Wednesday 5 August 2015

Mid-Century Table (Pt. 6)

The first mortises in the legs are done.

Time to start the tenons of the aprons.

But that right...?

My last post ended with the information that I would have to do the mortises into all three legs.

That said, I've done all the upper mortises.

Upper mortises

Honestly I'm not really satisfied with the result. I've never done such imprecise mortises. 
My assumption is that it is due to the grain direction. The holes are more or less diagonal and the chips which came out weren't nice but somehow "crumbly" (if that is the right word).
Although I tried to start my chisel nice aligned to my scribe lines the opening of the mortises are somehow meandering. Fortunately it is only the opening of the mortises. The holes itself are pretty ok.
Anyway, the mortises will never been seen again but it's bothering me a bit.

All the mortises done I had a quick check how it is looking now.

Just a quick check

The Aprons

My decision is to do the top aprons first. I can't wait to see how it will come out.
Additionally doing the mortises wasn't fun this time.

First cut line laid out

So I cut one end of the first apron to an angle.

Shooting the end to the proper angle and square

After cutting it to an angle I shot it on the shooting board. In the picture above you can see the auxiliary fence I have made a few weeks ago.
That done I started to layout the tenon. Very soon I recognized that something was wrong.
The layout lines were looking wrong. but it was difficult to judge that because of the beveled legs. It is somehow difficult to get a clear registration point (or I'm doing it wrong).

A Sample Part

What to do? I've built a sample. I grabbed a piece of wood from my scrap box which had got similar dimensions.
Then I have laid out the tenon in the same way I've done it on the original pieces and cut it.

Oh yes, that's wrong. The mistake I made was as follows. I wanted to came in 1 cm from both edges.
Now I have marked this 1 cm on the end of the pieces and not as necessary on the scribed shoulder line for the joint (hope that makes sense).

I gave it a second try and all of the sudden it worked.

Sample piece fitted to the mortise

See the sample piece fitted to the first leg mortise in the picture above. Not bad for a sample.
And fortunately the mortises are not as bad as thought. They just didn't look nice.

A look into the mortise hole

Here you can see how the tenon is seated in the mortise hole. At the final pieces I have to bevel the tenon ends.

Tenon in relation to layout

And finally a view on tenon and layout lines. It's fitting just fine. Don't be confused about the top line. The sample piece hasn't got the full width. I've used it just to find out how the tenon has to be cut.

The Origin Apron

Well, all this checked I have taken the next step.
Grabbing apron #1 and cutting down the shoulder on both sides of that piece.

Cutting the shoulder line

Then sawing down the cheeks.

Cutting the cheeks

This is the first tenon cut. You can see pretty good how it was done. Sawing from both sides down to the shoulder line and then sawing down the middle part.
I was close to my scribe lines with enough room so that I haven't risked anything.

The first sawn tenon

The cheeks of the tenon I have cleaned with the router plane. I have made good experiences with this technique. For me it works much better then the shoulder or rabbet plane.

Fitting the tenon w. a router

The cheeks were planed from both side until I had the same depth on both. And I've fitted the tenon in small increment so that I perfectly fits into the mortises.

A snug fit

I call that a snug fit. You can't see it in the picture, but the leg is hanging at the apron tenon.
Last step was to saw both end so that the tenon has got the right width to fit the mortise.

First test

And now the exciting moment had come. Inserting the tenon into the mortise and see how it's going.
I was dead on my lines as you can see in the picture above. Just the length of the tenon had to be adjusted.
That done the apron sits perfect in its mortise. I only had to adjust the shoulder a hair with the shoulder plane.

Apron #1 at its place

Next step is got transfer the measurements from my drawing to the other end.
Therefore I have laid the piece onto my 1:1 size drawing and marked the position right from it.

Transferring measurements from the drawing

What's Next?

As I have figured out the right layout for the tenons now, I have to cut the missing 5.
I think that will went well now. The necessary steps are trained now and I will follow the procedure.
Hopefully I can do this until the weekend.

Afterwards I will care about the lower rails. That should be a piece of cake now, because it will follow the same principals.

Stay tuned to see how the table will come into being.



  1. Coming along nicely!
    Here is a tip for nice looking mortises entrance walls, cut a shallow groove the size of the mortise first with a knife. See my June post on it
    It does two things, help register your chisel while cutting and provides a clean outlook of the mortise. That is what I always used, it help me a lot registering my chisel without looking ...a good thing with my triple focals glasses :-)

  2. It is actually great that I landed accidentally on your blog, now I am so excited to see your next post and want to see the complete finished table now. Please post soon.