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Thread: Harlequin side table

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Harlequin side table

    My wife requested a side table for the family room. This will be situated between two arm chairs, and replace the small table (which is too high and dominating) ...





    Not just a side table, but it also needed to house her needlework thingies. In other words, shallow drawers for cotton reels and sewing kit. I played around with several ideas, and eventually came up with a design that borrows a little from a piece I recently made for a nephew.


    Lynndy liked the softness of the rounded dovetails and overall dimension of this coffee table I built some months back ...





    The plan (looking down) would be to create a curved front and back, with round, splayed legs to the outside (an alternative is a straight, tapered round leg) ...





    In contrast to the Jarrah in that piece, the carcase will be built in Hard Maple, dovetailed and mitred at each corner. It will feature 8 drawers. All drawer fronts will curve as well. The reason for "Harlequin" in the title is that the drawers will be a mix of woods, as depicted in the elevation of the drawer section ...





    A harlequin design is often thought of as a diamond pattern, but does also include a rectangular checkerboard. Anyway, it's just a name, and I like giving my pieces a name


    At this stage I have chosen for the drawer fronts Black Walnut and Blue Gum. I may also add in Hard Maple. Always interested in your thoughts here. The Blue Gum is lighter than the Black Walnut and is a good foil against the Hard Maple …





    The legs will taper and curve from the carcase, attached with a loose mortice and tenon ...





    The sides and top were arranged so that the grain flowed continuously. The carcase is 20mm thick, 800mm long and 350 at the wide, centre point ..





    The initial dovetail plan was to keep the boards parallel and saw the curves later. It became apparent when joining the first set that this would not work ...





    .. there would be too much at the sides to mitre, and so I decided to shape the top and bottom panels at this stage rather than later.








    This was the first opportunity to use the modification I made to my Moxon vise (see article: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...MoxonMods.html). It now enables the pin- and tail boards to be clamped together to aid in marking out (see earlier photo).


    In marking out for mitred corners, the side tails are not sawn out from the front ...





    ... the board is reversed, and the mitres are marked ...





    ... and sawn ...





    The reason I had wanted to retain square carcase sides was that it would make it easier to square the chisel guide for the mitres. I got around this by squaring them to the front of the carcase ...


    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 06-02-2019 at 9:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    The pin board is seen here ...





    One of the difficulties in fitting this many tails and pins is that any slight errors are magnified. The fit below illustrates that the left side is too tight ...





    To deal with this, the tails were given a pencil scribbling ...





    Fitting the board together left this behind ...





    This process needed to be done once more, before the fit was satisfactory ...





    The four sides were dry fitted together, and the front and rear upper and lower panels planed to shape (this was close but not enough) …





    All is coplanar …





    Where we are up to at the end of today …





    One set of mitred corners …





    … and the other …





    Next up is building the internal dividers for the drawers.


    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  3. #3
    Hi Derek,
    Another great project. Your curved work is beginning to make me want to try some on a smaller scale.

    Also, thanks for the clear demonstration of using the pencil lead to show where things are too tight - I can apply that directly to my own work. Likewise on the mitered dovetail. I've been trying to do that and your pictures helped me.

    Best regards,
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Gorgeous, as always!!

  5. #5
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    Derek, your write ups are always enjoyable and informative, thanks.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Goleta / Santa Barbara
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    Dr Derek, i am always impressed with your productivity, creativity and clear explanations. Thank you and Carry on, dude!

  7. #7
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    Apr 2017
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    Clarks Summit PA
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    Derek, those dovetails are beautiful!

  8. #8
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    Mar 2006
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    Austin Texas
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    Looks like you are well away from the starting gate Derek. Nice, clean looking dovetail work (as always) on the carcase and i am looking forward to seeing the loose M&T details you come up with. Is the hard maple left over from your kitchen remodeling or is hard maple readily available in Oz?
    David

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Thanks for all the comments, friends.

    David, there appears to be a good bit of Hard Maple around in Australia at present, certainly in Perth. I bought more after the kitchen. I love the lightness of it. The local timbers are mainly Eucalyptus, and course grained. Maple planes so well. As with some of the locals, it can punish you with tearout if not vigilant. I’ve also been working with USA-grown Black Maple, which is even more of a pleasure to plane.

    All wood changes colour, and I have been warned about Maple yellowing. The kitchen has not changed at all in the 2 1/2 years since it was done. Probably too early to tell. I used a water-based poly by General Finishes together with a sealing coat of wax-free white Ubeaut Hard Shellac , which may be an answer. Any suggestions, guys?

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
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    Mar 2006
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    Austin Texas
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    When I was building furniture/cabinets in a commercial situation, I typically used Target Coatings shellac as a base coat/sealer and one of their clear top coatings (dependent upon level of protection desired), all water based, and did not have issues with yellowing. Maybe as more years go by, it may show up, but hard to say if any is noticeable now after several years of use. I only have one piece of hard maple furniture in my own home, but did not use Target products for that as it was built before I acquired spraying equipment.
    David

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
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    I enjoy reading your build threads. I am not a hand tool woodworker but enjoy seeing how you build your furniture. The dovetails are just amazingly accurate.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Thanks Larry

    There are a couple of gaps in the dovetails. I will fix these once the carcase is ready to be glued up. Everything is fixable. Once one understands how, then you will be more apt to take risks.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
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    With the carcase completed, it is time to turn to the internal dividers for the drawers.


    I took the time first to plane the rebate for the rear panel. Knowing my spatial weakness of getting parts back-to-front and upside-down, I marked these when the carcase was a dry fit (and later briefly thought I had screwed this up!) ...





    One of the benefits of mitred corners is that the rebate can be planed across without fear of it showing ...








    The rebate is 6mm deep as the rear panel will be 5mm thick to bend it around the curved rear. The carcase is 20mm thick, and the rebate extends halfway into this.


    I was curious to see how rebating on a curve would turn out. No problem ...








    Here is the rear of the carcase with the rebate ...








    Moving to the stopped dados/housings ... the centre panel is solid rather than a frame. I decided that this would be less work, plus there will be a series of stopped dados to be made. The panel is 10mm thick. This was made first, that is, the dados were sized to fit the panel thickness.


    I made up a couple of templates. One was the height of the dado, and the other was the height of the dado plus the width of the dado. The inside of the carcase is marked on both sides using the same templates to ensure that they are exactly the same height from the base.





    The lines are deepened with a knife, and then a chisel wall is created to register a saw cut ...





    The end of the stopped dado is defined ...





    A Japanese azebiki was used along a guide to ensure it cut on the vertical ...





    Now that the sides are defined by the kerf, this could be deepened with a chisel (this is my favourite chisel - a 1" Kiyohisa. Sublime!) ..





    The waste is removed with a router plane ...





    Check that the side walls are square ...



  14. #14
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    Feb 2004
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    Completed side panels ...





    I was so confident that the dados were perfect that I dry fitted the carcase once more ... and then found that one dado was a smidgeon too tight for the test piece. It turned out that a small section of a side wall was not as square as I thought (probably the saw did not cut deeply enough at that spot). The best too to clear this is a side rebate plane. Set for a very light cut to clear the waste, not the dado width ...





    Perfect fit this time ...





    Time to fit the centre panel. This has been shaped to size, but will need a little fine tuning at a later time. Note that the rear section is secondary wood (Merbau) ...





    I had just enough time to slide the panel in. Nice tight fit. Not enough time to saw the rebates for the stopped dados. This will be done next time ...





    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Houston
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    Beautiful work. I get tense just seeing photos of that many dovetails on a single board, but this makes me want to try something with mitered dovetails.

    Is that a skew rabbit plane with the knob removed? Have you published anything on that specific tool? I didn't see it on your website.

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