Final Project–Sabbatical

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along. The sabbatical is over, but I’m still catching up on things.

Thursday, July 31. Final day of class for this semester. I knew I was close, and wasn’t too worried. I got to school early to miss traffic and was working on my laptop as a few other students walked by around 5. We chatted for a minute and they were heading in to finish. Around 5:40, I started to feel pressure and closed the laptop and got started.

Most of my table was together, dry fit, but I wanted to pin it, and also needed to clean up shoulders. I walked in early and sharpened a chisel to begin work on the shoulders. Sharp tools make a big difference.

Photo Jul 31, 5 58 38 PM

I managed to clean things up so they fit well. Looking back, I should have checked lengths as I ended up shortening a few shoulders more than I wanted, meaning two aprons were different lengths. However I had things fitting well.

Next the instructor showed us how to pin the joints, and gave us the option of pins or glue. He also showed us glue, but I wanted to avoid that. I went back to my bench and got everything fitting well and then started to drill.

Things went quick on the drill press, though once again, I learned something. Good to have an instructor there to help guide and give hints. I might have drilled the wrong edge, which a few students did. Pay attention to the details.

The plan was two pins on one side (each leg) and one pin on the other. I marked carefully and then punched them out. Here’s the pattern. Roughly 3/4” from the top and bottom of the tenon (not apron) and then the one I between those.

Photo Jul 31, 7 25 34 PM

With those all cut, and then offset (1/16” holes in the tenons, I was ready to pin. Here’s the first one going on. A dowel, sharpened on one end, driven through.

Photo Jul 31, 8 20 56 PM

Once through, I had to cut them off.

Photo Jul 31, 8 29 53 PM

The saws don’t get that close. I did borrow a flush cut saw from one guy, but didn’t want to keep using it, so I moved on to the old fashioned method.

Photo Jul 31, 8 33 44 PM

It’s slow, and I learned to put the direction of the chisel perpendicular to the grain, and then saw sideways to get things cut. Once I had them down, they were pretty flush.

Photo Jul 31, 8 27 28 PM

Next I needed to attach ledgers for the top. Glued on and then stapled to hold them. It seems like less hand tools over time, though another instructor said this is hard in the summer. Things are shortened up, moving at almost twice the speed of the fall/spring semesters.

Photo Jul 31, 8 11 06 PM

I continued on, pounding in the long sides with two pins each.

Photo Jul 31, 8 39 59 PM

Since this was final assembly, I ended up putting in four, then cutting off and chiseling all four at once. The a repeat on the other side.

Photo Jul 31, 8 40 45 PM

With all four sides on, and almost 9:00, I measured and then put the top down with the legs on and screwed things down. This is where I realized that the top wasn’t square, with 1/16” off on two sides. A lesson, but it’s hard to tell with the table that it’s not square. Another lesson.

Photo Jul 31, 9 04 38 PM

The only screws (and glue) are holding these ledgers to the aprons and then the top on. Overall, a success.

I set it down in front of the instructor at 9:15, 15 minutes early. Close, but better than most. I was first done, though 3-4 were done in the next few minutes, so not bad. A few people were still getting legs tapered or tops beveled.

To be fair, I didn’t use a plane for the bevel, which a few people did, but I wasn’t overly concerned. I’m confident I can, and I was running short of time with travel for work. I also learned a bit about how I might bevel things on the table saw.

Photo Jul 31, 9 27 07 PM

I set the table on the floor, put a glue bottle on it and it didn’t roll. Considering I hadn’t double checked leg measurements, that’s a bit of a success.

Final project done, though I need to sand and finish it this weekend with some poly.

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