Author: Steve Bissell Page 1 of 4

Basic Coffee Table Part 2: Apron Mortises, Drawer Frame, Base Assembly

So this coffee table is coming along pretty well and I’ve made good progress the last few evenings. Every so often I’ll stop for a drink or to rest my feet (Someday, I’ll have a wooden floor to stand on. Or not.) and I’ll look ahead, thinking about the steps to come and if there is something that can be done easier now than later.

This goes without saying (therefore, we have to say it) however, there have been many times when I’ve thought that the next step was clear only to find out that something would have been easier done before the glue was applied.

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Basic Coffee Table Part 1: Design, Prep, and Base

So I wanted to make my son Alan a coffee table out of wicker but he declined….. (sorry, private joke 🙂 ). He did like the idea of using recycled barn wood like I just did with Bruce’s Trestle Table and I figured I had enough left without having to raid the pile of timbers again so we decided on a simple, common design such as this, but not quite as beefy:

 There will also be a shallow drawer to hold some magazines, a laptop etc. This is a project I’m doing in parallel with the Liquor Cabinet as the wood for that one acclimates.

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Liquor Cabinet Part 1: Design and Prep

So, sparing you the details, it’s come about that I’ll be building a liquor cabinet for a colleague. Something that will hold 2 rows of tallish (33-35cm high) bottles of spirits, 8 bottles of wine and still have room for a drawer with about 14.5cm of usable space. Here is the front view sketched on graph paper (the only way I can draw a straight line without a ruler).

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Staked Stool

A small, relaxing project for those stressed at work…..

So I needed something fun that I could make in order to try out the venerable tapered mortise and tenon joint. That, and a chance to practice some basic turning skills.

Forewarning: this is more of a pictorial post with captions rather than a full-on article of “how I did it”.

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Trestle Table Part 5: Final Tweaks, Breadboard Ends, Oil

As usual, this project is running late, but I’ve been promised that no IKEA table will be purchased in the interim 🙂 .

Now that the tabletop is fully glued-up, I double-check the position of each bolt hole to the threaded inserts and ensure that the holes are elongated to allow for wood movement during the year. Perhaps contrary to popular advice, once pine has dried and acclimated to its environment, it doesn’t move as much as hardwoods during the change in seasons.

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Trestle Table Part 4: Maybe We’ll Finish the Glue-up This Time….

I have already flattened the bottom faces of the tabletop assemblies and even though it may not be best practice, I want to flatten and smooth the top faces prior to the final glue-up. It will be easier for me to do this now and after the top is fully glued I’ll only have to flatten/smooth the center of the panel.

The key implements for this task are my #5 jack plane, #7 jointer plane and #4 smoothing plane.

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Trestle Table Part 3: Tabletop Prep and Partial Glue-up

a.k.a. Have a heapin’ mess o’ clamps and wet rags handy…..

Probably the single most teeth-grinding, face-sweating task in my experience is gluing up a large tabletop. It’s really a straightforward procedure however, I always stress about it and this one is no different. I have found though, that if I get everything prepared beforehand and do a complete dry fit, then I can reduce the number of feral whacks with a mini-sledge hammer necessary to achieve relative flatness.

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Trestle Table Part 2: Joinery For The Base

In any work surface not supported by a leg at each corner, it is even more important than usual to combine the engineering of time-tested joinery with the skills to produce joints that are tight and without (much) error. This table is almost solely reliant on the venerable mortise and tenon joint, even the bridle joint that connects the top brace to the leg is a form of mortise and tenon.

While my joints may not look this good, I hope to make them precise enough so that they will outlast at least my great-great-grandchildren’s lives.

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Trestle Table Part 1: Design and Preparation

The message to my family: Ask, and I will build.  Or more specifically: Ask, and I will add it to my list of projects….

Occasionally, if the need is urgent, I’ll modify my priorities and this is just such an occasion. My son is moving out of a small apartment and into one that he’ll share with two roommates. Nobody has a table worth eating a meal on and at the same time, I’ve been offered some 70 year old barn timbers for a great price (free). For some time now I’ve been thinking about how much I like Shaker design and a trestle table is a good example of their design ethic. With a guiding doctrine of simplicity, utility and honesty, the Shakers produced furniture that was well-made, and minimalist.

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Small Display Cabinet Part 4: Carcass Glue-up, Drawer, Finish

a.k.a. The prodigal woodworker returns from business trips

Hey there friends and neighbors, I’m sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while but there’s this thing that pays the rent and keeps food on the table that I have to deal with. I’ve been in the land of dates and niqabs not once, but twice, in the last 4 weeks and let me tell you, I’m not happy about it. However…..comma…..I get a paycheck to do a job and I’m going to do it until I start my own business and build furniture for a living (hysterical laughter issues from the peanut gallery).

Joking aside, I’ve made some progress on the cabinet.

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