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Trend Competition Entry - work in progress; LONG

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Alf

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Well when I asked Neil if he’d include coffee tables in this comp it was more in jest than a serious query, but after many years in the planning, and two of them with the timber ready and waiting in the spare room, I’ve actually been sufficiently inspired to get a move on.
I don’t hold out much hope of winning on merit, but I might get the sympathy vote. Read on, gentle reader, and all will be revealed…

The brief was a small, low table for demanding customers - my folks. Ash was chosen to go with an existing Shaker candle stand; 10m of 125x25mm sawn K/D from British Hardwoods to be exact. Detailed drawings were non-existent; the whole was based on a sketch I did in January 2003

and inspired by Brendan Devitt-Spooner’s rosewood dining table in issue #22 of F&C (November 1998). No one can accuse me of rushing into this…
I wanted to do something a bit different from the “four lumps at the corners and a top” style of coffee table, and something you’d be hard-pressed to buy commercially. Initially I intended to biscuit joint the ash legs together, but a lucky windfall of some mahogany pieces - just enough for the job, but only just - and the prospect of a glue-up from Hell, changed my plan to sliding dovetails in thicker intermediary stock.

First step was to saw up the 6 & 7ft planks into more manageable 3-4ft lengths with my trusty, if unremarkable, 22” Spear & Jackson panel saw. Sharpened by me, and cuts through the ash like buttah <smug>

Having done that it was simply a case of shoving each piece through the P/T half of the Maxi for the next hundred years until I had nearly dimensioned stock. Then I re-stickered it in the spare room for a couple of days. “But it’s been in there for years!” I hear you cry, “It’ll have done all the moving it’s ever going to”. Wanna bet?
. Must have had some stresses in there, ‘cos move it did. Back to the Maxi to square it up, and then select the likeliest boards for the top.

I could either have boring-but-can’t-see-the-join straight boards, or interesting-but-you’ll-kid-no-one-it’s-one-wide-board. I went for the latter and used the darker streaked boards to create a stripe down the middle to compliment the legs. Jointing the edges with a cambered blade resulted in me chasing my tail on the first edge, due to being hopelessly out of practice, but by the end I was back in the swing. I put a couple of biscuits to align the joints, my Poor Person’s Planos did sterling work pulling up the slightly - and deliberately
- sprung joint and I’m happy to report you can’t see the join.


I took a slightly different approach to finishing on this project, and elected to apply finish to the faces of the stock as early as possible in the process. Here’s the top getting a rub down with 320g PSF and a tack cloth before a second application of Patina while the edges are still unplaned or the ends shaped.


In order to help meet the criteria of the competition, I decided to use a router and trammel to shape the ends into the required curve. Because of the demise of my Bosch earlier this year, and the DeWalt being too heavy for me to manage freehand, that left the Power Devil.
Long-term readers of my misadventures will know of my previous contretemps with this beast - it ruined a perfectly good cherry leg blank when the plunge lock unexpectedly gave way - so I was wary. I made a trammel, put a sacrificial piece of MDF to take the point without marking the top, I double-, no, triple-checked everything and started to make the cut.

Three-quarters of the way through the first cut the *$%£#/! thing’s collet gave up holding the bit and there was a Bad Noise. I looked in trepidation; I had a ¼” bite over the line I wanted to cut…
Those of long memory will recall how close said tailed Devil came to the bin last time. This time it went, and in a cloud of obscenity. Of course that wouldn’t have happened if I had a Trend T5...
I rescued the job with the aid of a jigsaw (oh, how I hate jigsaws in comparison with bandsaws) and the Veritas low angle shave. It took some time, but the end result ain’t too shabby, albeit a shorter top than originally intended...

My next task was to bevel the edges of the ash parts of the legs. If I’d had larger pieces of mahogany I would have probably bevelled those instead, but as it was… I elected to do it using a plane and my Dad’s #386 jointer fence. Once I got the depth set to cut quickly, but not so thick that I lost control, it took about 10 minutes an edge. Quicker on a table saw, don‘t tell me, but the dangers are considerably fewer; plus I got to listen to the radio at the same time.


When all the pencil scribble disappeared, I knew I was done. A habit I’ve adopted since reviewing DC’s DVD.

Et voilá! 12.5°, but you could always use a 15° bevel router cutter I expect, if you had one.



Then it was a case of chucking a dovetail bit in the ‘Rat and cutting the socket part of the sliding dovetails first. A router table would have done this bit equally well.


Then the mortise rail was clamped at the 12.5° angle to cut the tail half.


The ‘Rat is a real lifesaver for this sort of thing. Without it I would probably have shelved the idea simply ‘cos I wouldn’t fancy having to make a jig to do it some other way. I used a guide clamp to hold the stock up against the router plate.


The finished dovetails.


As is my habit, I made the fit of the sliding dovetails a little tight and tweaked them to fit with my side rebate planes.

I then cleaned up the P/T marks with a #4 ½ and applied a couple of coats of Patina.


Then a dry fit to see how it looks. At this stage the legs are yet to be cut to length, sides are still to be shaped and the dovetail housing for the stretcher rail is not yet cut.


Everything fits, so I cut the legs to length.


Cutting the dovetail for the stretcher was easy on the ‘Rat using the box underneath to support it. The clamp acts as a stop against the plate to cut the stopped housing accurately.


The next task was to clean up a board for the stretcher. The low angle jack with high angle blade coped with some playful grain bootifully.


The male half of the dovetail was cut on the ‘Rat too, and the end trimmed up with a gouge and chisel to accommodate the stopped housing.


The next step was to shape the leg sides and the stretcher. If I’d had, say, a Trend T5, I’d probably have made a template and used a bearing guided cutter… As it is, I used a lath to mark the desired shape,

cut to the line on the bandsaw,

and cleaned up with a spokeshave.

The end result isn’t too bad.


The finished article to be posted soon. At least it’d better be ready by next Saturday or I’m in trouble…
Sorry for whittering on too long as usual.


Cheers, Alf
 

johnelliott

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Excellent piece of work, Alf. One quick question just to show that I'm paying attention, is that English Ash? Reason I ask is because it is so light in colour that I would have said it was American.
John
 

Aragorn

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Excellent work in progress - looking forward to the finished article.
What a shame about that router. If only there was some way for you to acquire a lovely new one, like a Trend for example, perhaps a T5.
Those sliding dovetails look the works - almost makes me wish I had a Rat. Almost. :wink:
 

DaveL

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Alf,

Nice work, loverly grain that ash has, brought out nicely by the Patina.

Is there no way you could get your hands on a Trend T5? :wink:
 

Alf

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johnelliott":1x0yfiau said:
I would have said it was American.
You'd be right, John. British Hardwoods isn't exactly what it says on the tin.

Thanks chaps, and good of you to spot the glaring hole in my tool kit. What was it again? A Trend T5 you think?
(Dear me, I know no shame whatsoever... )

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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Not going for the sympathy vote? You mean that the Power Devil is exactly what you want/need/desire, despite its little quirks/foibles and whatnot?

OK, if you insist, there will be no sympathy whatsoever.

Lack of same notwithstanding, the table ain't arf bad!
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Alf

Well done. It's looking really good.

Please note that you don't have to complete it by the end of this month, only post some wip piccies. Completion is 31st January.

Cheers
Neil
 

Alf

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Newbie_Neil":3pwo8v1v said:
Please note that you don't have to complete it by the end of this month, only post some wip piccies. Completion is 31st January.
If only my own deadline were so distant...


Cheers, Alf
 

frank

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very nice alf (the rat shows what it can do and more ,one or two peeps are slowly getting pulled in :wink: :wink: ) what was that router you wanted i think i missed the name of it :twisted: :twisted:
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Frank

frank":wbbytcmk said:
..(the rat shows what it can do and more......what was that router you wanted........
Sorry Frank and Alf, but I'll have to think up some new rules.

Using a 'Rat (+2)
Using a 'Rat and including it in the wip post (-2)
Using a 'Rat and posting the photographs (-4)

How do these sound? :twisted:

Cheers
Neil
 

gidon

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Looking good Alf - can't wait to see finished piece ...
I'm very jealous of the space you have in your workshop!
Cheers
Gidon
 
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I like it lots Alf :wink: LOTS!!

Can't help noticing that your technical drawing skills are improving too :lol:

However, I was under the impression that you hated routers? Despised router? T5 is lovely though :wink:
 

Alf

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Newbie_Neil":iyfkbdfm said:
Sorry Frank and Alf, but I'll have to think up some new rules.
Terrible thing, jealousy...


Gidon, funny how it looks spacious until you come to actually make something.
And Tony, you cheeky devil. I can do a bit of technical drawing - enough for me to understand anyway - but this had a nice "wing and a prayer" feel to the design choices.
Incidentally, I can't help but notice this thread has proved one thing; Neanders are much better at spotting drive-by gloats that Normites...


Anyway, hot off the press this morning a couple more pics. I realised I'd forgotten to include a shot of the completed top:


And here I am in the throws of fitting stretcher plates. I'd forgotten you occasionally get really, really hard areas in ash, and I had two screws swallowed (broken) despite careful drilling of pilot holes.
The idea of using brass screws was rendered a non-starter of course.


In case you're wondering, the scene of the action has moved indoors where it's warm enough overnight not to make all my careful acclimatisation of the timber come to nowt.

Cheers, Alf
 

Bean

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Alf what can I say its very good, so good that i have hidden it from the other 1/2.

I must ask a question though, are those metal clips for fixing the top? why dont you use wooden buttons ??.......just interested mind


Bean
 

Alf

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Bean":ph2en76s said:
I must ask a question though, are those metal clips for fixing the top? why dont you use wooden buttons ??.......just interested mind
I debated long and hard over that myself, 'cos I don't like stretcher plates much, but two factors decided me against. Firstly the deadline; I wasn't sure I'd have the time to do it and still put the necessary care into finishing the top. Secondly I feared there was a danger the blocks might have been visible 'cos of their thickness. I haven't actually tried to see if that would have been the case, for future reference, but I wasn't taking any chances. That's the drawback to a single stretcher - nowhere to hide the fixings.
It does bug me a bit, I must say, so I may yet whip it back into the w'shop after Christmas and replace them. Or then again lethargy may intervene...

Thanks for the kind words, peeps. It's always a 'mare making something that's for both my folks 'cos I can't ask them for feedback as I go along as I usually do on a project, so it's nice to know it's not as bad as it looks to me at the moment! Later today I'll get the first chance to "walk in on it" completed, if you see what I mean, which is always fun. If I'm lucky I may even get a "how did this inept clot that is me make that?!" moment - rarely happens, but great when it does.


Cheers, Alf
 
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