Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cherry tables

A couple of cherry side tables.

Finished tables

Overall height: 28"
Top: 18" x 18"
Apron width: 14"
Apron height: 4"
Legs: 1.25" taper to .75"

The legs are mortised with 3/8" tenons and pinned with 1/4" dowels. 3/4" thick top, edged glued from 3 boards, hand planed and scraped flat. The bottom side of the top has 1/4" deep, by 2" long bevel, leaving a 1/2" thick edge. Finish is a seal coat of thinned shellac topped with  multiple coats of danish oil. The top surface was wet-sanded with 320 grit and oil to fill grain pores.

Some photos:

Pile of shavings from power and hand planing lumber
Many shavings

Clamped table bases

table bases showing dowels pinning mortises
Pinned mortises

Assembled bases and one table top

Attaching the table top
Attaching the top

Lessons learned:
  • Biggest mistake: The dowels pinning the tenons are in the wrong location. They should be located closer to the edge of the leg to lock the tenon in effectively. It's not a huge concern because the glue joint has to fail before it's a problem.
  • Glue cleanup. I decided to try a different way to deal with glue squeeze-out. In the past, my approach has been to keep excess glue to a minimum and to allow any squeeze-out to partially cure then scrape it off. This time, I used a really wet rag and a spray bottle to clean up excess glue. Using a damp rag as recommended on the glue bottle embeds glue into the wood grain and can affect the finish, I had hoped that using lots of water to fully dilute the glue would wash it away without embedding into the wood grain. It worked, but not well -- lots of raised grain, discolored wood and  more sanding was required in the tough-to-sand joint between the leg and apron. Next time, I'll go back to the "let it dry and scrape" method.
  • I LOVE working with cherry. It's crisp and has great cross-grain strength so it responds to sharp cutting tools wonderfully. Hand planing and chisel work are an absolute joy.