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Crooked Tree

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Finally finished these, to which I have alluded in a couple of previous replies.

The original idea was to make a nest of tables with tops in yew and contrasting legs. The yew in the shop looked a little challenging for me, particularly as I did not want voids in the top, so I went for an elm top and beech frame instead. Back at the workshop there was obviously too little contrast between the elm and beech such that it would look like a mismatch rather than a contrast, so the whole table was made from elm instead.

The design is deliberately simple and rectilinear, with only a small scratch bead to relieve the lines. The original intention was for a bevel on the underside of the top, but this was omitted to keep it simple. In a departure from the usual nest, there are 2 smaller tables of the same size and 1 large table, because I find that in practice the smaller tables are used as cup stands and the large table as a stand for the tray, but the smallest table is usually too low and the middle table too large in area. The 2 small tables are square and designed to slide under the large table from the ends.

Not many "in progress" shots alas. Timber preparation was by bandsaw then hand planed. The legs were laminated to the required section (the boards were ~1" thick). Joints are mortice and tenon for the frames, with reinforcing corner blocks added after they were found to be too weak on their own. The tops are jointed using 4mm thick loose tenons for alignment, with the mortices cut using a router and straight cutter. The bead was cut using my homemade scratchstock and cutter.

The top of the large table ready for glueing:
100_1525.JPG


Glue-up with too few clamps (the wagon vice is acting as a sash clamp). A central board with "interesting" grain was chosen, with the pieces either side sawn either side of the centre of a single board to obtain matching across the width:
100_1528.JPG


Had to flatten the plane sole a bit in order to be able to flatten the top adequately on some of the more challenging areas. Not perfectly flat, but good enough for the job. The top seemed to lose something of the clarity of the grain when scraped or sanded, so it was refinished using the plane set very finely with a freshly sharpened (and resharpened and resharpened) blade. Next time I will try Benchwaze's suggestion and try a back bevel on one of my blades. On this occasion i just kept sharpening and skewed the plane.
100_1530.JPG


Miss a few and... the completed tables. "Family" photo:
100_1586.JPG


Tops of the small tables. They are not so yellow as in this shot - finish, by the way, is Osmo hard wax oil, 2 coats on the frames and 3 on the tops, flattened with 240 grit before the final coat:
100_1582.JPG


A small table:
100_1589.JPG


Constructional view of the underside of the large table:
100_1545.JPG


And finally, a shot to show the grain pattern in one of the small tables in a favorable light. The knot was filled with superglue then smoothed:
100_1591.JPG


The tables have turned out a bit more plain than I had originally intended. The bead could perhaps have been bolder or perhaps reeding to make it stand out more, and I am still contemplating a bevel on the underside of the tops. The tops of the small tables have to come off for a little, ahem, rework anyway, because it transpires that allowance that I left for planing the edges was a little generous... they do not quite slide under the big table from the ends! :oops: Rushing to finish the project.
 

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woodbloke

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Nice set of tables in elm CT, one of my fave woods. I've been looking at the pics for a while pondering on stuff and it seems to me that whilst the overhang on the large table seems about right, when the same is applied to the small tables, they look 'top heavy'. I might be inclined to do something to the underside to reduce the apparent 'heaviness'...a chamfer of some sort maybe?
Also, you've used crown cut elm which I hope [-o< 8-[ is absolutely dry...if it's not those tops are going to warp and cup :evil: - Rob
 

Crooked Tree

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I had the same thought about the small tables at dry assembly time, but continued anyway to get it done. I may reduce the size of the tops when I get around to adjusting them to fit under the larger one. The question is do I risk ruining the tops by adding a bevel as originally intended, and if so must the larger top also be bevelled to match? The idea was to use a long shallow bevel i.e. from the edge almost to the rails, but not taking off much thickness at the edge.

Which bit is crown cut (excuse the ignorance)? All of it? The boards are alternate ways up in a bid to combat distortion and the project took several months, so hopefully they stabilised a bit over that time. They were from Yandles, so presumably kiln dried then stood in a shed for a while.

The tops did in fact distort a bit across their width during making but were pulled flat onto the rails by the buttons. Not ideal, perhaps.
 

woodbloke

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Crooked Tree":15fdxwnh said:
I had the same thought about the small tables at dry assembly time, but continued anyway to get it done. I may reduce the size of the tops when I get around to adjusting them to fit under the larger one. The question is do I risk ruining the tops by adding a bevel as originally intended, and if so must the larger top also be bevelled to match? The idea was to use a long shallow bevel i.e. from the edge almost to the rails, but not taking off much thickness at the edge.

Which bit is crown cut (excuse the ignorance)? All of it? The boards are alternate ways up in a bid to combat distortion and the project took several months, so hopefully they stabilised a bit over that time. They were from Yandles, so presumably kiln dried then stood in a shed for a while.

The tops did in fact distort a bit across their width during making but were pulled flat onto the rails by the buttons. Not ideal, perhaps.
I'd go down the route of producing a 1:1 front elevation drawing of the tables, so that you see all the top edges drawn full size and in the right position. You can then play around on paper with the bevel configurations on the bigger and smaller tables til you've got something that looks right.
Boards are 'crown' cut when the log is cut 'through and through' (straightforward slicing up of the log in other words) and are taken from the top and bottom planks...hence the curved end grain. Shrinkage will always take place in the opposite direction to the the end grain curve (away from it) and unfortunately elm is one of the worst offenders for bowing and twisting out of shape unless it's dead dry. Yandles timber is usually marked AD or KD, but whichever it was, it ought to have been conditioned indoors for several weeks before use. Ideally, the moisture content of the timber should be around 10% or even less for use in a centrally heated house, so with any luck, the tops will stay reasonably flat - Rob
 

Crooked Tree

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Thanks for the suggestions Rob. Sounds like crown cut is what I thought was called plain sawn... or rather a sub-set of it - the boards from the edge. I was aware of the likely direction of curvature (growth rings will try to straighten) but probably took too big a risk because I wanted a particular grain pattern. How do people deal with it when making those tables that look like a simple big "slice of tree" on legs?

I did take account of strength/movement/aesthetics in the legs - these were cut from the edges of the plain sawn boards in order to yield quarter sawn pieces, in order to give both stability and a fairly uniform appearance on all faces. I read about that one somewhere.

The boards were not marked as air dried, which I think means that they were kilned. The garage is somewhat warmer than outside in the winter, although not heated as such, which may have helped, as may my slow progress!

The largest table has been in a centrally heated atmosphere for some weeks now and is ok so far, so perhaps I have gotten away with it 8-[ . Touch wood! #-o
 

Crooked Tree

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An update on this project:

After some deliberation and suggestions from the forum, I decided to reduce the size of the tops of the small tables and to add a bevel under the edge.

The tops were cut down using the bandsaw, taking a little of of all 4 edges , re-fitting the top to check the appearance, and then removing a touch more. Fortunately, I had left a reasonable distance between the original edges and the loose tenons, so these did not come to light during the process. The extents of the bevel were then marked and the bevel applied using a plane and then sandpaper, in particular to smooth the end grain. The large top also received a bevel in the same proportions to match. The legs of the small tables were reduced in length, to provide more clearance under the large table, using tenon saw then plane and shooting board. All three table tops were then given a light sand with 240 grit and re-finished with two coats of hard wax oil; Fiddes this time, having finished the tin of Osmo. Results are below:
100_1611.JPG

The small tables now slide underneath, as planned.
100_1616.JPG

100_1617.JPG


I recon that the proportions are now better, although the bevel is probably too subtle to be worth it. Not changing it now, though. This one is finally finished.
 

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woodbloke

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Crooked Tree":387k1o8w said:
I recon that the proportions are now better, although the bevel is probably too subtle to be worth it. Not changing it now, though. This one is finally finished.
Everyone gets to a point CT, where we say 'enough is enough...it's dun and dusted and any goofs I'll have to live with.' I've done lots of stuff where the job has been finished and I look at and wish...'if only I'd done that' but by then it's too late and I have to live with what's been done.
For the tables (which are good btw, at least when I saw them the other day) I might be inclined to take a bit more off the bevel so it's a definite feature that can be seen (sort of Shakerish), but with this one you may decide that the 'dun and dusted' point has been reached, in which case, leave well alone.
Whatever you decide to do, chalk up the making experiences from this job and apply to the next - Rob
 

Phil Pascoe

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When I was at school back in the day of the dinosaur, in the woodwork store was a piece of elm about 12"x1"x 12' , which was kept purely because one end was at 90 degrees to the other.
 

adzeman

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I love working in elm, I have two projects on the go at present held up due to workshop re-organizing. Your work looks really good, the design suiting the nature of the timber.
 
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