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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Building a Locust and Walnut Entry Table (2010) Part 1

A customer contacted me about designing and constructing a table for the entry way in their house. Looking over my website and various furniture I completed in the past, they said that they liked the design of the dining table I built for my own house as well as the woods used and wondered if the design could be modified to match the dimensions of the table they had in mind. Below is a photo of the dining room table I built using Locust and Walnut:
The dimensions for the original table were 48" Wide by 96" Long by 30" Tall. The table the customers were looking for would have the dimensions of 16" Wide by 60" Long by 33" Tall.

To design the table that they had in mind, I used a 3D modeling program created by Google called Sketch Up. After learning the program, I was able to come up with a 3 dimensional image of the table with the specified dimensions and I even colored it to mach the tones of the wood I would use. Not only that, but I produced some images to email to the customer of the design for the table. It is a fantastic program and sure beats drawing these designs out by hand! The program allows you to view the model from any angle so included several shots below of the table.

The first is from the corner of the table.
This shot shows the table from the end.

This shot is from the side.
The final shot shows the table from the top. We decided to change this slightly so that the center two boards are one board.
The way that this table works is that the outer boards form a frame around the center board of the top. The outer boards are joined with a spline at each corner and the top is held captive by the outer boards. This allows the top to expand and contract freely without cracking. The base is a mortise and tenon design with pegs and tapered legs and a continuous bull nose molding around the base of the apron.

Below is a photo of the wood used for the table fresh from the lumber yard.
The first step was to surface plane the boards so that I could see what was going on with the grain and determine where the flaws were and how to work with them. This photo shows the boards after they were planed.
I decided to build the top first and the rest of this post concerns it's manufacture. The first step was to laminate strips of Walnut onto Locust boards. Once they were joined they would become the outer edges of the table top. Here is a photo of the Walnut being glued to the Locust.
After this was complete, I cut a Rabbit joint along the edge of the center board as well as a corresponding joint on the edge boards. The Rabbit joint is a joint which looks like a step if viewed from the edge. The edge boards will over lap the center board to hold it in place. below is a photo of the two long edge boards being fit to the center board. At the closest edge of the center board you can see the rabbit joint.
The next step is to cut a slot along the miters of the edge board to accommodate a spline. This spline attaches the miters together.
The last two photos are of the top being glued up. No glue holds the center board in place it is locked in by the outer edge boards. The last step which I will show in the next post is to round the corners of the table surface.

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