Monthly Archives: February 2011

the table, finished

final table with chairs blog

Did I mention that it's Valentine's Day?

This weekend I put the finishing touches on the table, and with the help of my friend Jeff I was able to get it installed in the dining room on Sunday.  It was an exquisite moment, securing the top and seeing things in their final form for the first time.  This table had existed only in my imagination for years.   Even as the pieces took shape during the past two months, the final synthesis retained its sense of mystery.  It is one of the wonders of making objects in the world, that not all things can be anticipated.  In this case the surprises were pleasant.  I used water-based stain (my home-made walnut stain) and water-borne polyurethane for the finish, allowing me to work safely and effectively indoors during the cold weather.  Although the manufacturer warned against the use of steel wool between coats (to avoid rust spots from the dust, I assume), I went ahead and rubbed out the final coat with good results.  I’ll let the finish shrink back for a while before I decide whether or not to use paste wax for a final coat.

Applying the home-made walnut stain, fast and furious-- I've now added an HVLP gun to my "need" list.

Applying the home-made walnut stain, fast and furious-- I've now added an HVLP gun to my "need" list.

Table base assembly, which breaks down into six component parts (not including the pins for the through-tenons).

Table base assembly, which breaks down into six component parts (not including the pins for the through-tenons).

The curve on the bottom of the central stretcher becomes evident when juxtaposed with the edge of the table top.

The curve on the bottom of the central stretcher becomes evident when juxtaposed with the edge of the table top.

The quarter-sawn oak has a rich assortment of rays, and the wide boards simultaneously harmonize and distance themselves from the floor.

The quarter-sawn oak has a rich assortment of rays, and the wide boards simultaneously harmonize with and distance themselves from the floor.

The edge of the top has a slight chamfer, and the lower edge is undercut at a 15 degree angle to take away some of its visual weight.  It didn't do much to alleviate the actual weight of the top, which is about 7/8" thick.

The upper edge of the top has a slight chamfer, and the lower edge is undercut at a 15 degree angle to take away some of the visual weight. The actual weight is another matter-- it takes two people to move the top, which is about 7/8" thick.

winter storm

We’re in the midst of the large winter storm that has been sweeping the country today.  We have several inches of ice pellets on the ground, and snow is expected within the hour.  Evidently there are accumulations of up to 22″ to our southwest, but those are the only reliable weather reports in this region– the ones relating events that have already happened.  The ice alone was enough for Washington University to cancel classes today, though.  I believe it’s the first time that has happened since I came to St. Louis in 1995.  I made good use of the time, building the last pieces of the dining room table.  Now all that is left is final sanding, assembly of parts, and decisions regarding the stain and finish.  You’ll still need to use your imagination to picture things right-side-up, but here are a few images:

Pedestal base top and bottom, exploded view.  I mirrored dado cuts to create the mortises.

Pedestal base top and bottom blanks, exploded view. I mirrored dado cuts to create the mortises.

Assembled pedestal before chamfering.

Assembled pedestal before chamfering.

All parts in place-- I made the central stretcher today, which has a soft curve along its bottom edge (the top edge in the photo) and a through-tenon at each end.

All parts in place-- I made the central stretcher today, which has a soft curve along its bottom edge (the top edge in the photo) and a through-tenon at each end.

Detail of the through-tenon.  It will have a maple pin that runs from top to bottom, securing it in place.

Detail of the through-tenon. It will have a maple pin that runs from top to bottom, securing it in place.