Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

I’ve started a new project, the creation of a rectangular table for the toy store.

It’s a pretty straightforward table :

Dimensions: 80 x 220 x 75cm for the top on 4 solid legs (7×7) and with sides (for firmness). I looked at different pieces of wood, but finally decided for (old) french Oak. I think this will be around 10h of work.

The Oak came in pieces of 275 x 22 and an inch thick, so I calculated I needed :

4 for the top, 2 for the legs, and 2 for the sideboards. Making sure I had some spare, I bought 9, putting the cost of this table at 177 euro (ex VAT).

Since the design is so pretty straightforward I didn’t even make a plan. First shift (2,5 hours) I worked on it, I straightened (leaving them at 24mm thickness) and sawed the boards to (rough) measure:

I now have my wood laid out:

8 boards for the top 275×10

12 boards for the legs 80 x 7,2

4 boards for the sides 275 x 10

You can see that I cut the top boards into 2 smaller ones. This is to insure a straight surface; when glueing them together I’ll make sure the natural bend of the wood is mixed (up,down,up, etc…). (photo to be added)

now during the next days, I will be glueing the legs, taking 3 boards and glueing them together. This way by next monday, I will have 4 legs of 7 x 7 (actually a bit more, but that way I can haul them through the machine once more to make sure the fit is perfect).

To be continued next week…


I know… and mea culpa…    

I said here earlier that I would tell you about the progress on my table that I was making and I haven’t…    

But the good news is that I finally finished it!
Last Sunday I spent the last 6 hours or so, sanding the entire table and creating the table top decoration with the plunge router.
Also since Afzelia splinters easily, all edges needed to be smoothed (sanding, sanding and more sanding) to protect both the table and skin of its users.    

Now all that remains to do is put it outside and put it to the real first test on saturday (BBQ with some friends). We have secretly already used it this summer (june) but it missed the foot and finishing at that time.    

So here is some step by step information:    

Originally I tought of making the top about 40mm thick with an inlay of 20mm, but sometimes you have to take into account your wood measurements, so that you don’t waste too much material…    

The Afzelia came in beams of 670 mm thick, so I had those cut in 3; this, taking into account the saw thickness, left me with boards of just over 20mm each. Once they were planed (chafed?) and straightened that left me with a whole pile of 17mm boards. So 17mm became the standard measurement, making the top 34mm (2 glued together)    

The most difficult part of the entire table was creating the round borders for the tabletop.    

12th of a circle border piece


This is a 12th of a circle piece, which has a very narrow margin of error: once twelve are fitted together, the circle needs to be closed and it has to look like circle (no waves in the outline).    

Step 1: Draw one at full size
This immediately posed me with a problem since the radius is 900 mm and i don’t have a compass that size. A cord solved that and was accurate enough to give me the desired result. Since there are 12 pieces in a circle the ‘pie’ is 30°.  I didn’t trust my cord (and, I admit, I’m a perfectionist), so I didn’t want to read the length of the straight edge from the drawing, but wanted to calculate it. After some higher mathematics were applied, I got that figured out.    

Then I took a mdf board to create a first mould. After about half an hour of sanding I obtained a useable mould. Now since i needed to make 24 pieces using the miller (not sure that is the correct word) the mdf was not good enough as a guide (too soft). So I used the MDF mould to create the real mould from a piece of oak that was left from a previous venture.    

Tip: don’t make the same mistake I did, with making the mould too small. Leave extra wood where possible (of course not at the circle shape rim) so that you can easily fetch the board to the mould. The same of course applies for the boards. Make sure the 12th circle edge is roughly cut (so that you don’t need to take of too much material with the miller), but leave a reasonable portion to the sides or bottom to fix the mould (with screws).    

And if you did make the mistake, as I was glueing two pieces together, I made sure the screw holes were on the surfaces that were not going to be visible.    

Then problem number 2, cutting the edges at exactly 15°. Since my shop doesn’t have a computer driven saw, getting the angle correct is not easy. And again, since I was going to create a circle, the margin for error is very small. So set the saw to 15°, saw a piece of wood (trial) and measure it with an adjustable bevel. Again, I wasn’t convinced, so I actually sawed 12 pieces (of around 100mm length) and tried to create a circle. I’m sure I corrected it again with a least a 10th of a degree (I know, I know) and then finally cut the border pieces.    

Remark: Of course I glued them together first and sawed them after (avoiding a non perfect side edge)    

Tip: Since the edge is at a 15° angle, creating a tenon is very difficult. instead, I decided to make a mortise on each side and use a loose tenon.    

To be continued….

I am currently working on a wooden table for my terrace. I have laid my terrace (myself) last summer and already enjoyed it. However it became quickly clear that the shabby table we had was not suited for the new terrace.

So Sonja (my wife) picked a table (in one of those fancy magazines) and i agreed to make it during the winter. Of course she didn’t go for a simple square table, but chose a round table on a central stand.

step 1 : draw the table. (plan will be uploaded at a later date)

step 2: decide on the wood

the table needs to stand outside all year, so has to be in a good quality, wheater resistant wood. Teak was my first choice but turned out to be too expensive.

Instead I chose Afzelia bipindensis . It is african and higly resistant to outside circumstances. (and less expensive as teak)

to be continued…(pictures, hands on tips, etc…)