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    oak end table build

    I had some red oak gathering dust, so decided to try and turn it into some mission style end tables. Designed the tables combining features from some pictures I liked. The parts (with exception of drawer bodies and bottom shelves) for four tables are cut out, mortise and tenons made, rough sanding and dry fitting complete. Next comes lots (and lots) of sanding, glue-up, making drawers, and finishing. Two of the tables are 24" tall and two are 30" tall - same design except leg and slat length. Added a couple pictures below.
    Advice needed: I have burn marks at the ends of part of the flutes in the legs. I am sanding the length of the flutes with sandpaper around a dowel, but any advice on sanding the ends of the fluting? Sandits? (I have never tried these). I will likely seek advice again in a few weeks when I get ready to finish (fitting table builds in around other work). Thanks for any advice.

    Parts for one table





    Dry fit minus top, drawer, and shelf




    Sorry for the rotated pictures - they were oriented correctly on my computer before uploading.

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  3. #2
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    Re: oak end table build

    That turned out great! Very well executed. I read somewhere at some point that you can try and use the actual router bit as a scraper to clean up the burn marks. Haven't actually tried it myself and not sure how well it would work there at the end. Do you pre finish your pieces prior to assembly? what glue do you usually go with? Finishing and gluing are two areas I despise mainly because I'm not good at them so I'm always interested in other peoples techniques.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Bash, I suggest you use a rotary rasp in a Dremel tool or other rotary tool to clean up the burn marks.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw...&ul_noapp=true
    I like making things. I have a wood shop at home. I am a terrible carpenter but I love doing it. Raymond - Charlotte, NC

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    Re: oak end table build

    Thanks for the advice. I never thought of using the router bit as a scraper for the flute end profiles - I'll give that a try this weekend. The rotary rasp is also a good idea, but for someone with a steadier hand then me. I had tried that earlier on a practice piece of oak with fluting and managed to mis-shape the flute ends with it - maybe needed a "finer" rasp head if they make them.
    I typically use TightBond II wood glue for this type project and it has worked well for me. I have never really compared the different glues as TightBond has worked.
    My last small table (made for church - picture in gallery) I finished each piece prior to assembly. It worked great but took a lot of space for several days. As I will have 4 tables with ~30 pieces per table this time, I believe I will assemble first and then finish. Finishing is also one of my weak points, so I will likely be asking advice on that when I get closer.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Looks nice,bash.
    The thing that holds up all my woodworking is simply getting started.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Great looking work Bash. I like your design and execution. Regarding the flutes, I've also had bad luck using a dremel for this. One slip and it's mis-shaped. Two slips and it's ugly. A fine rasp on very slow speed might work, or even a ball rasp used manually might be better.

    I once took a long Phillips head screwdriver and built up the end with tape to form it just a little narrower then the flute. Then used that and a small square of sandpaper to manually sand the end of the flutes. The driver handle made it comfortable to twist and rotate the paper and I could put some pressure on the sanding by pushing down on the driver shaft. As I recall, this worked quite well but with the number of flutes you have, it would be time consuming.

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  12. #7
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    Re: oak end table build

    BTW, what kind of wood stove is in the background in pic 2?

    I have burn marks at the ends of part of the flutes in the legs.
    I can't see it from the pics but wonder how noticeable, unsightly, and objectionable those relatively small areas will be if you do nothing and after you apply some of your chosen finish to the overall area. As the builder you may think that's totally unacceptable but 99% of the rest of us aren't going to be using tunnel vision focused on the flutes.

    Another option is a dowel or small sanding device fastened in a drill press with just a bit of touch-and-go finesse on the flute ends.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    BTW, what kind of wood stove is in the background in pic 2?
    The stove is a Vogelzang - nothing fancy but will heat up my shop work area well even on the coldest days. As for the wood in the stove, I ain't saying if it is simply split oak and hickory or if it has had many hours of measuring/cutting/working/sanding done to it before entering the stove. I sometimes have some well (or not so well) worked firewood.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Update on the tables and next advice needed.
    Thanks for the advice on addressing flute end burn marks. I tried a few things suggested here (focusing on the worst burns) and after making them lighter took Jeff's advice and said good enough. I am guessing the dark stain will camouflage what is left. Also divided the project up so only working on two tables at a time. I cut the remaining pieces, sanded everything, and built one of the drawers. This was my first attempt at half blind dovetails so hope to get better over the remaining three drawer builds. I decided not to dovetail the drawer back but may change this decision on the final 2 drawers. I have not glued up anything yet – the picture is of one table dry fitted with the top sitting on, the shelf on blocks, and the drawer balanced.
    I learned a lot reading other threads and was curious what people thought about a partial assembly finish – meaning glue-up the sides (as in final picture) and drawers before finish, then treat them as units to finish along with the top, shelf, and aprons, etc. that connect the sides. I will still have corners to deal with but this seems like it might be more manageable. For finishing, I am leaning toward ~3 coats of dark walnut Danish oil followed by 3 coats of original Waterlox. I am still deciding whether to use a ring pull for the drawer or make square half pyramid knobs from the oak scraps.












    Last edited by bash; 02-12-2018 at 03:26 PM. Reason: fix fonts, spacing

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    Re: oak end table build

    Beautifully done! I had been wondering about the same for partial finishing. I don't see why it wouldn't work and certainly easier than trying to finish it completely assembled. It seems it would be easier in terms of space to work with the sides as one assembly and be able to stand it up while it dries so you could coat all the edges. Keep us updated as you go, looking forward to your thoughts on the ease of use of waterlox.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Very nice, I like the details on the legs.
    Measure twice... cut once... SCREAM LOUDLY... get another board

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    Re: oak end table build

    I have learned from older threads on the site for top attachment. I made wooden buttons with tongues and drilled/chiseled "mortises" allowing for adequate travel of the button tongues in the aprons in both directions. I understand end grain vs cross grain movement. Should I restrict the button movement for the two center buttons on the end grains
    to prevent the tops from "walking" over the years and becoming off center? Sorry if I missed a thread on this walking question.


    For the bottom shelves, they sit inside the legs and bottom aprons (correct word?). I was thinking to let them lay unattached on cleats, or perhaps drill large holes through the cleats and attach with pan head screws through fender washers in the center of these cleat holes, allowing movement in all directions. [Any advice on traditional method for inside shelf?] I was surprised to learn (if I am calculating correctly) that the 14" wide flat sawn red oak shelves could change width by ~0.5" cross-grain over a 10% moisture spectrum. Can someone confirm this number (I used 14 x 10 x 0.0037)? Do I need to buy a moisture meter to determine current moisture content of my shelves then determine proper gaps to leave allowing for maximum size? Is 16% moisture content the correct worst case value to use? The tables will potentially end up in a non air-conditioned house sometime in the future. Thanks.

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    Re: oak end table build

    Those tables are coming along nicely.

    Should I restrict the button movement for the two center buttons on the end grains
    Your call. Either way the top probably isn't going to do much shifting from side to side during everyday use and the buttons along the side aprons also help to restrict movement.

    For the bottom shelves, they sit inside the legs and bottom aprons (correct word?). I was thinking to let them lay unattached on cleats, or perhaps drill large holes through the cleats and attach with pan head screws through fender washers in the center of these cleat holes,
    I think that your 0.5" wood movement (6% to 16% MC=10% change) is most likely an extreme value. Even though the wood was originally kiln dried to 6-8% MC it's unlikely to stay there in your shop and will equilibrate to about 10% so maybe only about a 6% change or about 5/16".

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