Wednesday 12 August 2015

Mid-Century Table (Pt. 7)

Concentrating on the essentials was the theme of last week.

My rare workshop time is focused on this single project for the time being.

Last time I stopped the project report at establishing the second shoulder line on the aprons.

Marking the position of the second tenon

The Aprons

With the well working procedure of cutting down the cheeks and cleaning it with the router plane I've made the second tenon.

That done the moment of truth is pretty close. How does that look?

First test fit - an apron between two legs

Great! It fits pretty well. The joints are sitting pretty close.

I continued to go along that path. Cutting all the tenons and fitting it to the corresponding mortise.

The second test was to see how it looks if two aprons are joint to one leg.

Two aprons in one leg

With this test done I recognized that I will have to bevel the tenons. Just like that.

Tenons wit and without bevel

Finally, all tenons cut and all aprons are mounted to the legs it looks like that.....

First test fit of all parts

View from the total

I'm lucky how it came out. If you will wonder why the legs are rising above the aprons. It's just an action of safeness. I wanted to avoid break outs during chopping the mortise holes.
Long story short - they have to be cut to length.

Lower Rails

To make the lower rails is the next stage in this project.

Stock for the rails

The procedure is pretty much the same as for the aprons.
Cutting the ends to an angle.

Angle laid out

All pieces cut
Finally shot square

Then laying out and cutting the tenons and fitting it to the mortises.

As I wanted to see how it looks I started to chop the mortises in one leg first and made the first tenon.

It came out like this. I've laid it onto the actual size drawing and you see I'm pretty dead on to my drawing.

Leg, apron and rail

Nevertheless, it does not pay to do something fairly quick. The first tenon is a bit loose, but not loose enough to fix it. Maybe I will use it for another mortise ;-) (that was on Monday).

As I found some time yesterday I made the mortises in the second leg.

Two legs with lower mortises

And luckily the first tenon I've made is fitting much better to one of these mortises, So I have erased my marking and exchanged the parts. Means the aprons is not between A-B any longer but between C-D.
Not that much room for another mistake now ;-)


Anyway. I have tried to find out why my mortise holes haven't got crisp lines and are meandering. And I have found the error.
My marking lines were a millimeter too narrow. And as I started chopping I was not between the lines but slightly over it on both sides.
Hmmmm. How can that be? I set my marking gauge with a chisel (a good one by the way). I grabbed that chisel and my calipers and noticed that the chisel is not 6 but 5,5 mm.
Weird! I've used it so often and not noticed that.
By chance I had the same chisel twice. Measuring the second one was fine. So I have prepared it to being used (which costs some additional shop time).

I've fixed the inside marking line and then chopped the mortise with the fitting chisel.
The mortise holes are much better now.

What's Next?

As soon as all the aprons and rails are done and the table can be locked together, the next steps can be done.
The upper part of the legs have to be cut to length.
A question I haven't got an answer at the moment is, if I should shape the legs in front of the assembly or afterwards.
A problem that already presented itself is how to clamp the parts during the glue up.
For sure I will have to make some clamping cauls. But will it be easier to make rounded ones or somehow rectangles?
I'm pretty sure it will be easier to shape the legs before assembly.

Maybe I can win time (to think about it) with taking care about the table top.
The stock has to be prepared. That means I have to resaw thick material.
Not a nice job at the moment, because the temperatures and the humidity are high at the moment.
That said I'll start to build a template for the top. Remember, the table top will be triangular with rounded corners.

That's all folks!

See you next time.



  1. For clamping something like this I would use a strap clamp. If I didn't have a strap clamp I would probably clamp up one leg at a time - maybe with a special one time clamping pad(s).

    1. Hi Ralph,
      yeah. Thought already in that direction. I've already tried to use a packaging strap. That worked temporarily but doesn't gave enough pressure. Maybe I will have a look for a special strap clamp you mentioned.
      Assembly is really tricky and I figured out that you only can do 2 stages. First glue up two legs with one apron and rail. Then you can do one leg with 2 aprons and rails. And finally you have to put those both parts together.
      Anyway, it will be an exciting glue up.


  2. Nifty project! Lots of angle in that one, a great joinery challenge -:)
    Your doing good BTW...

    1. Hi Bob,
      thanks for praise.
      Yes that's right. A lot of angles. But it makes happy as soon as the parts will fit. :-)