It’s a very exciting time in life right now. Our first daughter is due any day now and our life is about to re-center around a very special little girl. In my family, a lot of time gets spent in the kitchen and I think one of great hallmarks of family is gathering around the kitchen table for meals. Up to this point we’ve had a hand me down kitchen table that is an oak monstrosity from the 80’s that we painted to make it a little more contemporary. When we built our house a couple years ago we realized that this 48″ round table really didn’t fit the space well. A longer, rectangular configuration that could possibly seat 6-8 would be much better since we really don’t have a dining room. I’ve also been sitting on a stash of walnut that came from a fallen tree on my grandfather’s farm in 1957 that I think would be the perfect application for this table.
I wanted to go with a trestle style design to again compliment the slightly narrow space and keep an open feel so I came up with the above design and sketched it up in Pro/E. I spent this past weekend rough milling the heavy stock for the trestle ends and made a few templates and full size mock up of one of the sides just to solidify the design. I think the design will still be somewhat fluid as they always are with my stuff.
Coincidentally, my sister is also expecting a couple months after us and while talking to my father a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that my grandfather, who is 86 years old and has never flown, wants to get on a plane and fly from Arizona to Tennessee this fall to see his two new great grandchildren. I’m hoping to show him my two latest creations, my daughter and our new family table built from his lumber 50 years later.
I’ve been spending some time lately over at Chris Schwarz’s Popular Woodworking Blog and was inspired by a couple things I saw. Much of Chris’s content is centered around the Roubo workbench and in particular the dovetailed tennon that attaches the top to the base. This was the first thing that caught my interest. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate this joint in one of my projects. The other posts that attracted me were the ones dedicated to Megan Fitzpatrick’s LVL workbench. Coincidentally, I had a large piece of a 12 inch LVL beam left over from the construction of our house. I came up with this small hall bench to incorporate the two themes.
I think the edge grain laminations look really cool, but I veneered some walnut on the face surfaces to cover up the ugly pine cathedrals. The LVL was surprisingly easy to work with the saws, jointer, and planer, but cleaning the mortises for the Roubo joint was murder on my chisels. I had to re-hone twice just to finish. Overall the design was rather simple, but I think it turned out well and I got the urge to try this joint out of my system!
Here’s the start of my latest project. It’s a take on a modern end table. This is my own design but is definitely influenced by the stuff I’ve been looking at and been interested in lately. As usual, I’m going with walnut and using some cherry accents.
I started by milling my stock to dimension and making some bridle joints to form the legs. I formed the bridle joint by using my home made tennoning jig and band saw. Later I added a square cherry peg.
The next step is to add a dovetailed box to house a drawer that will be floated between the legs with either steel or copper standoffs. I’m still a bit undecided on the top. Originally I was thinking of just going with a solid walnut top, but I’ve had thoughts of doing a picture frame with a veneered center. Something’s telling me that less is more in this situation and I should just go with the solid top.
My sister recently asked me to build a couple of children’s desk for her step daughters. And by recently I talking in woodworking time, so about 3 months ago. Anyway, the goal was to build two matching desks that resembled the old flip top school house desks. The design is really simple and we just chose some knotty pine for the material to match some of their existing kid furniture. The pine was a little a little difficult to work with in the sense that it tended to want to move a bit and and definitely gummed up my table saw and chop saw blades, but on the positive side this stuff was like butter with hand tools so I took the opportunity to break out the hand planes and saws when ever a good opportunity arose.
I started by routing some 1/4″ mortises into the legs a milled up from some laminated 3/4″ stock. I haven’t yet settled on my chosen method for routing mortise, so I just clamped guide board to the bench and put my leg stock in the vise. This seemed to work just fine.
Next I cut the tennons on all the rails on the table saw with my homemade tennoning jig and then did some fine tuning at the bench with the chisels and rasp.
Here are two of the leg sub-assemblies being glued up.
Both tops were flattened and smoothed by hand after glue up. I did have trouble with one of the two tops. One of the boards I got for the top was extremely cupped when I got it and didn’t notice, or it freaked out when I got it home in the shop. I tried to cut it apart and re-glue, to remove some of the cup which seemed to work, but I still had some twist. Eventually I just decided a new board was well worth the time spent.
Here’s the final product. Two beautifully simple little desks that should provide years of good service and enjoyment for my new nieces. With a little luck, they should be around for years!