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Thread: Project: Black Walnut Side Table

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    58,182

    Project: Black Walnut Side Table

    Now that the temporary shop is somewhat functional, it was time to get started on my long list of "things" and first up was a companion to an existing black walnut side table for our family/bird room. I made the first one a number of years ago for the media/family room at the old property and while one was fine there, we need two at the new place to balance the sofa. The design is "Shaker-ish" and largely based on Thos Moser's side tables that I've made a number of over the years. This one is a little taller with a slightly stretched apron for proportion that I found to be pleasing. Here's the one that was previously built:

    IMG_9834.jpg

    When I made the previous table, there was a second top from the same panel glue-up. It's been "hanging out" just waiting for me to make another table. So I grabbed it and a few boards from my storage unit a few miles up the road and it was time to get started by laying out the approximations for the aprons on a nice board from the stash. (All of this walnut was milled off our old property and air dried by me, so it's "special" in that regard)

    IMG_9819.jpg

    Before heading to the J/P to get a straight edge, I lopped off what was most certainly waste material at my "table saw"....hey, it's a table with holes and a saw. Table saw, right?

    IMG_9820.jpg

    The board I used was previously surfaced "good enough" for the purpose here, so processing was pretty much edge work. In my previous setup, these steps would have been done on the sliding table saw, but given that's not in the picture at the moment, some good old fashioned edge jointing got a good reference edge to work with.

    IMG_9821.jpg

    The board was then ripped proud of final dimension on the bandsaw. It went back to the jointer to clean up the edge and fortunately, both edges were actually parallel. If that had not been the case, I would have used the track saw to deal with it.

    IMG_9822.jpg

    Aprons were cut to length back at that "Table saw" using a stop on the fence to get all four exactly the same length.

    IMG_9823.jpg

    I processed the material similarly for the leg stock...flattened and edged at the J/P, ripped at the bandsaw and then processed further by thicknessing square. On the bench, the leg blanks wer then marked for length. Note I made five legs...I wasn't sure about a defect in one piece, so I hedged on it. This was a good decision. While the one I did have question about worked out fine, another one, for some strange reason, had some massive tearout when I started working the tapers with a hand plane later on. So that fifth leg became one of the four.

    IMG_9824.jpg

    After trimming the leg blanks to the exact same lengths, they were marked up for cutting the double tapers which was handled at the bandsaw. I would normally do this with a table jig on a table saw (including a slider), but that not being available to me, it was cut close to the line with the machine and then head to the bench.

    IMG_9825.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    As noted...the tapers were worked at the bench using "more traditional" methods. The only thing about the legs that has to be exactly identical is the size of the square cross section in the top 200mm and the total length. In this case, they were about 30mm square. The bottoms that the tapers would flare down to would be at about 20mm square with a double taper toward the interior of the piece. None are perfectly exact relative to the taper, but it's not something that can be noticed without actually measuring.

    IMG_9826.jpg IMG_9827.jpg

    The four identical aprons headed over to get holes drilled for pocket screws. Yes, I know..."back in the day" it would have been mortise and tenon. But for these tables, I'm perfectly happy with pocket screws and glue. They are unseen and nobody's going to be sitting on them. Please understand that I'm not making fun of the stronger joinery and craftsmanship that comes with M&T. I just didn't feel the need for it on this particular piece of furniture.

    IMG_9828.jpg

    At this point, it's time to assemble a few parts that have been thoroughly sanded into what looks like a table. The aprons have about a 6mm/.25" setback reveal relative to the legs, so some scrap material of appropriate thickness was put on the bench to hold the aprons up off the surface during the glue and screw process.

    IMG_9829.jpg

    Front was done first followed by the back. And then the front and back get joined together with two more aprons

    IMG_9830.jpg

    And like magic, a table appears...

    IMG_9831.jpg

    At the end of the afternoon, since it was a cooler, less humid day that I could have the big door open, I chose to put the first coats of shellac on using a rattle can. These tables only have shellac as the finish. The first two light coats were to seal and lock the "nubbies" for smoothing. When I take a break from an outdoor project I'm working on, I'll hit the surfaces with some 400, to smooth things out and then the table will get two or three brushed coats of shellac to complete the finishing process.

    While the top was already created previously, the rest of this work was only about 2 hours of time...tables like these that do not have drawers are easy projects and I highly recommend them, especially for folks new to woodworking. They are useful and very pleasant to look at, too. They can be stretched into a hall table or night stand. They can be taller or shorter. They can have drawers and/or shelves under them.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 08-02-2021 at 8:58 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Averill Park NY
    Posts
    248
    Looks great, Jim! Glad to see you back woodworking.
    Last edited by Clark Hussey; 08-03-2021 at 7:09 AM.
    Some Blue Tools
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
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    966
    Looks like you are adapting to your new temporary space just fine with a good looking first product.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    West Granby CT
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    I love it. Respect for admitting to the pocket screws haha

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jebediah Eckert View Post
    I love it. Respect for admitting to the pocket screws haha
    Thanks. Nothing wrong with them if they are used where they are appropriate/adequate for the task. And I have about a billion of them, so I might as well use a few occasionally other than for holding material down on the CNC. (the flat underside of the heads on the type I use are great for material hold-down)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
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    13,715
    Nice project Jim. Be sure to show us the finished table as well

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    2,784
    An elegant little table!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    141
    Turned out great Jim and it's good to read you're back up and making some dust!
    A wannabe woodworker!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Eagle, WI
    Posts
    68
    I marvel at the apparent speed and efficiency. It probably took me longer to read the posts and study the pictures than it took for you to build the table.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Mich View Post
    I marvel at the apparent speed and efficiency. It probably took me longer to read the posts and study the pictures than it took for you to build the table.
    You, my friend, are apparently a slow reader. . But seriously, this kind of project can be very quick to make, especially if you have a taper jig for cutting the legs already. (I did not have that this time around, but it was still pretty quick getting there) The time goes up if some form of M&T is used for the joinery...dowels, Dominos, biscuits, traditional tenons or loose tenons, etc., but not substantially so. Adn as mentioned, it's a versatile, yet simple design that can go in many directions based on need. Here's an example of a more complex version...slightly rectangular with two drawers in the apron plus a lower shelf. Curly/Tiger maple and purpleheart nightstands:

    IMG_9849.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
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    802
    Looks good, Jim. Nice work, as always.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Clarks Summit PA
    Posts
    1,196
    Jim, nice demonstration of a simple furniture project. Good use of pocket hole joinery. And the air dried black walnut sure looks colorful!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Morocco IN
    Posts
    1,344
    Glad to see you're making sawdust in your new temp space. Nice little table, efficiently and elegantly executed.
    Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Carlsbad, CA
    Posts
    1,917
    Jim, nice project Ė thanks very much for sharing. I appreciate efficiency of your construction an excellent result it produced. Living here in the desert of Southern California, I couldnít help but envy you for the idea that that beautiful walnut grew on your own property . Canít imagine anything cooler than being able to use lumber off your own property to build items you enjoying a daily basis!

    Cheers, Mike

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