Crafting Wood

So our new project is for each of us to design and build our own personal table. The instructions are to figure out the dimensions for the kind of table we want keeping within a few guidelines based on the sizes of the clamps we have available to use when glueing. After we each figure out the size we want and construct according to the guidelines and instruction provided by Nell, we can then be as creative and/or functional as we desire.

We received preliminary instructions in class on March 29. On April Fool’s Day a few of us headed off to Home Depot to buy our wood. Had I not forgotten my camera I would be able to post some pretty amusing photos of myself, Natasha and Seung-Yung as we tried to find the best pieces of pine for our project. I did appreciate having my comrades with me, I felt less self-conscious and out-of-place in that “man world”! We returned to ASC victorious and unloaded our beautiful wood from my truck to await its fate the following morning.

I need a drawing table for my lil’ apartment that I can move from room to room as needed. I also want an easel I can use on the top or take with me if I want to draw or paint in the field. My plan is to dismantle and re-assemble an easel I bought from a craft store that is not really very stable and convert it to be a shorter more stable version for my table project. I designed my table to be 30″ long and the width of five 1″x6″ boards which in reality comes out to be 27 and a half inches when assembled. In short, my table top will be about 27″x30″.

Sawing and Sanding

(or the real reason men have muscles)

A chop saw is a big circular saw that looks and sounds a little scary if (like me) you have no prior experience with power-tools.

But with a little common sense they are really not that difficult to use. The hardest part for me is the measuring and figuring out dimensions. After this was made a lot easier by our esteemed Professor, I proceeded with the cutting of the wood. Just let me say…..


Seriously, it was a very cool feeling to use that saw. I think I could chop wood all day. At least some days!

Anyway, moving on, the next step was to glue the sections that would form the table top together and when it was dry to sand the wood smooth. Using handheld Sanders the wood was finished nicely.

As I started the glueing process I really began to like this project. I have always loved creating things with my hands; whether it is a piece of art, a garden, or just a clean and organized living space, I’m all over it. So as this project developed I began to visualise ALL KINDS of wood projects in my little head. More on this later……

Figuring Out The Unexpected….

Some of the challenges I had included how to fit rungs between the legs. We used biscuit joints for the table-tops and the skirt to leg joins.

This involved using a saw that plunges a groove into the wood where the join will be.

So that after assembling with glue and clamping tight for 2-3 hours, you get something like this:

But I was making the rungs out of 2 x 2 which is really more like 1.5 x 1.5, so there was not enough width to make biscuit joins. Following Nell’s suggestion, I bored holes in the ends of the rungs and the sides of the legs where the join would be:

And used a wood dowel (3/8″) instead of the biscuit:

After glueing and clamping 

I had this:

 Next step is to plunge for more biscuit joins:

And glue the top to the bottom structure. Unfortunately, my wood had some hidden defects that showed up as soon as I tightened the clamps………

I tried using more clamps to counter-act the bending/cracking thing that was happening (to no avail) and in the end I had “FrankenTable”

So I adopted a wait and see attitude and went home for the night!

Next: The Result!

Only a bit of a droop left on the right side! The crack disappeared and the glue sanded off leaving a nice smooth finish. The table is not perfect but it fits into my life right now.

The next step was to make the piece I want to put on the top to keep the easel from sliding off when I’m trying to draw. For this I used a piece of leftover 1×4. I mirrored a pattern on paper and traced it on the wood. Using the jigsaw, I carefully cut along the lines I drew as closely as possible. Then I sanded it to near (not quite) perfection to match the table. Using the same method for joining I attached it to the table and viola!

Ready for the finale!


One response

  1. Ashley Fournier

    Wow, this looks awesome! I’m so impressed with your carpentry skills.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

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