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Today I’m continuing my dining table build and I’ve already made the dining table top if you haven’t seen this and are interested in this i’ll post a link in the description below where you can check out that site. But this dining table isn’t going to be huge, this tabletop is about 27 inches by 62, which is small for most people, however it’s perfectly sized for our application in our house. It’ll sit a maximum of four people which is exactly what we want.
Anyway i’m going to start with the base on this, this slab of hickory this is a 3 inch thick slab of hickory, that I got from my local woodworking friend of mine Sean Stone. And it’s, it’s got too much twist in it for me to make a actual slab top project out of it. so I think i’d be removing too much material if I try to flatten this, it’ll just be wasteful. So, instead, I’m going to use this for the legs. this is enough material over here for one, two, three, four, all four of the legs, on this side of the slab, and i’ll have a lot left over to work with, as needed. But I can’t put this through my band saw or table saw as it is, it’s just too heavy and awkward for me to move around, so I think i’m gonna take it outside and rough cut it with a circular saw first. The maximum depth of the circular saw is not enough to cut the slab all the way through so I have to finish the cut with a reciprocating saw. Then once back in the shop the slab can be cut in half, to make the pieces a little bit more manageable, and then rough cut at the bandsaw. Once these pieces are rough cut they can be squared on two sides at the jointer, and then typically I would use my planer to get the other two sides square and parallel but instead I wanted to use my table saw for this. I think it’d be a lot less stress on my planer blades because this material is so hard. Unfortunately, because i’m using the table saw and only taking just a little bit off of one side of each one of these boards, it’s throwing dust everywhere, so, that’s the only downside of using this particular method. At this point the legs are not down to their final size just yet, they’re a little bit oversized and this is because I want these to sit overnight and release any type of stresses that they may have. The slab has been sitting for quite some time and just cutting it up you may end up having a little bit of stress or movement. and I want to be able to mill that back out if there’s any movement at this stage. I went ahead and redid the entire milling process once more after letting this sit, and nothing moved, so we’re good to go. These legs have quite a bit more character in them than what I thought they would have. There’s a lot of bug holes and defects here and there, so this is either going to look really nice because it’s going to accent the table, or it’s going to look really crappy, time will tell. But anyway I’m ready to start in on the apron rails and the mortises for those. Now I’ve decided, my wife and I have decided that the base designs that I’ve come up with are just just too busy for the area that we have. So instead of making a complicated multiple part base for this table, we’re just going to go ahead and go with a traditional four-legged base and then add some accents near the end. But right now I need to cut the mortises for the apron rails and to do that I’m using a plunge router and an edge guide attachment. Real quick I want to mention the grain selection for these legs. typically it’s sought after to have quarter sawn material for just about everything not so much in legs though. Quarter sawn materials where the grain is pretty much vertical or very close to it, so that on the top and bottom surfaces you have a nice straight grain appearance. that’s something that’s really nice on -say- like a tabletop. Not so much on these legs because quarter-sawn material is nice and straight on one end but then on the other side it’s basically like flat sawn material so it’s like that you have that Cathedral look, which looks completely different than the straight grain looks. So, here, with the grain is somewhat of a 45 degree angle, then that means the grain is coming through the side faces, just about the same way on all four of these sides resulting in somewhat more uniform straight grain appearance on all four sides. in the end this will look a lot more uniform all the way around than choosing something like this which is quarter-sawn, or flat-sawn and you’ll have two distinct different looks on the faces. when using a plunge router to make a mortise it’s always best to plunge a full-depth hole in the start and stop locations first, and this does a lot in preventing you from overshooting your start and stop points the further you go into the mortise. Now, actually removing the material in between, I’m only making my cuts left to right from my eyes, and the reason being is the edge guide is on my side of the workpiece, so as the bit is spinning clockwise in the mortise, it’s wanting to essentially pull the router as it grabs, pull the router away from my body and push it forward, due to the circular motion. so with the edge guide on my side of the material, all that’s going to do is keep the material or keep the edge guide flush up against the material, and keep it tracking perfectly as I move left to right. So if I was to have the edge guide on my side and move right to left, the bit is still moving in a clockwise rotation and that will actually cause the router to be pushed into me and the edge guide will no longer be referenced stopped up against the material. I would still hold it firmly in place but it allows room for error, as the router will want to kind of push away from the mortise. The bit that I’m using is a one-half inch spiral up cut bit, and the up cut bit actually allows the material to be removed a little bit easier inside the mortise as it’s being cut. But it is a one half of an inch diameter bit, and I find that this bit cuts the best in this particular router with the speed all the way down to its lowest setting. Which in this case is 10,000 RPM. Because the legs have so much character in them I chose the board that has the most character in it for the long rails, and for the short rails I chose a board that has just nothing but sapwood, that way, hopefully it’ll tie the sapwood breadboard ends of the table top in with the base. Now the process for milling this is pretty much the same, run through the thickness planer to skip planing both sides, join the edges, rip them to their final size at the table saw, and then cut them to their final length at the miter saw.
And at this point I can set up the dado stack in the table saw to dial in the size for the tenons. I’m using one of the offcuts from when I cut the long rails to their final length, that way I have the exact thickness material that I’m working with and it’s just a scrap piece. So I can use it to dial in the height of the dado stack and that will give me the perfect width of the tenons for these rails. And once I have it dialed in, I can make all of my tenon cuts in the end of these rails without changing the setup. I intentionally made the mortise stopped about a half of an inch from the top of the leg and that is to provide a little bit more material support up here to prevent racking. So now I can cut this down to size and then chop off the corners of the square tenons so that it’ll fit into the rounded mortise. And after a few adjustments, back and forth at the bench, the tenon should fit in there nice and snug. The tops are nice and flush, so this is one down, seven more for me to do. I’m using walnut as an accent wood on this table and I want to make an inlay band all the way around the leg, so I’ve reduced the dado stack to about a quarter of an inch in width and it’s about one-eighth of an inch depth for the cut and I’ll make a band all the way around the base of the legs about two inches up from the bottom. With a project like this it’s gonna be a lot easier to do as much surface prep as possible before assembly, so I’ve already scraped all four of the apron rails as well as all four of the legs with a card scraper and now I’m ready for a rough assembly. I don’t want to glue it together yet because I do want to take measurements for the center support and I want to install that or fit that before I glue it together. now these little walnut bands here at the bottom, I was originally going to trim these flush so they’re just regular inlays, however I think I like the look of them proud, so, last-minute design change, I guess, i’ll leave these proud, and also the walnut band that I plan on adding to the bottom of the apron rails later, I will make those proud just the same amount as these are, I think it’ll fit and add a nice little touch. But for right now I can do a dry assembly and get the measurement for the interior support that will connect both of the long rails. As you can see this piece is not only a little bit short, it’s not quite the same height as the side rails, that’s because I just ripped it down on the table saw, because I had to remove a defect that I didn’t see previously. But it’s also a quarter inch long on either side, and that is because I want to connect it in the middle of the table to the long rails with a quarter-inch sliding dovetail. And the only purpose of this connection in the middle of the table is to prevent these long rails from either bowing out, or coming in together over time. it’ll just kind of tie everything together and offer a little bit of support for the table top in the center of the table. To make the male end of the sliding dovetail I’ll first use a marking gauge to establish where the dovetail will be, and then i’ll use a chisel to make a knife line for the saw, the saw will cut the shoulders of the dovetail joint, and then I can just chisel the rest of the shape as needed. To make the female end, or the pin side of the dovetail joint, it’s just a matter of marking everything out and then chopping away the waste. So this is the first sliding dovetail joint I’ve done by hand, and not too bad, not great either. everything looks all right as far as the geometry of it, but I went too far with my saw curve on one side and add some chip out near the bottom. Luckily, this is on the inside of the table, nobody will see it. But I’ll try to do better next time. So, the fit, is nice and tight, and it gets super tight at the end, so, i’m going to call that a success, thumbs up. one down, one to go and then I can start assembly. I’m starting the assembly with both of the short sides, and it’s going to be easier to have these two glued together before I add the long rails because I don’t have any clamps big enough for the long rails to be connected. I’m actually going to have to use a ratchet strap from my truck. but anyway, I want to make sure that I get all of the glue squeezed out off of the exterior of the joint once it’s glued together right now, rather than scraping it off later. As soon as this is done as being assembled I’m gonna go straight to a clear coat, a water-based polyurethane, and I don’t want in to, I don’t want to have to scrape off any glue at that stage. I am going to be using water and a rag to pre-raise the grain, And then lightly sand it down before I apply the finish, so I’m not concerned at all about getting a little bit too much water on the surface of the project. as I clean the glue off of the joints. I’m adding these walnuts trips to the bottom of the apron rails and these are sized the same as the walnuts strips in the bottom of the legs. And this will kind of tie everything together. And they’re going to be offset an overhanging the bottom of the apron rails, the same amount as the overhang in the bottom of the leg. so these should complement each other just fine. Also, the last thing I want to add during the glue-up is a couple glue blocks to each one of the corners. I think the mortise and tenon joints will be really strong long-term but these added glue blocks sure won’t hurt anything. I left the base sit in clamps overnight to allow enough time for all the glue joints to properly dry and off camera I cut a small chamfer on the bottom edge, of all of the legs and that’s to prevent chip out if the table is dragged across the floor. and then also off camera I cut a bunch of slots on the inside of the top of the frame to allow for a tabletop hold down fasteners once I need to assemble this in. So right now I’ve already taking it outside it’s a beautiful day, which is quite odd, I was expecting rain today, but it’s sunny, breezy and low humidity which is perfect for finishing. So, I’ve already raised the grain with some water and sand it down all of the edges, or sand it down all the surfaces, blew off all the dust and I’m ready to apply a finish. I’m using water-based polyurethane for this, I’ve had great results with it for previous applications. So that’s what I’m going with here, and, because of it is such a great day outside I think I can get a couple coats on here relatively quick, sanding with 220 grit sandpaper in between. and then i’ll be ready for final assembly inside. As i’ve previously stated and also if you follow me on social media or my second channel, you’ll know that this project is gone through so many different design changes. And I’m very very pleased with the final result, it’s a simple table, but it has a little bit of extra touch here and there with the walnut accents, which are simple in their own, they’re just little strips of walnut, but I think they had a lot to the project. And also, keeping the design very simple it allows the wood to do all the talking rather than the design. And the Hickory that we picked out looks great. The legs that I was previously concerned with, with the insect damage, I’m extremely pleased I really like the way that these turned out, the insect damage adds a little bit of character without being overwhelming. And then, also with the slab, as I was cutting it up, it was kind of a coin toss, because, in the slab state I could not see how the wood grain would look, and, now that I’ve had it all cut, plained and then put some finish on it, it looks absolutely beautiful. I really really like this table. If you like a set of plans for this table I do have them available, in this size as well as various other sizes that are larger than this. This is seated for four people, which is the exact size that we wanted here in this house, We’re just gonna have two benches, one on either side, I’ll build those at a later day, but for the size of this table, we wanted it this size because, typically it’s just me and my wife eating here, we don’t have that much company eating over, and if we do have more than -say- four people to eat right here, then we do also have our breakfast bar and some folding tables, which is very very rare. So, the main concern with me for making the table this size, actually was for board games. Me and my wife play a lot of board games, even while we eat diner we play “Sorry!” just every single night for the past five years, and, with this sized table, we can not only eat opposite of each other without being in each other’s way, but we can also play our board games and reach to the other side, without having to really, really stretch over the table. So, anyway, thanks for reading, if you guys have any more questions on this table, or the plans, or any of that stuff, there’s a link in the description below for the website article for this project check that out, i’m sure most of the questions are already answered there. Thanks for reading, you guys take care, and have a great day. .