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Author Topic: simple table with complications  (Read 1045 times)

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Offline grouch

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simple table with complications
« on: April 27, 2017, 07:34:55 pm »
I'm going to jump right in here like I know what I'm doing.

[Please be patient, there's going to be a barrage of photos. I've been away from the Forestry Forum too long -- lots of stuff *had* to be done and all fighting for priority -- but every time I stole some time to saw or do this woodworking project, a little voice in my head would say, 'so-and-so will want to see that', or 'they're gonna fuss if you just tell about it without pictures'. So I'd grab the camera, snap a few, and get back to work. Apparently that voice was doing a lot of nagging because when I got my head above water I had a pile of photos. ]

About 40 years ago, shortly after we moved from a trailer park in a city to this farm, my wife and I planted a bunch of water maple saplings that her father gave her. In 2015, I cut one of those trees into lumber. It was used this February to build for her what she calls a potting workbench. (It's a table to me, but I just built it, I don't own or use it).

The man who showed us this farm -- to end my griping about the city and the trailer park -- sold me an old used Miller jack plane when he found out I was building stuff in the trailer. (The 12x70 "mobile" home had the then-fashionable shag carpet throughout. That was so filled with sawdust and wood chips that the guy who bought it from us simply ripped it all out -- it couldn't be vacuumed out). All trued edges in this weird little table, including glue joints, were made so with that plane.

About the same time we were planting new trees on our new farm, my wife's brother sold me a DeWalt radial arm saw. Her mother stepped into the deal and made him refund half the agreed purchase price. (We ribbed each other over that for years). That saw made all the cuts on this project.

Those four good people are gone now, but sorta tied together in my wife's new "workbench".

First, the scrap wood thing she refused to give up:



And here's its replacement as it looked when it first saw the light of day, prior to rubbing and waxing (you can see that the big dog is unimpressed);


Photo bombardment about to commence...

Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 08:15:31 pm »
Most of the maple I sawed is still stacked outside near the sawmill, but some selected pieces from a crotch were taken straight to my garage. These were the ones used for the table. I don't know what their moisture content was or is after a little over a year.

She was consulted on selection and design decisions all along the way. I warned her it could crack or warp because it hasn't been kiln dried. Her criteria were simple: Is it the same height as the old table, will it hold [a specific sized tray of plants], will it stand up to pounding the pots to tamp the dirt around roots, can I move it easily?

The height was easy. Getting a table top the size she wanted out of the bookmatched, Y-shaped crotch boards wasn't. She was ok with the odd shape and the little gaps in the glue joint in order to get the necessary surface area.

As soon as I started planing the edges, I wished it had been quartersawn:











That's the way it went for the glue joints for top and the lower shelf and the 4 legs (which she said looked like bell-bottom jeans from the early 70s).

Naturally, everything shaved off had to go to plants:


If you got bell-bottom jeans, you have to have clog shoes, right?


It only looks rippled. It's smooth. Trust me.


I've told my son, "If you're selling, it's spalted; if you're buying, it's pre-rotted." Either way, it's gaudier than I expected from water maple.


She kept telling me the wood was too pretty for a workbench. Some design decisions were to psych her out -- it's just a workbench, it's ok to beat on it, scoot it around, get dirt and water on it. You don't see drywall screws in a Queen Anne lowboy, do you?



Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 08:28:38 pm »
Cool looking wood.  You're right, quarter sawn would have been fantastic!
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Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 08:59:01 pm »
Spalting everywhere


90 degree angles are not sacred, just convenient sometimes. To square up the top would have trashed some figures she liked. She won out over convention.




To get the minimum acceptable width using the bookmatched crotch boards she liked, I had to stop planing the glue joint before I wanted to -- hence, gaps:


Lower shelf kept staring at me with all them eyes:


Spalting and ripples together:


I can never get that one-eyed camera to see the same thing I do.


Lower shelf is not fastened. It just slides in on top of the frame. She likes the odd shape of the 'live' edges. The red is a little too red in this photo; it's more brownish in reality:


Early one morning about dawn. Color seems shifted toward blue or green:


Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 09:15:28 pm »
She says the screws for the feet, er, clog shoes, are the sequins on the bell-bottoms. I don't argue; it's her workbench now.



Finish is 3 coats of Cabot satin polyurethane, sanded between coats with 220 silicon carbide, rubbed with #0000 steel wool, followed by Johnson's paste wax (the can was bought about the time we bought the farm :).















She says the top looks like a tree (the curved sides).

This photo shows its got some weirdness going on -- the top looks like it's headed a different direction than the rest.




I swear the bugs or worms did those regularly spaced black dots; I didn't.


Slightly ripply top surface. Won't hurt to beat on it with flower pots. Especially with a finish meant for floors. ;)




Weird table needs a weird view:


Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 09:21:03 pm »


Oh, and those shoes -- it's going on a concrete floor so the 3/4" legs would likely get splintered when scooting around. The shoes ought to withstand it better. They're also planed so the toe touches before the heel, giving it a wider stance for stability. I didn't take any pains about their finish (or even the clamp mark, obviously).



Bombardment over. You can uncover your eyes now.  ;D

Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 10:00:33 pm »
Cool looking wood.  You're right, quarter sawn would have been fantastic!

That's it. Rub it in. :)

Actually, I don't think I had enough of the piece these came from to quartersaw it. Plus it would have eliminated some of the stuff she liked about the boards. Then there's the fact that I've never quartersawn anything yet. (Rift sawed one maple log recently but it didn't turn out well).

But I can dream of a whole piece looking like those edges!


Offline WDH

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 10:28:05 pm »
What a beautiful result from incredibly beautiful wood.  Fantastic wood, in fact.  I love it  8)
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Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 10:48:11 pm »
What a beautiful result from incredibly beautiful wood.  Fantastic wood, in fact.  I love it  8).

Thank you for the kind words. Most of the maple from that tree was fairly plain with just a few ambrosia streaks. (You identified some sapsucker marks on some of it in the "Whatcha sawin'" thread).

Oh, forgot a couple of details.

Shortly after starting the project the weather turned more February-like so I brought everything in the house to continue work. Warned her that everything would shrink. I hadn't glued the top together yet, just had some battens screwed to the underside -- hole at one end for the screw to one board, slot for the screw into the other board. Overnight it opened a 1/8" gap between boards. I waited until it quit shrinking before gluing with biscuits. Still has the battens, too.

Also, I used a soldering iron to burn an inscription on the inside of the top frame. Has date, reference to her and her father and the source of the wood. Should outlast both of us. :)

[Edit to add:]
Sandpaper was only used on the finish. All shaping and smoothing of the wood was done with blades -- plane, spokeshave, drawknife, razor.

First time I've ever done something with a live edge and tried to put a finish on it. Time will tell if it stays on.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2017, 05:46:31 am »
That's alot of splated wood!!!!
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Offline Magicman

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2017, 09:00:29 am »
QS on one edge/side and ripple on the other!  That piece is superb and She is justifiably happy. 
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Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 07:23:14 pm »
Thanks Magicman. She's happy but still not using it. She kept telling me, "It's too pretty to get dirty." A day or so after giving it to her, the lady we bought the farm from showed up with 2 friends (everyone present from 60s to 70s so an old folks convention). (Her late husband is the one who wanted to sell; she loved this place). First thing that woman said was, "Oh, that's too pretty to get dirt on!" It was a bittersweet thang.

Oops. Forgot to show the underside.

Those crosspieces are attached to the rails and screwed to the battens of the top. Together, that's 1-1/2 inches of wood to strengthen that 3/4 inch top. It's a *work* bench. S'posed to withstand anything she can throw at it. If I can ever convince her to do so.

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 10:15:44 pm »
Beautiful job...

Now you'll have to make another workbench that's ugly enough for her to work on.

Herb

Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2017, 07:48:57 am »
Beautiful job...

Now you'll have to make another workbench that's ugly enough for her to work on.

Herb

Thanks!

I fear you may be right about another one. I thought with the gaps, simple glue-and-screw joints, and imperfections in surfacing, she'd be more willing to consider it as utilitarian. So far, I've seen 1 plastic plant tray sitting on it.

Offline Magicman

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2017, 08:32:26 am »
Being obedient is better than understanding.   smiley_love
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Offline Darrel

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2017, 09:52:35 pm »
Yup, it's to purdy to get dirty. Make it change before it goes out to play.  :D
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Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2017, 09:53:27 am »
Being obedient is better than understanding.   smiley_love

Hey now! She's the one who vowed to obey! (No, I'm not dumb enough to rub her nose in that; I don't do too well relying on my own cooking).

Darrel: Ha! Somebody else grew up with 'good' clothes and 'work' clothes.

She had me carry it into the house to her "greenhouse" -- south end of the house that's mostly windows for her plants. Maybe it will go to work someday. She asked if it was ok to pick it up by the top.  :( Never asked about that raggedy scrap table, even after I had to re-attach its spindly legs several times over the years. Told her I'm gonna have to throw a log chain on it to convince her. Ever seen a settin hen swell up? I backed away softly.

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2017, 08:11:00 pm »
 :D
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Offline Downstream

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2017, 10:24:47 pm »
Beautiful wood and I love the table.  Great idea on the shoes for the bottom of the legs.  I may have to try that on one of my next projects.  Also may have to dig into my small pile of spalted maple slabs earlier than planned after seeing yours.
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Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2017, 09:40:38 am »
Beautiful wood and I love the table.  Great idea on the shoes for the bottom of the legs.  I may have to try that on one of my next projects.  Also may have to dig into my small pile of spalted maple slabs earlier than planned after seeing yours.

Thank you!

BTW, in the photo first showing those shoes above, you might notice the table sitting on a little table saw. That's a Harbor Freight 10" table saw and as it comes from the box, it is fit for nothing more than what it's doing there -- providing a flat surface to hold something up. Some HF stuff are starting points for tools, some are junk, and a few are jewels. That table saw is dangerous junk that I may be able to use to make something to roughly rip boards.

The miter gauge has about 10 degrees of slop in each direction, the rip fence is more trouble than clamping a piece of wood to the table (and is bowed), and the guards seem designed to bind, pinch and get you hurt. At least the motor turns (for now), has an arbor for a blade, and raises, lowers and tilts through the reasonably flat top.


Offline 123maxbars

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2017, 09:57:22 am »
Nice job!

Offline grouch

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2017, 07:13:04 pm »

Online Bruno of NH

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Re: simple table with complications
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2017, 07:51:32 am »
Nice job
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