's old fashioned thinking but foolproof. The second will distress some of the "woodworkers" on this site but will save you money and time and assist you to gain skills, just forget the dowel jigs, biscuit jointers, and pocket hole tools. They are rubbishy methods of making anything. The only gain from purchasing these devices will be for the tool merchant, there are always better methods using hand tools or conventional machines. Borrow or buy the hand tools required and learn how to use them, the YouTube sites will show how it's done. Mortise and tenon joints are easy to do and the,tools used cost very little in comparison to the "wonder tools" and last for years.
Enjoy the experience.





W
 

Cabinetman

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Absolutely agree Mike, I sometimes feel a bit of a dinosaur on here when I have to look up what the piece of (usually expensive) equipment people are talking about is and what it does, I'm usually quite underwhelmed.
I buy quite thick white card about 24“ x 18“ which I then put on a board with a thin glass cover for my drawings, joints I draw full-size, as you say it’s relatively fool proof and often shows up what will go wrong with the joint. Ian
 

jcassidy

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Mortice & tenon joints were probably the first thing I was taught in vocational school as a 12 yo. Right after how-to-saw, probably. I remember the day I was allowed to use the morticer press...after about only 2 years of doing them by hand. I never understand why people think the joint is so complicated, they justify spending hundreds on gadgetery to do them. Make 'em the width of the chisel, make sure they're measured out properly, and try to meet in the middle.

On topic of design, I think its important to keep proportions in mind, rather than strict measurement to the millimetre. There are articles online about proportions which may be useful. This was the method I was taught, to step back and consider if the design looks right, and only then to measure up.
I only wish I'd paid more attention!
 

bowmaster

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This is really an addendum to what Mike Jordan said about the setting out of your work - the setting out of your project on some material is called 'making a rod'. You can layout all the components of your project (or 1 of several components if they are the same dimensions) on it and use it as an 'aide-memoire' and as Mike said it is a good idea. It allows you to check that you are making your project as you designed it. When you have made a component you can lay it on the rod and it should fit exactly (if you made it correctly) It can also help you generate a cutting list of all the components you need and the amount of timber you will need in order to complete the project.
Also, on larger projects a rod can also help to iron out design issues where things may or may not fit long before any timber is cut. You can make several rods for a given project so you're not restricted to trying to cram everything into one.

When making a rod my preference is to use some white conti-board or some other smooth faced material as it's easy to make modifications to your design. You don't need full sized sheets as you can layout your project on thin strips (mine tend to be 2.4m x 300mm x whatever thickness you have), but if you want to layout a full scale design then a full 2.4m x 1.2m sheet (or more) may be needed. It's well worth learning how to use them - and don't forget - if you have a power-cut (and I do periodically where I live) you can still make or use a rod whereas sketchup users would be screwed.......
 

Rorton

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Thanks all for the input, some really valuable comments here.

im in the age of the computer, hence sketchup, for me its part of the process and I enjoy that bit too. I can hopefully see all the joints etc and can generate a cutting list from it.

I think I’ll get some cheep cls timber and rip it to the sizes I need and put together a sample unit to see what it looks like. I could use the parts from that as templates for when imake it out of decent materials? I hope to make 2 tables so worth while getting the sample right before ruining a load of good oak!

I can have a go at the joints too and see what works. It may be router and then tidy up with chisel, will see how that one goes!! I can also make a tapering jig for the table saw so I can get the legs right (no bandsaw)

I’ll aim to make the tenons 18mm deep which lets me know how long the aprons need to be, the thickness may be slightly different depending on the timber I can get so will work out the layout for the joints on the pieces
 

recipio

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At the end of the day I apply one criterion to everything I make -- is it elegant ! All the classic pieces of furniture are 'classic' for that reason. They are timeless and elegant.
I think you are almost there -- the legs are still a bit chunky and 40 - 45 mm square is probably optimum for a table this size IMO.
Chopping mortises is a real chore if you ask me and I long ago switched over to floating tenons. The Beadlock system sold by www.rockler.com in the US is both cheap and very efficient. Best of luck !.
 

Rorton

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At the end of the day I apply one criterion to everything I make -- is it elegant ! All the classic pieces of furniture are 'classic' for that reason. They are timeless and elegant.
I think you are almost there -- the legs are still a bit chunky and 40 - 45 mm square is probably optimum for a table this size IMO.
Chopping mortises is a real chore if you ask me and I long ago switched over to floating tenons. The Beadlock system sold by www.rockler.com in the US is both cheap and very efficient. Best of luck !.
Thanks. Ref the legs, at the moment they are 40mm square, tapering to 20mm at the bottom, with the taper just on the 2 insides, should I think about reducing this to be 30mm at the top and 20 at the bottom?

im determined to give the mortises a go, I’m sure if I was doing a lot then it would be a chore, but for the sake of this piece I’m willing to try
 

recipio

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40 mm square tapering to 20 mm sounds about right. Legs can be too 'skinny ' too. ! Ditto all the suggestions about drilling out the waste but some kind of drill press will greatly aid accuracy. I hate to waste material personally and if you put 50 mm tenons on the ends of ( say ) a 400mm rail you will have milled away 20% of the wood.! If you are intending doing more furniture making then a cheap doweling jig would make life much easier.
 

Rorton

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I don’t have a drill press, but I do have a metal drill guide thing (alligator) which may work, otherwise, I can drop the workpiece onto the router in the table and cut it like I was cutting a slot and then square it out.
will try the 40mm legs and see how it looks.
I do have one of those wolfcraft doweling jigs but I didn’t really get on with it, may revisit it, cut some extra legs from the pine when doing the test piece and see how it goes, but everyone is spurring me on for the mortise and tenon so I’d hate to disappoint :)
 

Pete Maddex

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Why square the ends? They will be long enough to be strong enough. Just cut the tenons shorter, or round the ends.

Pete
 
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