Table Project 3 - Making The Stretchers

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In this instalment I will be going though making the stretchers. This is probably the easiest part of the project, but they are critical to the final look. To start off, I got my walnut that was for this project, which was left over from my nightstands and started planing. The wood was fairly straight so planing was very fast, using procedures mentioned earlier on stock preperation. Once the stock was prepared, It was time to make my face edge, this edge is a prefect ninety and flat to the face, which is my reference edge. I cut this with my jointer plane (shown above), checking with my square alone the whole edge of the board, and with a straight edge, making the edge prefect. Once this was accomplished, marking the width of the stretchers is the next step. Using a marking gauge, I marked my first piece. Then it was time to move over to the saw bench and make my cuts (below). Using my rip saw, I cut close to the line then left the final planing till all the parts were cut.

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To make the remaining parts, I simply repeated the procedures, starting with making a new face edge, and marking and cutting. Once they were all cut, I planed the cut edged down the to scribed line, and comparing the parts to make sure they are all the same. 

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Next it was on to making the ends square, and to length. I usually leave my parts a inch longer then the final length. When selecting where to make my cuts to the final length, I look at several factors. First is damage, Sometimes there might be some areas that were damaged on the ends of the wood. Second, the condition of the wood, is there and cracking or other things you need to get rid of? I usually cut any of this off first, but some times the piece isn’t much longer then needed, and its easier to cut it after. Finally, I look at the grain and see how it will look when it is with the other parts. Once I make these decisions, the first end will be cut and planed square with a shooting board. Now I determine the final length of the parts. My table is going to be shorter in length then the one in the plan, so I made adjustments to the length of the long stretchers. Once the length was determined, I marked the line off the face edge, and with my square and knife, I marked my line (above right). After marking and cutting the boards with my carcass saw, I went on to the shooting board to make the end square (below). 

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After the first board for each side is done, make the second boards the same exact length as the first. To do this, I line of the boards ends together, then using a knife I mark the length. To keep the ends level while marking I place a plane or other flat surface against the first ends cut (right). Then I cut and shoot the board to final length, and double check it against the first board.

Now all the stretchers are prepared and ready for drilling the dowel holes and rounding over the edges, which will be the subject of the next posting! Thanks!


© Shane Larson 2017