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 shelves of tallish (33-35cm high) bottles of spirits, a row of 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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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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So at first I thought I would build the back of the cabinet, which will be a frame and panel, as the next step. However, even though I started with a picture as an initial guide, I’m trying to be as visual as I can during this process. I’ve learned from previous projects that something I build, even though it’s from a drawing or plan, may not look just right when it’s actually built (no offense to previous designers).
First, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope your holidays were as nice as mine. Lots of family and lots of good food and drink! And, after all the cake and cookies, I’m craving vegetables…….
I had a few days to putter around my garage and made some progress on the wall cabinets. I’ve cut the sides and top/bottoms to a tad over finished dimensions so I can now get a look at the final proportions.