Table Project 1 - Starting the Table

Table1Table 2

I’m back in the workshop finally after slowing down on jobs around the house and am read to get started on the coffee table I’ve been wanting to build. It has been a while that I’ve have a chance to get some woodworking in, so it is nice to get back in there. I started off looking at the cut list and what walnut I’ve had kicking around the shop. This project doesn’t require a lot of wood, so finding enough was easy. After stock selection, mark your boards, and cut them to approximate length. You want to leave them a little longer then the final length, which I cut and square after. After the boards are cut to rough length (left), it is time to plane the boards smooth. The boards I’ve been using are square 2 sides, so they are a little rough still. 

Table 3

I decided to tackle the legs first. The project in the book is described using power tools. I don’t use power tools on my furniture projects, so I’ll have to apply my own skills and knowledge to build it. There are much more complicated pieces built with hand tools only so this one should easy. You should be able to build almost anything with hand tools that you can with power tools. So I started by planing the leg stock. First you should check the board for high spots, twists and cupping. Use straight edges (below), squares and winding sticks for checking this. After marking such areas, I pull out my low angle jack plane with a cambered iron (above right). This makes fast work of wood removal. I start by going across the grain, working on any high spots and twists. You can really remove a lot of stock fast with this method, so check your progress often. As I progress, I run the plane at other angles as well, going in diagonals, with the grain, then back across. This further flattens the surface, and preps it for the next plane, the jointer.

Table 4

The Jointer plane is the longest of the common bench planes. I primarily use it for final flattening of boards, and edge work. I use my Stanley #7 that I restored as seen here. I’ve been using this plane for several years now, and love using it. While using this plane I go with the grain primary. This board wasn’t too bad to work with and I did as much planing as I could with my jack plane. You want try to use the jack plane as much as possible, its edge doesn’t require as much sharpening as a jointer, so it saves time. After the jointer plane, move on to the smoothing plane. Use this for final smoothing of the board (below). 

Table 5

After smoothing I did a quick run down on my edges with my jointer and marked my thickness with a marking gauge. Normally I would square a long edge to the face first, but in this case the legs don’t require a square edge, so I just smoothed it a bit to see the line I cut with my marking gauge. I then repeated the smoothing process described about down to my marked line. 

This completes my prep of the boards for the legs. Next, I will be cutting out and shaping the legs. I have also procured some birds eye maple for the top which should make for a stunning top for this table.

Table 6

Above, jointer plane on the reverse side of the board. 

© Shane Larson 2017