Clean and simple lines provide the key to these beautiful tables.
SHOP OWNER: Derek Cohen
LOCATION: Perth, Australia
The request for a pair of end tables came from my wife, who had pointed out that we needed something on which to rest table lamps alongside the couches in the living room. We both enjoy furniture with simple and clean lines so we agreed on a set of half-round tables in Jarrah and Tasmanian Oak.
This project had a number of interesting construction aspects, such as bending the aprons, shaping the legs, and cutting the joints.
For bending the aprons, I chose to laminate the curve by gluing 2mm wide Jarrah strips around a form. These were cut on the bandsaw to 5mm and then smoothed and reduced on the planer. After glue-up, the lengths were planed by hand to final size and cleaned up with card scrapers.
While beading the apron my preference for hand tools really began to assert itself in the form of this scratch stock that began life as a marking gauge.
The legs are curved as well as tapered, and this provided the opportunity to get the HNT Gordon spokeshaves I had for review a good run. Each table has three identical legs and I began by cutting two templates out of 1/8” MDF – one for the curve and one for the taper.
Here you can see the legs marked out.
Using the bandsaw I cut close to the line, at which point I used the spokeshaves to shape them to the final dimension.
Here is a close-up of the finished leg.
Connecting the legs to the apron required two basic joints. The side legs used mortise and tenons, while the center leg used a bridle joint. The first step was to cut the mortises. The Jarrah was pretty hard, so I put away the mortise chisels and used the router instead.
Next came the tenons. At least here I could use hand tools again. Making sure all the ends and edges of the stretcher were square, the baseline was marked out with a cutting gauge, and then a mortise gauge was used to mark out the tenon. I cut the tenons as close to the line as possible. Sometimes I get lucky and they fit first time!
The shoulders were cut away and cleaned up with a shoulder plane, and the ends of the mortise cut to size.
Once glued up, I pinned the mortise and tenon joint.
The bridle joint was similar. I began by marking the layout lines on the apron.
Then I used a sharp chisel to pare away the waste.
The result was a tight fitting joint.
I built the Tasmanian Oak top out of two pieces, which I cut from a 1” thick board. This was jointed by hand plane, then doweled (to aid alignment), and glued. The curve was also cut on the bandsaw, and then smoothed with a spokeshave.
After leveling the top with a jack plane and cleaning the result with a smoother, the edge was lightly chamfered using a chamfer plane and block plane.
Here is a look at the completed top.
Here’s a final look at the table details up close.. . . Derek Cohen
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