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Building a dining side table


I started the day by truing the edges of the stock on the jointer:

Here I'm cutting the 2 boards that will form the outer edges of the top:

I then rip the Lacewood boards down for the legs:

Then I rip 2 - 1/8" strips of Mahogany that will be the decorative
stripes that separate the 3 boards of the top:

At this point I had to pause to think out the dimensions and
styling details of the leg design.   I generally work out most of the
design in my head before I start work, but some of the finer
details need to be sketched before they become clear to me:

The sketch clarified that the 6 leg staves needed to be laid out
as 2 groups of 3, and that the foot would be straight rather than
angled as in the bench design.  I also decided that the foot should
be 12" long, making it 2" shorter than the width of the top.
This would leave a 1" clearance on the floor for baseboard molding.

Lunch Break!

I cut the Walnut feet to length and height:

The tricky part is gluing up all 5 pieces of the top at once.
Here I am applying glue, and clamping:

I move on to sanding while the glue is drying.

All woodworkers hate sanding, but I love my sanding machine!
It is a very Zen experience to feed the parts through the machine
over and over using 220 grit paper until the surface is smooth and lustrous.
Here I am sanding the feet and legs:

My style of joinery requires extreme precision in the thickness
of the parts that get assembled.  I use a dial caliper to ensure
that the sanded legs are 1/2" plus or minus 0.002".
The sander can be set to remove as little as .002" in one pass.

After the glue is dry on the assembled top, I scrape off the excess and hand plane
the excess mahogany stripe that I deliberately made oversize.
This small block plane is one of the few hand tools that I use!
I'm a power tool guy all the way -- it's just the way that I learned woodworking.
Besides, who needs to work up a sweat?

Then I square off the ends and cut diagonal corners:

Since the boards didn't glue up perfectly flat
 I use 80 grit sand paper to flatten the surfaces of the top.
(I don't use a planer at this point since it would tear out the wavy grain).

Dinner Break!

I continue sanding down to 320 grit.  The beauty of the grain is reveled:

I rout a bevel on all the edges, this is a typical Arts and Crafts edge detail:

A final sanding with a random orbit sander and 320 paper:

Applying a first coat of Tung oil and varnish:

Now the real beauty of the wood shines through!
More coats of finish tomorrow, and work on the legs...

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