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Thread: small walnut desk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    small walnut desk

    I've already asked some questions about this project in other threads since the questions were general woodworking questions, not just related specifically to the desk I am building. This will be my first piece of fine furniture (as opposed to shop stuff slapped together from plywood of various repute, etc.).

    Here are the other threads:

    Gluing up the tabletop

    Dealing with knots in the tabletop

    Flattening the tabletop after the glue-up


    Design - yeah, ok, this should have come first before anything else.

    Today I made some significant progress on the tabletop. All that is yet needed is final sanding, filling in knot related voids, machining the bottom related to apron attachment and, of course, finishing.

    Here is the tabletop as it is now, with the top displayed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    My wife delivered a huge compliment just before I trimmed the ends flush - other then a small two inch bit on the end right on the joint that was just plain lower than the rest of the table boards (either big surfacing tearout or snipe) she couldn't tell where the joint was, and her first guess was actually a quarter inch off.

    The black arrow in the second pic shows where a little white stuff is. This is acrylic gel medium that is supposed to dry clear. If it does, I'll be using it to pack knot voids. It will sand off easily, so I figured I'd test on part of the tabletop that needs more sanding anyway.

    I don't have a tablesaw. The edges of the table were not perfectly parallel after glue up (about 1/2" off across the 40" length). What I did was to set up my EZ Smart 50" rail at the middle of the piece, a little closer to the reference edge than the edge to be "ripped" to parallel.

    Then I used the rear of the router guide base (here I am talking about the rear of the aluminum piece that connects the EZ router base plate to the plastic base that rides the EZ rails) to reference to the keeper edge. This was obsessively checked several times before and after clamping the EZ rail in place.

    The EZ rail being in place, I then installed a 1/2" straight bit (Amana, straight cutter, double flute if anyone cares) into the router and router the opposite edge. I used a clever short "controlled anti-climb" on the one side followed by a "whoa Nellie! THIS is the climb cut direction" cut on the otherside before returning to the original cutting direction to finish the routing. I think I confused the "bit rotation direction" arrow with "feed this way" - at any rate, other then a bit of surprise no harm was done.

    Just after this point, I decided to measure the width at either end to see if I was successful. This is when I sustained the requisite project injury. Wait for it, it is funny. So I still have the EZ rail and router setup in case I need to take a second pass or something and I'm rotating the tabletop around to get the tape measure under it (can't accurately measure over the rail). Everything is going good and I see that I have about a half a mm (roughly 1/32 inch) difference in width across the 40" width.

    I briefly entertained the idea of trying to get it closer when I heard Larry's voice in my head, "Even if'n ya get 'er better now, she ain't still gonna be the same in 6 months." So, I took a moment to smile and laugh at myself, thinking I have done a good job so far.

    That is when the whole assembly, tabletop, router and EZ rails started to fall off the RAS table I was using as a workbench! In a panic I moved my foot to try and catch it before it hit the floor. Thankfully, I was successful in this effort.

    I caught the tabletop with my shin. Yes, the corner of the tabletop. Anyhow, with the adrenaline of averted impending disaster, it didn't really hurt all that much and ended up only bleeding down my leg a a couple, two or three inches.

    After a short break I trimmed the ends using the EZ Smart 32" rail and circular saw. There was a tiny bit of chip out. Maybe I should have changed to the new blade from the blade I have been using for laminate floor cutting at my folks house. To finish up the evening, I applied the aforementioned acrylic gel medium as a test.
    Last edited by Mark Kosmowski; 06-11-2009 at 11:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Thinking ahead, the next step is going to be apron construction. The back part of the apron will be some free salvaged oak from a bed or something. This may well also comprise the middle crossgrain apron piece, as I eventually want to add two drawers to the front. The front and sides of the apron will be walnut - I'll use offcuts from the tabletop for the sides to prevent waste, as I have more than enough pen blanks on hand for several years now.

    My plan is to only glue the rear apron piece to the tabletop so that movement does not cause a front glue joint to fail. However, this left me trying to figure out how the apron won't separate from the tabletop as the thing is invariably moved around. I was originally going to rout grooves and dadoes to situate the apron to the bottom of the tabletop.

    However, I had an idea about this today. I have on hand some extra wide headed screws from a prior project. I think they are properly 1 1/4" concrete board screws. They have a bugle head about twice as wide as a typical #10 wood screw (and are themselves a #10 screw).

    My thought is to invest in a t-slot bit of appropriate size and rout a t-slot towards the front edge of the bottom of the tabletop and screw a few of these concrete board screws (after pre-drilling) into the front apron piece. I'd be able to get three screws into the front apron piece - one on each side, and one in the middle. The rest of the front apron space will be drawer holes.

    If I go with this idea, would it be better for me to glue the front and add more screws in the back? Or do people have beter ideas to attach the apron to the tabletop?

    I need to get the table portion of the desk done fairly quickly, so I'm going to worry about the actual drawer construction later. Hmmm... I have plently of cherry shorts - perhaps the drawers will have cherry faces. Anyhow, I'll be cutting drawer holes in the front apron now, and will build drawers to fit later. I'm thinking to mill the apron pieces to 3/4" and give 1 1/2" of wood around the drawer holes. I can add spacer bits inside or not as needed for whatever drawer hardware I go with. Is this a reasonable amount of wood left behind in the front apron piece?

    Joinery for the apron itself is likely to be trim head screw reinforced butt joints where the side pieces have the end grain exposed. This means that I'll need to cut the middle "side" crossgrain apron piece different from the ends to prevent the rear oak endgrain being exposed.

    Hmmm... maybe I'll just live with the oak endgrain being exposed in order to have greater uniformity of parts. The apron will be recessed enough so that only Ken or Ned would notice it if they ever kneel down to inspect my joints.

    Thinking further ahead are the legs. My thought is to use some free maple that has been drying for about two years now. Instead of four legs, I'd make two sides. There could be a stretcher in back about a foot off the ground to prevent stubbed toes. At the bottoms of the sides I could maybe get fancy and clamp the sides together and cut a gentle curve on the bandsaw followed by some cleanup on the spindle sander to give the appearance of feet.

    I'm thinking of making the sides easily detachable for future moving. In a phone conversation with Al Killian, figure-eight hardware was suggested as a possible connector of sides to apron. While at a hardware store Friday I found some steel squares (labeled mending braces, something like this). Each package came with two braces and eight screws. I bought two packages, mostly because they came with square drive capable screws and I want to support square drive. And they were only about $1.50 for each package.

    Would these mending braces work similarly to the figure-eight fasteners to hold the legs (sides) to the apron? Would a top and bottom stretcher for the back of the sides and perhaps a top stretcher flush to the front apron be helpful for stability if the mending plates are used?

    Again, thanks for putting up with my ignorant, long-winded posts and questions. There's a lot more to this woodworking thing than just tool collection!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    apron attachment,,, take and make your apron and use a figure eight clip you just make the apron slot and then screw it to the bottom of the table and it allows the movement threw the larger holes.. simple and not rocket science or make a slot and use the buttons like tod mentioned (wood clips)..dont waste your time or money on that tslot gizzmo for this. oh and that does constitute beun called a knot mark
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
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    I think I'm beginning to understand. We're talking figure eight fasteners like these? So the figure eight fastener first gets installed to the apron, and then to the tabletop. Once installed, it won't be possible to take the figure eight off of the apron without detaching the apron from the tabletop.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    boy fer being a chemist it sure takes awhile to filter threw all thew other stuff to get the point across yup them be it!
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    Take any small hardwood scraps you have, since you dont have any tabletop fasteners, and cut the buttons like Tod has showed.
    They will only take you a few minutes once you set the blades, and youre only going to need 6 -10.
    Before you attach the aprons, run a slot through the aprons with a spinning blade or a router bit, a half inch from top, (depending how wide you make the button, remember that first), just do the entire length of the apron.
    Its really simple, even I can do it.
    I had bought a box of z-clips table top fasteneners, but when I run out Im just going to cut buttons and use them.
    You will be able to dissconnect the top anytime you want to move it or store or replace the top.

    oh wait, larry already said this.I concur with Dr. Merlau
    Last edited by allen levine; 05-31-2009 at 05:36 PM.

  7. #7
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    don't forget, if you use the figure 8 clips, to take a forstner bit and drill a slight mortise for one half of the clip, or you will have about a 3/16" gap between the apron and the top.
    benedictione omnes bene

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  8. #8
    That does look like an excellent job matching the grain.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Kirk!

    Now I have a question. My top is still very flat to the touch - this is good. However, my bottom feels out of flat to the touch, and a piece of oak that I edge jointed about a week ago rocks over the middle with what looks to be 1/32" gap at either edge when rocking. I took the ROS to the bottom at 80 grit a little bit more in the high spots (both happen to be around knots - I'm not comfortable using the hand plane).

    Then I started wondering if this might just be normal wood movement as the pressure changes up here so here I am posting to ask if this is normal wood movement or if I should spend some more time on the bottom with the ROS. If I should spend more time flattening the bottom, would it be worthwhile to invest in so 60 grit disks?

    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    do you go around looking at the bottom of tables mark??? if not then dont worry about it.. you look at some of the antiques and they didn teven flatten them there were still rough i places.. my vote is top is flkat for you then your don withe top and as long as it fits your apron well your good to go bud
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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