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Walnut And Curly Maple End Table

author-gravatar physicistinthegarden Aug 04, 2018

The r/Woodworking mortise & tenon contest motivated me to tackle a project that's been on my wishlist for a long time, my own version of Salsbury Furniture's Jupiter Table (also seen in Good Clean Fun).  This project hand a few different skills I wanted to practice and/or try for the first time.  Overall, I'm very proud of the finished table, there are a few flaws but it's exactly the table I wanted to build.  

Complete table, I'm so happy with how it turned out. 

My starting materials.  Some 2x2x24 walnut for the legs, an 11"x22" curly maple board that measured a little over 2" thick for the top, and some 3/4" I had leftover from a previous project.  

First order of business was the top, as the final dimension dictate the dimensions of the base.  The curly maple was too wide for my jointer, so I used my planer and the "flip it over every time you pass it through" method.  Worked well, but it was already pretty close to flat and parallel to begin with -- just a little rough. 

After I finished planing the board, just needed to decide which will be the top and which will be the bottom.  

Double stick tape on the bottom side to help it stick to the bench cookies (probably unnecessary, but I had no problems with the wood moving while routing).  

Set up my circle router jig to cut the top of the table.  If I ever use this on thick stock again, I might fabricate my own jig out of a more rigid material as there was a small amount of flexing on the parts where the router was not supported by the wood.  

I took many shallow passes to avoid burning and other assorted catastrophes.  As it turned out, my 3" tall spiral upcut bit was not long enough to go all the way through the stock.  Probably should have checked that before I started, I was at a loss of how to recover. 

Good ol' Black and Decker jigsaw to the rescue!  I very slowly traced the outside of the circle left by the router jig, it was enough to cut away the bulk of the waste. 

At this point, the top was still looking ugly and un-circular.  I flipped the piece over and used a flush trim bit with a bearing to clean away the waste left by the jigsaw.  

Even after using the flush trim bit, the top was still looking very rough.  There was enough play in the router jig that parts of the edge followed the waviness of the grain.  So, I started sanding at 80 grit, working my way up through 220.  I constantly rotated the circle on its edge to avoid flattening any particular area. 

Several hours of sanding later, I had a super smooth (almost) perfect circle.  

Another picture of the sanded top, because I'm super proud of it.

Milled up my leg stock. 

Cutting the tenons. 

This seems dicey. Remind me to build a tenoning jig. 

Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. 

Had to redo the cross pieces.  Decided to make my life easier and put the dado stack in the table saw. 

Measuring out my mortises, started with my marking gauge and followed up by deeply scoring the walls using a marking knife and square. 

Chopping out my mortises with my super high end $9.99/3-piece Stanley chisel set. 

Finished the mortise. 

Pretty clean for my first time hand cutting mortises. I'm happy. 

I broke my piece of s*** workbench (read: mdf cabinet with a laminated 2x4 top left behind by the previous homeowner) while chiseling out my last mortise.  Moved my workbench up the project queue - I'm thinking a roubo-style bench similar to Matt Estlea's design.  

First dry fitting of the legs. Still needed to pair down the center of the cross pieces so they sit perfectly flush.  I also decided to add a taper to the legs.

Super-duper fancy taper jig.  Two pieces of 2x4 jointed on bottom and screwed at 90 degrees, and a screw pushing into the workpiece in back to adjust the angle of the taper.  

Happy with the leg taper (didn't want them too dainty because my table top is so bulky).  Plus, now I have 4 sweet walnut wedges if I need to do wedged tenons in the future. 

Dry fit after tapering the legs.  Very happy how the design is turning out. Now to disassemble everything and sand, sand, sand. 

Drilled out the pilot hole for the router jig with a 1/4" bit, inserted a dowel to fasten the top to the base.  

Gluing up the base.  

Since this is a mortise and tenon challenge, I should probably include some close-ups of the joints.  Not perfect, but I'm delighted with the result. 

After three coats of arm-r-seal oil and urethane satin finish. 

Last bit of work was to drill a hole in the cross-pieces for the dowel attaching the top.  

A different angle.  

Current home. 

A better view of the legs and cross-pieces. 


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