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Shaker(ish) dining table

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custard

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Hello Steve, going back to the point about furniture strength, I'm frequently surprised at just how strong even quite spindly looking pieces can be, just think about chairs carrying hefty blokes for year after year.

This is a Shaker piece that I make fairly regularly,

Harvard Table.JPG


When I first made it I joked to prospective clients that it was not suitable for households "with small boys or big dogs". To be honest I was sceptical the legs would survive first contact with a vacuum cleaner. But I must have sold fifteen or twenty of them by now, and this first mock up has been in my house for about five years. Touch wood I haven't had any breakages so far!
 

Steve Maskery

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That is very elegant, custard, very nice indeed.
What I'm doing now is just to tide me over. I've been without a proper dining table for 9 years and am fed up of my dining room looking like a timber yard. So having got the top sorted, I just want a quick and dirty undercarriage until I can get just the right board for the columns.
 

Farm Labourer

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Hello Steve, going back to the point about furniture strength, I'm frequently surprised at just how strong even quite spindly looking pieces can be, just think about chairs carrying hefty blokes for year after year.

This is a Shaker piece that I make fairly regularly,

View attachment 91618
Custard, I'd love to see a photo taken from beneath. It looks uber-elegant.
 

Steve Maskery

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I cut the tenon cheeks a few weeks ago and appear to have forgotten to take any photos. I might be able to fake one tomorrow. But here is a pic of the Ultimate Tablesaw Tenon Jig (TM) from an earlier project

UTTJ.JPG


It's quick to set up, fast to operate and gives results that are Right First Time Every Time.

I've been spending more time than I should making a Poor Man's Sliding Table. Well the fence isn't Finished finished (I'm waiting for a flip-stop to arrive before I cut the vertical part of the fence), but it is Useable finished, so I cut the tenon shoulders today.

tenon shoulders.JPG


Then over to the bandsaw to trim the width

tenon width.JPG


Back on the TS fitted with the PMST and the blade tilted to 45deg, I mitred the ends of the tenons so that they will not foul each other inside the mortice cavity.

mitred tenons.JPG


Then it was cleaning up the arrises and some sanding

arrises.JPG


sanding.JPG


These are the two components

separate.JPG


So the burning question is, "Do they fit?"

assembled.JPG


Course they do! I can push them together (just) by hand, but they need a light tap with a mallet to get apart. Just what I want. And I promise you that that is straight off the saw. No, I mean ZERO, fettling.

So it was time to glue up the two end pairs and check for square and wind.

winding sticks.JPG


Tomorrow I'll do the same with the long rails.
 

Steve Maskery

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It's rarely a good idea to change the design mid-build, but that's exactly what I have done here...

I had a bit of a tidy-up in the workshop and found the offcuts from the original pippy-oak table. There was enough to make two 250mm extension leaves, which would enable me to have the table at 2m long if I had to. Now I don't anticipate that will be necessary very often, the days of dinner parties for 8 or 10 (12 once) are long gone and are not coming back, but a 5ft table is quite modest. Perfect for my every-day needs, but, who knows, eh?

I have made dining tables in the past with fancy folding leaf mechanisms; drop-leaf, butterfly and swivel-fold, but they are all rather complex, and, for this at least, unnecessary. I'm going to have two plain leaves on forks that slot into the ends of the table. They will be stored underneath when not needed.

So I made two pairs of forks that will fold together nicely:

completed forks.JPG


and cut notches in my end aprons, which would have been so much easier if I had thought of this before I glued up the end assemblies:
cleaning notches.JPG


until the forks fitted nicely

notch for fork.JPG


Then I made a pair of bearers on which the leaves will sit, underneath the table, but I seem to be having some camera trouble, a whole series of pictures have come out blurred. It's either senility creeping in, or it means my camera is on the blink. Either way :(

So the first stage of the glue-up is done, the bearers just biscuited into the long rails, and my Square of Thales tells me that everything is spot-on square (although I did need a bit of diagonal bracing to ensure it was right).

sub-assembly square.JPG


Tomorrow I shall attach the end frames and make some buttons.
 
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Steve Maskery

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I actually went back into the workshop last night and attached the ends, so this morning I took the clamps off and it looked like this:

assembled frame.JPG


You can see how the leaves are going to sit underneath.

Today's main task was to make the buttons. There are two approaches to this: starting with a short wide board or starting with long off-rips.

If you have a short board end, this is a good use for it. Just rout a rebate along the end-grain edge to create a tongue, then chop it up into individual buttons.

But in my workshop, I'm much more likely to have long narrow off-rips, so I'm adopting a different approach. Tou won't be the slightest bit surprised to learn that I have a jig for this job...

I first published this many years ago when I was filming my first Workshop Essentials series. It's on Volume 5 if you are interested. This is still the very same jig from that time, although it is getting a bit tatty now.

It consists of a baseboard with a slightly shorter sub-base on it, and a fence-cum-handle with a slightly shorter and quite thin (5mm or so) sub-fence on that.

button jig.JPG


There is only one set-up, and that is the distance of the bandsaw fence from the blade. Get that right and all the other dimensions drop into place.

The stock needs to be the right thicknes - a tad less than the distance from the bottom of the apron groove to the top of the apron. I removed all the long-grain arrises before I started, as it is easier than doing each one separately afterwards.

So the first cut is a rip cut to create the length of the tongue.

ripping tongue.JPG


Then the workpiece is held aginst the sub-base to cut off the waste leaving me with a tongue.
croscutting tongue.JPG


crosscutting tongue 2.JPG


Then the workpiece is held down on the table and the jig pushes it worwards and clear of the blade

cutting to length.JPG


Normally I wouldn't dream of using the rip fence as a cross-cut length gauge, but here the lettle bit is properly supported all through the cut and ends up well clear of the blade.

push clear.JPG


Which produces this:
sawn button.JPG


A bit of a clean up on the disk sander
sander.JPG


And like Cinderella's slipper it fits

it fits.JPG


They just need a countersunk hole how and they are finished.

But time was marching on and I wanted to get a coat of primer on the base before I left. It was only when I was uploading this photo that I realised I'd missed a bit.

painting.JPG


Ho hum.
 

TheTiddles

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How are you going to stop the stored leaves from fading less than the rest of the top? Seems to be a common problem on tables of this type (unless you cover the top which removes the point of having a nice top in my opinion )

Aidan
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Aidan. I can't say that I've given that any thought. Perhaps I'll just never open the curtains and live in the dark.
:)
S
 
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