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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! Thanks for having me in this community, and for taking the time to read this.

A quick introduction : I'm in the military, in Moose Jaw, SK (north of the Dakotas, in the prairies). There's this table design I've had in my mind for a while that I'd love to build. I have some woodworking experience, but most of what I built is with MDF - so not "real" woodworking, I suppose. I built a ton of speakers using MDF, for myself and friends, and I also took a woodworking course with my wife last year that introduced me to some of the more "advanced" concepts (which are probably paltry for this crowd....).

In any case, I've attached a Sketchup rendering of what I have in mind. I'll have a very talented metalworker friend of mind build the frame. Dimensions are 30" height, 6'X3' table top. The metal frame will be built out of 1.5" aluminum stock, and will be hidden by a 1.5-inch "high", 1-inch "deep" wood border, that is 1" inset from the edge of the tabletop. The metal protrusions of the metal frame (not to scale in the frame drawing, which is of course upside down for illustrative purposes for my friend) are 8" long, so the frame is 9.5" total. Legs are 5"X5".

Legs, table top and "border" will be bolted to the metal frame. I'd like to keep all fasteners hidden, but that may have to change for the legs.

I have a couple of questions for you guys :

1. I've always wanted to build this out of sapele, and stain it almost black. But, recently, I've been considering using reclaimed wood from some barn around here. My wife and I will be posted this summer so I thought it'd be cool to have, as a memento, a table built of out old wood we got in SK - but most of the stuff here is Douglas Fir, and I'm afraid that won't stain or finish as well. Thoughts?

2. For the legs, one of the advantages of reclaimed barn wood is that I could get beams that are 6X6 and then just cut a little bit off of each edge to get something around 5X5 (I'd try to preserve the "old" look, so not cut too much). Anyhow - for sapele, anyone know if I can get a 5X5 solid block of it, or is it only in 4/4, 6/4 and so on boards?

3. Biggest question : if dealing with a solid block for the legs, how would you go about making the square indentation where the metal post will rest?

4. For either sapele or fir, would some lag bolts through the metal frame, screwed right into the wood, be sufficient for strength, or should I just go right through? (In the case of the latter, I'd probably just put the bolt head in a recessed hole, so it'd be flush.)

Thanks a lot, guys!
 

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Old School
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In looking at the design, it seems that the brackets for the legs could sit in a receiving pocket, and screwed to the leg. A thin matching veneer cover plate could be added to the face to finish flush with the leg. No hardware would show. I'm not too excited by how much of the top of the leg protrudes...but that's just my opinion.









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Welcome from a guy that grew up in northeast SK.

Another alternative would be to use round pins that dropped into a hole bored in top of leg, couple screws from each side through pins would hold them in position. That would move legs in a bit which I also would personally prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Lol - I figured the legs wouldn't win universal appeal, but that offset is the very reason I'm building this table...and, I know, the one thing most people probably won't be crazy about. =) So I'd like to keep the design as is visually - or, at least, have the legs stick out about 1.5" on either side. Nothing says the legs can't "bleed" a little bit from the inside, though, so the round pin theory is not totally eliminated. I'm sure my friend could weld a round pin to the square frame. Problem then would be to bore that big of a hole.....can't exactly put a big leg like that on a drill press....?

Where in NE SK?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A two sided 90° pocket would be easy to do to the leg, and likely offer more support.
That's what I'd like to do - but that's also what I'm not sure about how to do. You mean a square hole, on the edge of the leg, as per the sketches, right?

If so, how does one do that? I've done dovetail joints before and such, but never something that has to stop halfway through like this.
 

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Old School
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That's what I'd like to do - but that's also what I'm not sure about how to do. You mean a square hole, on the edge of the leg, as per the sketches, right?

If so, how does one do that? I've done dovetail joints before and such, but never something that has to stop halfway through like this.
It can be done like a rabbet with a router bit, and stopped. Where it stops, just chisel it squared.




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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of course! So you mean like several router passes, all stopping at a common point - maybe a block clamped to the router table, always moving the fence back a bit after every pass?

And, like you said, square it off with a chisel....why didn't I think of that??

Thanks! =)

Any opinions on the type of wood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
OK! So this was overdue for an update.

So I received the wood on Saturday. I found someone selling reclaimed wood, and he had what I was looking for. The top will be made of reclaimed 100-year-old spruce from an old warehouse; the legs, which are 5X5 in the finished table, will come from a quartered 12X12 Douglas Fir structural beam from a granary. My table top will be 6' X 3', plus the border around the metal frame, so I figured 6 boards for the table top, 1 board for the border, and 1 board for scraps to practice the finish and all, for a total of 8 boards. You experienced folks can probably already see me coming here....oh well - at least I requested the boards be cut to 7" to give me wiggle room. =) The seller found someone traveling in my direction, we met in the parking lot of a department store, and I simply loaded up the wood in my car, but I hadn't actually had a chance to take a good look at it. So, yesterday, I started a course in town that's called Woodworking Project. It's at a shop at a community center, with a very experienced woodworker, and people sign up to just use the shop to work on a project of their choosing and design, and, most of all, have access to his experience and expertise. Works out well.

I obviously had a chance to have a much more thorough look at the boards. I was at first a bit hesitant, but when laying the boards on a flat surface, quite a few were surprisingly straight, which boded well. However, a couple of problems :

1. The boards are not 6"; most are 5 3/4 or something, some even less. In any case, if they're not, they will be once the jointing is done to make the edges perfectly square for laminating - that's something I should have thought about. So, I will probably have to use 7 boards in order to reach my target width of 36";

2. One of the boards was very, very twisted, and also had some significant chunks missing. I suspect that was the "scrap" one the seller had sent - if so, good choice! =) But, I will probably end up having to use it for my "border".

I guess all of this points to one thing : I might need one or two extra boards. Right now, I have absolutely no margin for error, the board I'll be forced to use for the border is considerably less than ideal, and I'll be relegated to using inches-long pieces to practice my finishing (the foot or so of extra length) - which could work, but I was hoping for something a bit longer.

In any case, I started working yesterday. Started by wiping each piece with a steel brush - filthy, gnarly old wood! - and decades of history ended up in a pretty big dust pile on the floor. =) Then, I jointed the first face before planing. If I was at first hesitant about the look and usability of each piece, they totally came alive with the jointing, and although I have no pictures (just wasn't thinking about that!), I am most excited about keeping going with this project!! I was hoping to keep some of the saw marks and such, and they're nicely there, embedded in gray-black with the nice wood grain. Quite nice, and just what I was going for!!!

The instructor is reluctant to let me plane the wood in the shop's planer as the knives are brand-new, he was saying he'd have me plane the boards on the new belt sander - but it's a sander that looks like a planer, if that makes any sense. Planer sander, I guess...? Not sure how that'll work out.

Anyway, that's the latest! I'll try to take pictures next week. Classes are every Monday night, and we can also have access to the community shop on Saturday afternoons.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, I contacted the guy who sold me the wood - he sent me 3 extra boards at no extra charge (just the shipping - not too expensive, given the boards' light weight) just as long as I took pictures of the build process, for his shop's blog! No problem, as I was intending to do that for this thread anyways, and for my own archives as well.

The bus depot already called me to tell me the boards are in, so I'll have them in time for class on Monday. =)

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Alright, some pictures!

First one is of my three additional boards, before any work was done to them :

Table2.jpg

The first board I'm working on is on the right, after a thorough brushing with a steel brush, to remove the outward grime before heading to the jointer :

Table4.jpg

Then, that same board, after jointing on the flattest face :

Table6.jpg

Some of the other boards, after jointing their flattest face too :

Table8.jpg

Table10.jpg

The top is spruce, I believe - the seller originally wanted to sell me some S4S Douglas Fir. After handling the legs (I can only post a maximum of five pics! There's one more picture with the legs....maybe in a subsequent post?), and after the realization I might want some smooth dimensional lumber (vice keeping the patina - the cracks and such will do for the "character" aspect), I think I'm regretting not having gone with Douglas Fir for the table top. Plus - I didn't know Fir had such a pleasing aroma! Well - the legs did when I jointed them anyways.

The boards as you see them were quite flat when set on the top of the work surface, with no rocking whatsoever. What gray remains is a shallower spot, I guess. I asked the seller to pick out some boards with saw marks and such, so that's why you can see some. But, they're all gone in the effort to get a smooth surface for planing. I imagined that I could do some skip planing and end up with a flat enough surface to plane, but that didn't pan out for me.

The instructor at the shop is reluctant to let me plane the boards in the shop's planer, as the knives were just replaced. How much does that typically cost? He wants me to use the planer sander instead - but JUST before I was about to start using it yesterday, it broke! So that was the end of my progress for the evening.

So, that's the latest. I think I'll keep jointing the boards at the next session, until I get smooth wood all around.

Thoughts?

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, so last week we didn't have a course due to a provincial holiday - but I was back at it tonight!

In between, I had basically made the decision to do away with the saw marks and some of the more pronounced "character" marks. I had just thought that any significant dips or grooves or what not in the table top surface would not be a good idea - I could envision us having friends over for dinner, and someone putting a glass of wine in just the wrong spot, and boom - accident. Not fun. Plus, I decided I really liked the look of smooth, dimensional lumber, but with cracks, nail holes, etc., to give character. So, I started by re-jointing the faces to make sure they were flat and good.

My instructor finally relented and let me use the thickness planer - so I planed most of the boards. Turns out I have 11 as it is, with one planned as being a reject for finishing practice and such. (I might actually use it as one of the final boards, though!) I've got 8 boards at 1.5" thick, and my instructor also quickly jointed one of the edges on each of those 8 as the jointer knives are starting to go and he wanted to get that done before replacing them (and we were getting close to the end of today's session!). So, 8 x 6" boards for a 36"-wide table top - I should be fine, even assuming some fairly significant sawing.

I also made my legs into something much closer to dimensional lumber, by re-jointing the sawn faces, ensuring squareness, and then bandsawing the opposite faces. I then jointed the bandsawn faces as well. I'm at 5 1/4", and my target was 5", so it's all good.

So that was my evening! Next up is sawing the opposite edge, and probably assembling the table top!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, went to shop (class) last night again. Ended up sawing off remaining edge(s), re-jointing edges, and mostly playing around with the layout for the table top. =)

I also planed the boards I'll be using for the border down to 1", and cross-cutting the tabletop boards down to rough length (6' + 2", very broadly speaking).

First picture is of when I was playing around with layouts - this will be the final. Second one is the same, but with the boards at their rough lengths.

Next week : assemble table top, and maybe start working on legs.
 

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Wayne
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I am loving the character in the boards for the table top. Once finished, it appears that will be a great conversation piece. The legs have me worried because of the cracks and splitting. Do you plan to stablize those cracks in some manner?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
How would you guys go about it? I'm assuming you're referring to the leg in the top right in the leg pictures. I honestly hadn't thought about it, I assumed that the wood wouldn't shrink much more, since it's over 100 years old - but if you guys tell me I should do something about it, I certainly will.

I've been researching tonight about using epoxy to fill in some small knots and stuff - more applicable to the tabletop - and about using CA glue for some bigger cracks. I'd like to find a way to stabilize the crack, but keep the "stabilization" invisible, so that the wood still looks like it's got a fairly big crack. It's part of what I'd like to keep.

Any ideas...?
 

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Wayne
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Silver, I have used a two part clear epoxy for some holes and cracks in a few pieces I have produced in my shop. It gets dull when sanded, but after poly is applied, it is clear as glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was planning on epoxy-ing the cracks and knots in the tabletop - but would a clear epoxy be sufficient for the big one in the leg?
 

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Wayne
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I have used it on a crack larger then that, and it worked great. One problem I found was, after time, it wound up being a depression, don't know why.
 

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SilverJS said:
Hi guys! Thanks for having me in this community, and for taking the time to read this.

A quick introduction : I'm in the military, in Moose Jaw, SK (north of the Dakotas, in the prairies). There's this table design I've had in my mind for a while that I'd love to build. I have some woodworking experience, but most of what I built is with MDF - so not "real" woodworking, I suppose. I built a ton of speakers using MDF, for myself and friends, and I also took a woodworking course with my wife last year that introduced me to some of the more "advanced" concepts (which are probably paltry for this crowd....).

In any case, I've attached a Sketchup rendering of what I have in mind. I'll have a very talented metalworker friend of mind build the frame. Dimensions are 30" height, 6'X3' table top. The metal frame will be built out of 1.5" aluminum stock, and will be hidden by a 1.5-inch "high", 1-inch "deep" wood border, that is 1" inset from the edge of the tabletop. The metal protrusions of the metal frame (not to scale in the frame drawing, which is of course upside down for illustrative purposes for my friend) are 8" long, so the frame is 9.5" total. Legs are 5"X5".

Legs, table top and "border" will be bolted to the metal frame. I'd like to keep all fasteners hidden, but that may have to change for the legs.

I have a couple of questions for you guys :

1. I've always wanted to build this out of sapele, and stain it almost black. But, recently, I've been considering using reclaimed wood from some barn around here. My wife and I will be posted this summer so I thought it'd be cool to have, as a memento, a table built of out old wood we got in SK - but most of the stuff here is Douglas Fir, and I'm afraid that won't stain or finish as well. Thoughts?

2. For the legs, one of the advantages of reclaimed barn wood is that I could get beams that are 6X6 and then just cut a little bit off of each edge to get something around 5X5 (I'd try to preserve the "old" look, so not cut too much). Anyhow - for sapele, anyone know if I can get a 5X5 solid block of it, or is it only in 4/4, 6/4 and so on boards?

3. Biggest question : if dealing with a solid block for the legs, how would you go about making the square indentation where the metal post will rest?

4. For either sapele or fir, would some lag bolts through the metal frame, screwed right into the wood, be sufficient for strength, or should I just go right through? (In the case of the latter, I'd probably just put the bolt head in a recessed hole, so it'd be flush.)

Thanks a lot, guys!
Welcome.
Fair warning. A few will try to talk you out of your design. Stick to your guns and make them think out side of the box.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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