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Thread: Project: "Baby Sister" end table for three season porch

  1. #1
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    Project: "Baby Sister" end table for three season porch

    So the other day I posted a thread about doing a repair/upcycle of a cheap old drop-leaf end table. As I noted in that thread, I was pretty pleased with the result and thought I might make a second, similar table to bookend the loveseat on the porch. So yea...I did a thing.

    This second table top is a hair smaller; hence the "baby sister" reference, because I just did not have enough of the bamboo ply material left to make it any larger after piecing things together. But that's ok for this application and the intent was not to duplicate the drop leaf, either. The base is built in a similar way, including with the screws, but actually uses glue, has the holes plugged and does not have the little shelf since we'd never use it anyway.

    For those not familiar with the bamboo sheet stock, here's an example of how it's constructed. It's like lumber core, but "harder" and the thick outer veneer is just plain great.

    IMG_5288.jpg

    The build starts with assembling the available material into one continuous flat thing...I really do love how crisp and invisible you can make the glued joints between the pieces. TB-III since this is a three season porch project.

    IMG_5286.jpg

    For the restoration, the three pieces of the top were cut with the bandsaw and then brought to final contours with the OSS. The handles, etc., impacted the contour which in turn affected the method used to shape the three pieces. I chose the OSS over pattern routing. There. For this one. It's a circle. I used the CNC since it was so complicated to make.

    IMG_5287.jpg IMG_5289.jpg

    Edges eased with the router table... .125 radius

    IMG_5290.jpg

    A ton of sanding and then the same polymerized tung oil I used for the other top got applied.

    IMG_5291.jpg IMG_5293.jpg

    Ok, so that was honestly not a difficult thing to do and I chose to do the top first so that the finish would have a couple days to cure while I worked on the base.
    --

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

  2. #2
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    For the base, I thought about getting all fancy with joinery but honestly, there was no point. I chose to use the same "screw together" method that the other restored table used, albeit WITH glue and with plugs in the countersinks. It's perfectly strong and functional, fast and appropriate for the small size of this table. I also chose to abandon the shelf in favor of simple stretchers 300mm up from the floor as it's unlikely we would ever use a small shelf "down there" anyway, especially with the dog being an inquisitive beast.

    The one interesting feature about the base is the contour at the ends of the "feet". I suspect in a factory situation, a larger piece of material would be run against a shaper and then the individual legs would get ripped free. I actually chose to use that method here, but with a twist. I ain't not no stinkin' shaper. I do own a CNC machine. So that's what I used to apply the profile to a scrap piece of 35mm thick poplar to make the "feet" for the table base. Vectric, in their VPCarve and Aspire application supports a Moulding Tool Path and I've employed it for a lot of interesting things, including doing guitar body contours without resorting to a 3D model which necessarily cuts a lot slower than a 2/2.5D operation. It was just the ticket for this operation as it essentially duplicates what a shaper would do to form the edges of the feet ends.

    First step...get the material fastened and let the machine know where the center point is. (I design a lot of things using material center for x0-y0)

    IMG_5292.jpg

    This was the bottom initially for what is a two sided cutting operation. On the bottom, the pieces needed a relief cut so that only the ends had pads that would contact the floor

    IMG_5294.jpg

    This first cut is pretty much the same thing as whittling it away on the table saw using the regular blade or a dado set or on the router table in a similar manner. The toolpaths for every operation on this job are sweeping the tooling across the material left to right or right to left, depending on the moment in time, and just clearing material. With the bottom done, the material is flipped into exactly the same position so that the contours could be cut on the top to be very similar to the original table base. These also follow the same side to side pattern.

    On the screen, it looks like this:

    IMG_5335.jpg IMG_5336.jpg

    The cut was completed the same way. Because of the depth of the contour, there was a roughing pass with a .375" end mill as well as for the recesses to support joinery to the legs and then the finishing passes with a .375" ball nose tool to complete the task.

    IMG_5295.jpg IMG_5296.jpg

    The foot blank with the contours was then carefully measured and the ends were cut off at the sliding table saw.

    IMG_5298.jpg

    This leaves us with the "master" foot blank that is ready to be ripped into individual feet. As you can see, it kinda actually resembles the "virtual cut" in the photo above

    IMG_5300.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-26-2023 at 1:36 PM.
    --

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

  3. #3
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    Now that foot blank goes to the table saw and gets ripped into individual feet, each 35mm wide based on my pencil design.

    IMG_5302.jpg

    "Meanwhile"...I grabbed a hunk of 6 quarter poplar from the lumber tent, flattened and thicknessed it to desired dimensions and then ripped it up on the saw so I had the necessary sticks to make the rest of the base.

    IMG_5303.jpg

    While it seems like a little thing, I wanted to verify my math relative to table height, so I took one foot and a piece of scrap cut to the calculated length up to the porch to measure against the other table. While it really doesn't matter if they were not exact, I wanted to prove out that I measured and calculated correctly. And yes, it was good to go.

    IMG_5304.jpg

    The leg length included some stub tenons that would seat in the grooves I cut on the top of the feet. This was a minor improvement over the original table and adds to the strength without overly complicating things. Using scrap, math and trial/error, I got things set up at the saw to be able to whittle away just the right enough material to create those full width stub tenons. They were very snug once cleaned up with a little abrasive. Dry fits shown

    IMG_5305.jpg IMG_5306.jpg IMG_5307.jpg IMG_5308.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-26-2023 at 1:44 PM.
    --

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

  4. #4
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    The two leg assemblies were then, um...assembled...using glue and screws in countersunk holes. These are surprisingly strong from the glue, screws and tight dimensions.

    IMG_5309.jpg IMG_5311.jpg

    Plugs make the screw joinery disappear. Even though this is a painted piece, I still paid attention to grain direction.

    IMG_5312.jpg

    After some quality time sanding both leg assemblies, it was time to install the stretchers between them to complete the base. Same technique, glue and screws, with a little help from the bench to keep things together while drilling and screwing.

    IMG_5314.jpg IMG_5320.jpg

    The base was fully sanded and any defects filled followed by a quick coat of spray primer to save time and provide a good surface for the colored paint to be brushed on.

    IMG_5321.jpg

    Any grain raise was removed with 320 abrasive and then the base was painted with the same color of "sample" paint from the Orange 'Borg I used for the other table...you know, to like match?!

    IMG_5322.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-26-2023 at 1:52 PM.
    --

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

  5. #5
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    And one more placeholder post just for good measure...pardon the expression.
    --

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

  6. #6
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    I let the paint dry overnight and this morning did the final assembly of the base to the top. Pretty basic...pre-drill and countersink for some screws (oversize holes to allow for a little seasonal movement) and then attached the base to the top after aligning it to be centered.

    IMG_5329.jpg IMG_5330.jpg IMG_5331.jpg IMG_5332.jpg

    It looks good where it's going to live and it's nice having two tables that more or less match in materials and general design.

    IMG_5333.jpg IMG_5334.jpg

    Look, I know this is not a sophisticated, involved project, but even these more modest, functional and simple projects are totally worth the time. I'd rather build something like this than buy and combined with the restoration/upcycle of the other table, I'm pretty happy. And with the current heat/humidity, being in the shop was a nice way to spend the time, too. And I got to use nearly ALL the tools, too!
    --

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

  7. #7
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    Nice thread Jim and and two tables to set those cool drinks on as temps hit close to 90 in Pennsylvania

  8. #8
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    Interesting material and a well-executed project. Well done, Sir!
    Ken

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    Nice thread Jim and and two tables to set those cool drinks on as temps hit close to 90 in Pennsylvania
    Hah...our "real feel" for today, tomorrow and Saturday will be north of 100F. But I'm sure it will be "toasty and humid" up in your area, too. There will be no porch sitting. LOL In the house and in the shop are the two options. I'm actually a bit concerned as my daughter and her SO get back from Germany today and requested help today getting the rest of their stuff out of the apartment they are leaving behind as they will be traveling for a few months with their teardrop camper. I'm not looking forward to that, but at least only need to help on the "in town" end. The SO's dad is doing the "up the stairs" part at the other end at their house. Sheesh...
    --

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

  10. #10
    I gotta come to the project forum more. Really enjoyed reading this. Thx jim. Beautiful, subtle, elegant.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I gotta come to the project forum more. Really enjoyed reading this. Thx jim. Beautiful, subtle, elegant.
    Sometimes simple rules...this was one of those cases. I really like that bamboo sheet stock, too. I may have to "sit down" sometime and see what that stuff actually costs, given the scraps I had were "free" to me...
    --

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

  12. #12
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    Great project that helps justify all those tool purchases .

    I also like the bamboo sheet nd did a couple projects a decade or so ago. Would be curious to know how much it is now for a sheet. Think it was about $150 back then.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  13. #13
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    I actually have a project coming up that I'm going to need to order sheet goods for so my plan is to ask the supplier if they carry the bamboo and if so, if I should sit down before they tell me the price. (I'm not using it for the upcoming projects but taking advantage to ask about it)
    --

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

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I actually have a project coming up that I'm going to need to order sheet goods for so my plan is to ask the supplier if they carry the bamboo and if so, if I should sit down before they tell me the price. (I'm not using it for the upcoming projects but taking advantage to ask about it)
    $350 for a 4 by 8 3/4 inch panel??? Wow

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    $350 for a 4 by 8 3/4 inch panel??? Wow
    Maybe...I haven't asked yet. I know it's not inexpensive and it's a bit harder to make than regular plywood because, well...it's grass. Big grass, but grass, nonetheless. The raw material prep has got to be pretty complex. The end result, however, is pretty kewel. The scraps I had from a local cabinet maker came from a kitchen he did with the stuff. Even then, it was clearly an expensive material, but it has such a unique look. Consider, however, that custom laid up veneer plywood to spec is pretty expensive stuff, too.
    --

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

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