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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks!

Well, a brief background - I have no training in any trades, well I'm a chef who is now a serving Police Officer, but, I do have a passion for woodwork. My grandfather was a cabinet maker and when he passed away I got some of his old wood working tools, which I like to try and put to use.

Recently my girlfriend bought a house where she saw this gorgeous big 8 to 12 seater oak dining table (not coming with the house unfortunately:thumbdown: ). It is my intention - as a surprise, to build a smaller version (max 4 seater) for her. I am able to source the European Oak (12%humidity) from a timber merchant here.

Can anyone advise - is this a huge project that I should possibly avoid?! Or is it doable!? Or should I just get down to the nearest department store and buy one:laughing: !? Also - is there a web source somewhere that I can obtain plans for different tables etc or am I best just to come up with an idea and consult a pro!?

Your help is much appreciated in this!!

Aus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. I take it pocket holes are easy to do - I see you can source some form of jig for doing them?!

Cheers

Aus
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' type question :blink: but does anyone have any idea roughly how many man hours it would take to complete this (all going smoothly)? Also can anyone suggest any finishes for the final table?!

Your help is much appreciated!!

Aus
 

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Forgotten but not gone
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Based on your experience level, at least what your experience level seems to be, I would say this is not a good project for you to "learn" on. You should tackle some other simpler projects first IMO.

Building elegant chairs, even simple chairs is not simple, basic, woodworking.

12% MC is also not acceptable for woodworking. It needs to be closer to 8% and even less some would argue.

I am not saying you can't build the dining set and chairs right off the bat, because you probably can with patience, study, and determination. But you might be happier with the end resuly if you first take on a few simpler, skill-building projects.

Let us know what you decide and take pictures not just for us but for posterity's sake for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cheers for the advice there, I will maybe try some "simple" project first off, since we don't get the house for a few months yet it give me some time I guess. As for the 12%mc I may have to try digging a little further as that seems to be the lowest suppliers go here. I will update you, hopefuly soon, with pics etc.

Cheers!

Aus
 

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johnep
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Look on the Kreg site where they knock up a table very quickly using standard lumber and pocket holes.

I would suggest a coffee or picnic table to start. Latter simply an offcut from piece of wood/vinyl veneered particle board, four legs and some edging strip. Should take just an hour or so. Only tools required would be saw, drill, kreg jig, and screwdriver.

Good luck.
Johnep
 

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Old School
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Look on the Kreg site where they knock up a table very quickly using standard lumber and pocket holes.

I would suggest a coffee or picnic table to start. Latter simply an offcut from piece of wood/vinyl veneered particle board, four legs and some edging strip. Should take just an hour or so. Only tools required would be saw, drill, kreg jig, and screwdriver.

Good luck.
Johnep

I've got to tell you I'm really enjoying your excitement with pocket holes and the Kreg jig. Not to throw water on your endgrain, but my attitude in woodworking goes beyond how fast I can "knock up" a piece of furniture. Granted the extent of craftsmanship one decides to become familiar with may vary greatly. I'm disappointed to see traditional values go unlearned and not practiced. Woodworking and cabinetmaking is a very old trade. Think about the time when one had to build everything he needed in life. Those times for the most part in our modern world are gone now. There's very little that furthers the art that can be a hobby or a profession.

Don't think of me as a stick-in-the-mud fuddy dud. I enjoy building furniture and working with wood. I love the smell, the taste of sawdust, and get thrilled at seeing paper thin shavings squiggle out my hand plane. Yes, I can understand your excitement about pocket holes. It's probably right up there with my excitement when I made my first dining table and chairs with no screws or no fasteners of any kind. I kept that set in the shop as long as I could to show it off, before delivering it to the customer (I needed the balance payment).

When I started out, there were no home computers, forums, or even catalogs to look through. Everything had to be learned from scratch. Techniques were hoarded and kept "secret". With the information available today, the craft has a different trend.

Pocket hole joinery can have its place. For all you do, do it well. You may find like excitement in learning to do M&T joints, dovetails, or just carving. I'm all for anyone who wants to "try" anything. There's always help here 24 hrs a day to share a problem or say "Wow, that looks great!".
 

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I agree,
I love pocket holes as well, but you have to realize that theres a place for it. Its kind of like the duct tape of joinery. Theres a place for it thats for sure, but I feel its more for your utilitarian , unseen joinery. Don't get me wrong, I use mine like friggin' crazy. Back sides of mantles, backs of cabinets...etc. Handy as hell. But in my opinion, which aint' worth a nickel, They have very very few uses on fine furniture. Having a vast repertoire of joinery methods is the key to our trade.
 

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Hi There Aus83

Don't let the idea of tackling a serious project daunt you totally, but I agree with the others, in that you should undertake some simple projects first, to acquire the skills. I would also suggest that your first projects be built using the least expensive wood you can obtain. Woodworking can be a heartbreaking experience, at times, but it can also be very rewarding, personally, and also fulfilling. The beauty of starting with inexpensive materials, is that if the project "goes South", you are at least not out of pocket for a huge lumber bill. Once you have learned some of the basic woodworking skills, and feel confident to do what you want to do, then go out and start the ambitious project, with the more valuable material. I am currently building some bookcases, with some hemlock, which my brother gave me. It is not the most desireable wood for the project, but it is free, so I can make my mistakes inexpensively. If you are near any places that regularly receive items in or on wood crates, or pallets, this can be a good source for practice wood.

Also, keep us posted as to your progress. We are all willing to help out, and encourage, as much as we can.

I also agree wiyh johnep, in that you don't need a huge arsenal of tools to start the process.

Gerry
 

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Table project

I am in the middle of such a project right now. This definitely is not a beginner project. I started the project in March. I have 8 chairs complete and am about to start on the table. Of course, I work between naps.
 

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johnep
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Have started looking at the various items of 'real' furniture that we have in the house. Older pieces are made with dovetail drawers, younger have combed joints and our kitchen table had the top attached with pocket holes. Otherwise all the modern stuff are butt joints with cams, dowels or just screws.

Ay present taking apart a 100 yr old bureau. this has all the joints one would expect, but also a lot of nails and made from what was then very cheap wood.

Visited Sandringham in Norfolk the other week. This is one of the Queen's residences. Although some of the furniture is over the top with peal inlay etc, the workmanship is superb. you gun fans would drool over the collection of rifles, shotguns, pistols etc on display.
johnep
 

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My first piece of furniture was a dining room table...after buiding many other things such as shelving and general carpentry....toward that end I got a 6 inch jointer, a mortising chisel, bisquit joiner, and new blades for my contractor table saw...oh and a new router and several new bits...I biult no chairs but bought bow back Windsors from Ethan Allen to go with the table...got the chairs and then stained the table to match the color of the chairs....very satifying project...but not simple...
 

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Hi Aus, I don`t think anyone here is saying you can`t build a dinning table. If your father was a cabinet maker... you should have a fair understanding of how things come together. What did she like about the set. Did it look straight forward, nice simple design? Was it old, new, early american, craftsman style, queen ann or modern ect. Could you scetch it from memory to get a starting point? I don`t think there is a woodworker out there who is not still learning. Oh, 12% moisture is not that bad, depending where you live. Anyway, you have to start somewhere... just follow your passion. No guts... No glory. Keep a sharp pencil, sharp tools, and build everything... plumb, level, square, flat and straight... unless you`re into free fourm. Know your limits by challenging yourself. Stay in touch. Rick
 

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Aus, you say you were a chef. Is that an Exc. Chef or something just a tad below it?

I know quite a few chefs myself.
 

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Your ability is the only thing relevant. I am in the construction buisness and get the "my dad is in the trades, so this is how i think you should do it all the time"

your parent, grandfather, mother or next door neighbour has nothing to do with you having the ability. My father could only do a 1/4 of what I do and I could do nothing of what he did and we are both certified tradesmen.

If you have the abilty to read, set goals and follow direction then you are one step closer to cutting your first piece of oak.
 

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...and passion is a must for doing things over, over and over again until you do it right [safe way of course]
 
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