June 28, 2010

Craftsman Style Coffee Table - Top Glue-up

This past weekend was the first camping trip of the summer so woodworking time was a bit limited last week. Despite the limited time I was able to make some good progress on the table top. Before I get into that I'd like to share a picture of Echo passed out after a long day of hiking and playing fetch in the lake.

Yes that is my dog passed out in a Lex's camping chair and yes he is way too big for it...but really where else is a dog supposed to sleep...the ground is cold and hard.

Back to the table...

I finally settled on the boards that would make up the top and started to machine them square and flat. Two of the boards bowed quite a bit after the initial planing so I set them up on sawhorses for a few days hoping they would straighten out as the moisture content equalized. It seems it was just related to the humidity because sure enough after a few days they flattened back out. Once all the boards were planed to the same thickness I followed the same steps and the shelf panel and glued them up. I considered gluing up sections of 2 or 3 boards at a time but since the shelf panel went so well I decided to take a shot and glue them all at once. This time I did use some scraps of wood covered in plastic wrap for cauls to help get all the boards aligned and in the same plane.

After letting the glue dry the top came out pretty nice. I then used a straight edge and my circular saw to cut the top down to 48" long and then ripped it to 24" wide on the table saw.

Once the top was cut down to size I sanded it down from 40 through 120 grit with the random orbit and then finished it off with a final hand sanding at 120 grit.

I then stained it like the rest of the project.

There is some color variation between a few boards but all in all I'm happy with it. The first coat of polyurethane should go on tonight and I'm hoping to have the project wrapped up this weekend.

June 14, 2010

Craftsman Style Coffee Table - Frame Assembly

I finished up the base of the coffee table this weekend. Stained and poly'd the shelf panel and glued up the frame. Here are some pictures of the process.

The panel stained up nicely...

...and got shiny after the first two coats of gloss poly...

...looked really interesting after sanding...

...then got shiny again after the third coat of gloss...

...and finally looked pretty nice after another sanding and the final coat of satin poly.

As the shelf panel was drying between coats I worked on gluing up the end assemblies.

Everything fit nicely so nothing much to say here. Above you can see the two ends glued and clamped.

After the ends and shelf were all dry I glued up the entire base.

So far so good...

June 11, 2010

Craftsman Style Coffee Table - Shelf Glue-up

My progress on the coffee table was slightly derailed by a work trip to Reno last week however the vendor we met with took us up through the mountains to a really nice restaurant on Lake Tahoe so I can't complain too much :)

Here is a view of Lake Tahoe from an overlook on the way to the restaurant.

Back to the coffee table...

The next challenge was to glue up a bunch of the oak boards into a panel for the bottom shelf. As I planed down the boards and sorted them to find the nicer ones I ran into some issues with the planer tearing up the surface a bit around the swirly grain. I tried wetting the boards a bit and running them through at a slight angle but neither helped very much. My guess is that this a sign that my planer knives aren't as sharp as I thought they were and should probably be swapped out. Since that is a large task I decided to just use the jointer to clean up the "show" side of each board and then just plane down the back side to the correct thickness. After selecting all the boards for the shelf I ripped all the edges parallel and laid them out to look as nice as possible.

I then used a chalk triangle to mark the location of each board in the panel. Next I ran all the edges over the jointer to get a good flat edge for the glue joints. In case the jointer fence wasn't set perfectly to 90 degrees I made sure to alternate the orientation of each board so that if the angle was off a bit each board would be off by an equal and opposite amount and still fit together perfectly.

With the edges prepped I laid out the boards on the pipe clamps and made sure everything fit together and lined up correctly. I then applied glue to each joint and snugged up the pipe clamps being very careful to keep all the boards even and coplaner.

In order to minimize any bowing from the pipe clamps I alternated them top and bottom. I then removed the beads of glue squeeze-out from the top of the shelf with a damp rag and then everything sit overnight. The next day I removed the clamps and sanded everything down with the random orbit sander. In order to smooth out the slight ridges between boards I started with 40 grit and then worked up through 80 and 120 which left a nice smooth flat panel.

Since this piece is too big to cut to length on the table saw I used the circular saw and a straight edge to cut it down to length.

The masking tape helped prevent splintering and that along with the 140 tooth plywood blade actually left a pretty clean cut. The little bit of burning should sand off easily.

I was curious how strong the glue joints were so I took on of the end cutoffs and broke it and sure enough the wood failed with the glue joint intact so the glue joint is actually stronger than the wood itself.

Next I ripped the panel down to width on the table saw. I cut it a bit narrower than the distance between the legs so that the panel has some room to move with changes in humidity. Above you can see how the panel fits into the groove in the lower frame end. Then I decided to dry fit the frame together with the panel to make sure the length was correct.

It was really cool to finally see the finished frame together with the shelf in place.

After seeing this I'm pretty excited to get this wrapped up in the next week or two so hopefully I will be posting pictures of the completed table soon.