Wednesday 6 May 2015

Mid-Century Table (Part 4)

This weekend I started the real build of my new table.
Stock preparation was on the list.

Let me tell you a bit about sawing oak.
Some general thoughts and experiences I had during my shop time.
And a small unboxing feature.

Clean Up

As reported last time I started with some bench clean up. I couldn't get rid of all that stuff. But I have got enough space to store my parts now.

Cross Cutting

I had a look at my board and recognized that I have got some cracks in one of the board ends and I think I can't use that stuff. And I've got a serious crack in the middle of the board so that I have to cut around it.
With all that on the radar I've started to layout the needed pieces.
From one part off the board I'll cut my pieces for the table top. The other half I'll use for the legs and the aprons.
I've laid out all that onto the boards and then made some knife lines for cross cutting. For every cut I made two parallel lines with a distance of about 3 mm (1/8"). That my space for sawing.

Layout lines

Cross cutting 40 mm boards sounds more evil than it is. It went smooth. Always remember - Wax is your friend :-)

Cross cutting the top pieces

As I was ready with these parts the off cut was broken into two pieces. It had a crack too, which I hadn't seen before. Hope the crack wasn't running along the whole board.

Table top boards

Rip Cutting

With all that done I started to layout the legs. As my board was machine planed already I had two nearly perfect edges so that I could use them for marking out the legs.
Again I scribed two cutting lines in parallel and with 3 mm distance between them.
That gave me a nice registration for my saw. I started the saw kerf with a handy tenon saw and then switched to my 4.5 point rip panel saw.

A notch for starting the rip saw

Rip cutting the leg pieces

Calm and patience is the secret. And did I already mentioned that wax is your friend?


With the legs cut I started to dimension the pieces.
As already mentioned the stock is pre-planed. Establishing a face is just removing the planer marks. Establishing a reference edge. Marking the thickness of the pieces. And planing down to the line.

Leg No. 1

I have just to dimension the thickness and to make sure that the edges are square. Then the legs are ready for the next step (tapering and establishing the bevels on one edge).

So far, I have cut the pieces for the table top and the legs. The aprons are already laid out but I still have to resaw these pieces.

All in all it was not bad to do all this by hand. Most of the tasks went well.
Hopefully the resawing will went okay too.

What else?

During this project I started to sharpen my plane irons freehand. I was surprised by myself.
Here is why. 

The first reason was the iron of my spokeshave. I reported in my last post that I had some difficulties with it. My thought was that it would be a good idea to start the next try with a freshly sharpened blade.
Normally I sharpen my blades with an eclipse style honing guide. But as you know, that will not work with a spokeshave blade. Therefore I've bought the Veritas blade extension. Guys, save your money. For me it doesn't work. During the sharpening the blade constantly fold away.
I decided not to spend more effort into it, took the blade out of the honing guide, placed the bevel on my sharpening stone, wiggled around a bit until I found a proper registration and started to sharpen.
What can I say. For the first time the result was not bad. The blade is sharp and from that point on my spokeshave started to work fine for me. Don't get my wrong. I don't say that freehand sharpening makes the behavior of a spokeshave better. 

The second reason was the iron of my low angle jack plane. A few weeks back I brought my blade back to a 25° angle. With that I followed the recommendation of Tom Fidgen. It made sense to me what he said. Sharpening the blades with out any tricks makes the process of sharpening easier.
Unfortunately I have grinded it out of square. So my honing guide won't help me to bring it back.
Without further ado I laid the honing guide aside, placed the blade onto the stone, wiggled until I found a nice registration and started sharpening.
Again, what can I say. I'm surprised how good that works. It is not the most beautiful bevel in the world. But the edge is sharp, I'm nearly back to square and the plane is working pretty well and makes nice shavings on the oak I'm using for the table build.

Somehow hand tool woodworking is a journey. You have to know a lot about wood and joinery and stuff like that. But as well you need a good relationship to your tools.
And from time to time you will reach the next station.
It is not so obvious as the progress of your actual project. All these thing are time consuming, but this will be your personal development and from time to time your achievements.


Something different.
Birthday is really nice. So was mine. I received some nice gifts and I would like to share some with you. Here is the first one.


A panel gauge

I like it :-)

That's my first LN tool and maybe the only one I really can afford.
It's really, really well made. 
So marking out the next panels is assured.

What's next?

That was my week folks. 
I will still have some effort with resawing the apron parts. I will do this during the next days and then I will start with rough shaping the legs for joinery.

Beside that I've got to finish a small packaging box. I'll report about that in one of my next posts.
Nothing special, just a simple box but I plan something special with it.

Hope this post was interesting for you.
I would like to read your thoughts and opinions.

Stay tuned!



  1. Hi Stefan...really enjoying your blog. I am brand new to woodworking and am just completing my first workbench (hopefully this weekend) and am looking forward to actually working on projects. I am drawn to the clean, simple lines of mid-century modern furniture and there are few woodworkers that seem to focus there, so i am enjoying the progress of your build. Keep it up!

    1. Hello Seth,
      nice to hear from you. And I'm glad that you like my blog. Hope I can provide some interesting points of view to you.
      My interest for Mid Century style furniture is based on our (my wife and me) life style.
      Good luck with your workbench build. That's definitely exciting when the bench is ready and you can start your first projects.
      So, stay tuned and see what's coming.