How to Make a Wooden Table in 2020 – Norm Abram NYWS

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How to Make a Wooden Table in 2020 – Norm Abram NYWS

you are a deacon living in this shaker community 150 years ago you would be charged with a lot of responsibility so you might leave yourself some notes on a chalkboard such as this for instance today you need to organize a crew to fix the fences in the North Orchard and also you must move the Holsteins from second family to church lot then to what has happened to the missing keys you’ve been entrusted with well it’s beginning to look like you’re gonna have to spend some time taking care of business maybe at a table like this and look at this one it even has some ink stains on it maybe put there 75 years ago but it’s a beautiful piece this top made from one single pine wood and down here a little storage draw with dovetail joinery and the thing that really gives this piece lightness and elegance the tapered leg a piece like this might go anywhere in today’s modern home but if I had one I think I’d use it as a bedside table I’m a woodworkers point of view the only unusual thing about this bedside table is the tapered leg it’s straight on the outside and it’s tapered on the inside that looks difficult to make but it’s really not that bad I’ll show you a little bit later first thing I want to do though is start making some material putting some material together for this top and this morning I glued up some boards that are over here and this set in some pipe clamps you know today it’s almost impossible to find a board that’s 16 and a half inches wide and even if you could later on you might have trouble with warping and twisting so the best thing to do is to glue several boards together in this case three individual boards the thing you want to do is pay attention to the growth rings the girl things are these lines which curve and that shows you that the bark of the tree was out here on this board on this one on the other side and on this one over here so by alternating the growth rings you end up with a stronger in a more stable top another thing I did was glue up some stock for my legs and what I have to end up with is an inch and a half square piece of stock another type of material it’s not that easy to find so I’ve glued to Boyd’s together and I’ve got full blanks over here then I’m ready to start milling and I made the blanks a little bit wider than what I really need because it’s almost impossible to glue up stock and keep it perfectly even so I’m going to start squaring it up by running one side through the side now with one side milled I’ll readjust my fence just a little bit over an inch and a half and then using the already milled side against my rip fence I’ll square up the other edge now I’m gonna square up one end of these leg blanks now I can cut them to length and I’m gonna use this stop on my real fancy miter box extension I want 26 inches not totally essential to have this but boy it sure speeds things up here at the shop let’s take another look at our table again and I’ll give you the recipe for making the tapered legs but take a look at the table doesn’t it appear to you that the legs are further apart at the bottom than they are at the top they’re not it’s exactly the same distance to the outside the designers of this table the shakers did that deliberately it’s an illusion it makes the piece lighter by tapering the legs I think they were very effective in achieving what they wanted but when I make these tapers I don’t want them to start up at the top I want him to start below these rails so that I can fit these in squalor so I’ll taper this side of the leg and also this side of the leg so all four legs have to be tapered on the inside I’ll do that over here on my table saw with a tapering jig now you can buy

these but I made this one it has a hinge that’s attached to two pieces of oak and then over here there’s an adjustment feature and by changing that I can get an infinite number of different wedges so I’ve set it up for our legs and you’ll see that when you put a piece of wood in it and up and put the jig against the RIP fence as you push it through you’ll remove more and more material and we’ll get the taper that we want now I’ll do all four legs the next thing I want to do to the legs is mortise them and by that I mean put a groove in each leg into which our side rails will fit like this this is called a mortise and tenon joint gives me a lot of glue surface area right here and it’s the perfect choice for an application like this I’ll make all the mortises over here on this table with a router mounted underneath it and I’ve installed a half inch grooving bit and notice I’ve also taken the time to put down some masking tape which shows me the cutting edge is where they begin and end on the bit now the thing you want to do is take the time to do the layout of these legs put an X where each mortise is going to be that’s very important you want to keep it closest to the straight side of the leg and you want to hold it back just a bit so that as you put the side rails in you’ll end up with about an eighth of an inch reveal and you also want it to be on the tapered side of the leg also I’ve added a couple other marks right here these beginning and ending points and because I just can’t push each piece through to make the mortise I need those marks to show me where to drop my piece down over the bit push it through and remove it take a look now here on the front side of the table which is the dry side things are a little bit different I have two rails one here and one here so the mortising is gonna have to be done a little bit differently I’m gonna need to one right here which will be for the bottom rail and one up here which will be for the top rail now once again pay attention to that layout you see I put the witness marks we are the cuts half the B and on the other side I put my guidelines which I’ll use over at the router table let’s try one now we’re going to start making the rails these pieces right here you have to remember that there’s a tenon on each end of the rail so I want to add an inch to the overall dimension between the legs that means I need two pieces ten and a quarter and two pieces fourteen and a half and I’ll cut them right here on the miter saw okay now we can start making those Tenon’s over here and the first cut is a shoulder cut make this shoulder cut on both sides and both ends of all four pieces so I’ve set the blade to the right height and distance and notice I’ve clamped on a gage block because I’m using my t-square in combination with the RIP fence and that prevents any kickback or bind up well that does it for the tenoning now if you remember one piece I didn’t make this shoulder cut right here I’m gonna use this piece to rip to one and a quarter inch rails for the front of the table

well now is the time to sand off any of those witness marks and guidelines that I put on the legs and one more thing because the mortises have rounded ends here I want to just take a sharp utility knife and knock off those square corners on the tenants okay let’s see how that fits that’s good a good quality yellow carpet is blue applied to each joint and make sure it’s spread out with a little brush here don’t put each pointer together one at a time wiping off any excess that might squeeze out or get on the pieces with a damp sponge you put the whole thing together all right these clamps will hold it in place until the glue sets up next thing I want to do is square up my top and I suppose I could use my t-square which usually goes in like this and it works pretty well but with a wide board I end up starting with the square way off the edge of the table and it’s not very steady so I’m gonna use something else something called a panel cutter this is a homemade one it’s just a piece of plywood with a cleat screwed on it and on the bottom there’s a piece of hardwood which rides in the same booth as the little t-square does in fact this is just a big square and now I’ll just square up one edge of my top and I want to cut it to 16 and 7/8 inches now in order to attach the breadboard edge I need to make a tongue on the top and then our edge will slip on to that and I’ve set up the saw three-quarters of an inch away from the fence and about a quarter of an inch deep in order to remove the rest of the material to make the tongue you have to make a couple adjustments I’m gonna raise the blade and using the previous cut as a guide so that it’s just even with that cut like that and then I do have to readjust the fence so that it’s at a half inch between the fence and the blade and now I’m ready to complete the tongue you notice that I’ve removed a little bit of the tongue on each corner and that’s so that when the breadboard edge is attached I won’t see that sticking through when I make the edge there’s some wood remaining to make this groove I use the router table except this time I’ve installed a quarter inch grooving bit and another piece of tape to mark the beginning and end of the cutting edge and on each piece I’ll put a pencil mark as a guide so that I’ll end up with this much wood remaining now the depth of this cut is about 3/4 of an inch and I’m going to cut that in to past is about 3/8 of an inch at a time and that’s because this is a small router bit and trying to make a deep plunge cut in one shot is hard on the router and on the bit take a look

hey a little bit of yellow carpenters glue just spread it out evenly with a little brush here ready to slip the edge right on set it in my clamps now for the drawer it’s made out of half-inch pine with a quarter inch plywood bottom and the sides and the front have been grooved to accept the quarter-inch bottom the back is fit into a dado joint and the front has a rabbet joint first one I want to do is that rabbet joint and I’ve set up the table saw with a dado head cutter which is just two blades that are set at an angle to one another and it plows out material again using a gauge block and my t-square I’ll run each end of that front through okay that’ll fit together nicely now I’ll have to make some sorry justments so I can cut the dado in the side pieces to accept the back okay a little more yellow carpenters glue and I can start to put this together now the glue is only at the joints you want to leave this piece of quarter inch ply which goes in the bottom floating so that it can expand and contract freely with changes in moisture we don’t want it to expand so much that it can if it was glued to the sides it might break it open when it swelled up I guess I will admit that this is a pretty lightweight draw but it isn’t that big and how much can you really put in it now the corners will get nailed together with some one-inch Brad’s well now I need a way to hold the top to the base and what I did is made these little cleats right here and they fit in like this and the screws will fasten it to the rails and then I’ve got some additional screws right here which will hold the top down well a belt sander does a great job with the initial sanding but there’s nothing like a palm sander to finish it off well that looks pretty good I can take the top and flip it over so that the bottom side is facing up and just take the whole leg assembly the base of the table set it on the top and fasten it in place with four drywall screws okay now I need something to hold my drawer in place so I’ve made some cleats that just pieces a 1 by 2 that are screwed together so that you get a angle and those will get fastened right here to the side rails but I want to make sure I keep this just slightly above our front rail so the draw will ride on this rather than on the rail well I guess it wouldn’t be a draw without a knob to pull it open a little bit more fine

sanding on this piece and it’ll be ready for some finishing well it sure is nice having this designated area to do all my finishing you know we’ve tried to do it in the shop and it’s just impossible there’s too much dust in there it settles around you can’t get rid of it out here at least they have a relatively dust free environment now in this project I’m starting with what’s called a sanding sealer and I’m applying it to the areas of the table that you’re really not going to see just to protect the wood so it won’t absorb moisture inside to warp and twist now I’ll also do that to the inside and bottom side of my draw and then I’ll get working on the side that we’re going to see well the next step is to apply a pre-stained sealer and it’s absorbed by the softer wood a little more than the hard so I’ll end up being able to control the depth of my stain let me show you on a piece that I’ve done for a sample the stain I want to use was applied to raw wood and you can see it’s very uneven and blotchy and then over here over the pre-stain sealer and by rubbing it at different degrees I ended up with this little area right here which is what I want to use on my table so I apply the sealer lightly let it sit cording to the directions for five to ten minutes and then wipe it off okay that’s all wiped off and the instructions say that I should wait at least an hour before I put some stain on this stain should give me a country pine look I’ll put it on with the brush and then let it sit and wipe it down a bit well I would say that that’s about the look that I want now with the stain sufficiently dried I’m ready for the first coat which is a sanding sealer well after the sanding sealer dried I sanded it with a very fine sandpaper and I like to use a 320-grit wet-dry sandpaper what happens though is you get a little bit of residue left over that’s supposed to happen but before you put the finish on you have to clean it off and I like to use a tack cloth which is really just cheese cloth that’s treated with material to make it sticky once all that residue has been removed I’m ready to put on my first coat of finish which in this case is going to be a satin finish polyurethane and that will give me a nice durable surface so here’s a piece of friendly advice when you get ready to build one of these you better build two because everybody’s going to want one of these