As this project evolved, so did certain skills.
SHOP OWNER: Paul Kramer
LOCATION: Evansville, IN
This project could be either a TV table or a plant stand. I designed this piece with more than just its expected function and location in mind. While the predominant wood is walnut, the drawer pulls and the pins are dogwood, and the secondary wood for the drawers is poplar. The design is my own, with some generous input gleaned at IndyFest this past fall. This project evolved as I made little sketches of things, completed the measured drawings, etc.
There are a lot of firsts in this one. It's the first piece that I've done almost entirely of solid wood. I guess I've never felt worthy enough to use all solid wood, thinking I would screw it up and waste some valuable materials to make firewood. I tried to use the "golden proportion" to graduate the heights of the space under the drawers as well as the drawers. I also used it to get the relationship between the height and width of the piece.
This was my first use of a “lamb's tongue” to terminate a chamfer.
This is the first time I've ever used a spoke shave -- and to great advantage. Also, a first use of this much walnut or any dogwood.
I used mostly hand tools to cut the joinery. The stock preparation cost the lives of many electrons. This allowed for some real creativity on the edging of the legs and top. A few electrons bit the dust in the cutting of the mortises too. I am building my hand planing skills at surfacing raw lumber and putting a smooth finish on things. I still need some serious practice with the dovetails. I liked the uncomplicated nature of side-hung drawers but that made the bottom drawer a bit heavy.
I've learned that walnut is beautiful but maybe not the ideal wood on which to cut my hand tool “teeth”, especially the surface planing. So, I ended up prepping the surfaces for finish by sanding. However, after IndyFest, things improved dramatically. I even did the beading at the bottom of the sides, back and lower drawer with my Stanley 45.
The finish was a four-part regimen. I experimented with the underside of the top -- that's why it's so shiny. While I was doing the finishing I was questioning my sanity. Looking back, it was worth it. I first applied plain Watco, sanded in with 400-grit paper, which I followed with a coat of 2 lb. cut shellac over everything. Then came a couple (three on the surface of the top) coats of clear water based polyurethane. Finally, I applied wax with 0000 steel wool. It came out well -- I'm sure in no small part because of what I gained from you learned folks plus some trial and error on scrap pieces.. . . Paul Kramer
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