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This project presents a few firsts for me. It’s my 1st project with rail / stile / panel construction and it’s the 1st project I completed on my new router table.

Now I know there are easier ways out there to accomplish the end result but it was cool to complete this project with:

• One router bit
• One router table fence setting
• No specific measurements required

So let’s get started…

Here are the raw materials:



About 20 feet of ¾” x ¾” Poplar from Home depot at 25 cents a foot. Now I know 20 feet is a bit overkill but I wanted some extra for set up and screw-up insurance. The panels are ¼” walnut ply (one good side) ordered from here:

http://www.woodnshop.com/hardwood/WALNUT_PLYWOOD.htm

As I mentioned earlier the dimensions of the rails / stiles are not important. What is important is that all the rails are exactly the same and all the stiles are exactly the same. My table saw is from1950 and I don’t trust it for dimension or squareness. So I use my mini disc sander to true-up the rails:



Laying everything flat on my steel work bench I double check each piece for uniformity. A touch of the sander is used when I need to take a bit off:



A quick mock up shows my joints should look decent at 90 degs:



After a little time and dust I have 12 uniform rails (4 tops, 4 bottoms, 4 center):



I made the rails about 7.5” long. The tenons will be cut at ¼” on each side. That puts the span of the rails and the visible width of the panels at about 7”. Again this measurement is not as important as the uniformity of the all 12 rails. And I know there are better ways of accomplishing this, but I worked with what I have on hand tool wise.

The stiles get the same treatment:



They are cut to about 21” which will be the overall height of the pedestal.

Here are all the “sticks” ready to go:



And a few extra for test pieces:



My plan was to use my 7/32” slot cutter for this project (the thickness of standard ¼” ply). But the walnut ply was a bit thinner at about 3/16”. Since my 7/32” cutter would have resulted in too much play I resorted to my 5/32” biscuit cutter bit:



Making multiple passes with this bit meant I could adjust the slot width for a perfect snug fit to the ply panels. Also since the fence will set the slot depth the bearing will not come into play at all.

I set the bit height at 1/8” over the table surface. This will put a 1/8” “lip” between the face of the rail / stiles and the panels. I’m sure this “panel depth” has a technical name, but I have no clue what it is. BTW the above table adjustment of the Bosch 1617 is great:



While I’m at it I set my fence for a ¼” slot depth. This is another case where the exact measurement is not important. Since the fence is going to be set once then never moved during this project the groves and tenons will be cut at the exact same measurement. This should result is some nice looking joints. I picked a ¼” knowing it should look right and provide enough meat for glue.

This is also the 1st use of my auxiliary fence I made for my Incra Ultra:



After a few test cuts I’m ready to start cutting the groves (mortises?):



After the 1st pass on all the pieces this is what we look like:



From left to right you are seeing the top rail, middle rail, bottom rail and a stile.

A quick mock up shows the groves are consistent and lining up nicely:



Next I raise the bit height slightly and open up the slot to accept the ply panels. After a few test cuts and adjustments the test piece is looking good:

 

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Discussion Starter #2
All 12 rails and 4 stiles get a second pass and the groves are done:


Now it’s time to start cutting the tenons. My 1st attempts with a simple 90 degree jig where ok but not consistent:



If I didn’t clamp the work piece and backer tight enough they would move mid-cut. If I cranked the clamp too tight the work piece would not sit flat against the table. So after a quick trip for my local woodcraft store (an hour away) I returned with a few toggle clamps and devised a more robust coping sled:



The outside two clamps hold the work piece and the center one holds a backer. I set up one of my feather boards as a stop and run a few tests:



After a few tweaks to the bit height (the micro adjust of the 1617 worked great for this) the 1st part of the tenon is cut:



After passing all 12 rails at the same height I proceed to cutting the other side of the tenon. Since this bit only has a 5/32” kerf it takes a few passes. But the results are worth it and the sled produces repeatable results.

Here’s the bottom rail with a completed tenon:



A test fit is looking good:



So the rest of the rails get cut in the same fashion.

Here’s a middle rail all cut up:



And the fit:



And the top rail (note the extra grove for the top panel):



And the fit:



The last cut needed is a rabbet for the ½” MDF bottom. After a few passes with the same slot cutter and same fence setting I have a ¼” x ½” rabbet in the bottom rails:



A quick mock up shows the ½” MDF should fit nicely:



Next I cut the ply panels on my not so accurate table saw. The good news is I don’t need too much precision. I cut the panels ¼” smaller on both sides for 1/16” wiggle room on all 4 sides. A quick dry fit of a panel shows everything goes together square:



So I break out the Titebond III and clamps and get to it:

 

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After the 1st clamps come off the joints are looking good:



So I keep going gluing up the bottom panels 1st all the way around. The top rails are installed dry to help line everything up:



I’m amazed at how square everything falls into place. Here’s a pic of the final side panel getting glued in:



Here’s a shot of an inside bottom corner:



After all the side panels are in place the top rails and panel go on last. But here’s a slight flaw of this design. Because of how the top panel sits in the groves of the rails a small notch will have to be cut away in each corner before final assembly:



For this I use a fine tooth jig saw:



After a few swipes of a sandpaper the “design flaw” is fixed:



Before the top gets placed on the stand a ½” MDF doubler gets glued to the underside of the top ply panel for support.



The top rails / panel get tapped in and clamped:



After the clamps come off the tops joints (the only visible joints) are looking good. Even though there is some dried glue on them. Nothing a little sandpaper can’t take care of a bit later:



Here are a few pics of all the panels glued in:





Next the MDF bottom gets cut to fit in the bottom rabbets:



Note the notches cut with the same slot cutter I used for the rest of this project.



After varnishing the bottom will be covered with cork shelf liner to protect the floor from scratches.

Now it’s time to sand. Since I don’t trust myself with power sanders near that thin walnut veneer I stick with my hand sanders. The good thing is my aluminum blocks span both stiles. This should keep the faces square as I sand. I start with 150 and finish with 220 grit:

 

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The joints blend together nicely with just a little sanding:





Now we are ready for finishing. The 1st step is a coat of General Finish’s Seal A Cell:

This pops out the grain of the walnut nicely:



That’s followed up by 5 coats of General Finish’s wipe on gloss poly. Between each coat the stand gets a light pass with a grey scotch brite pad to remove any dust nibs. A quick tack-cloth wipe removes all the dust before applying the next coat. After the 5th coat of gloss poly the stand is looking, well, glossy:



The final coat is General Finish’s wipe on semi gloss poly. That’s more like it:



After the final coat cures for a few days the final step is a steel wool and wax buff:

The final finish is smooth and pleasing to the touch / eye:




The finial step is to glue the cork shelf liner to the bottom.



And here it is all done and in action:



Now we just need to get a nicer pot to go with the stand / plant…
 

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Taking your time paid off nicely. I felt like I was reading a suspense novel though, and was hoping at the very end you weren't going to paint the poplar after all that nice joinery.
 

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Very nice. I like al of the planning that was obviously done before the actual hands on part of the project began. You did great with the tools you had.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks!

This project was really about testing the capabilities and accuracy of the new router table set up. So far so good!
 
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