Sorry for not responding. I seemed to miss your email until I saw it in
- I’m always curious about design decisions, tool selection, new
techniques, and so on
The design phase was a bit of a dance back and forth with MLW. We started
with the chairs, so I had the color scheme (black stained frame with cherry
top) given to me. The back of the chairs has a similar diagonal crossing
pattern so we decided we wanted to include something similar into the legs
of the table. We also knew we wanted to be able to have 4 chairs around
the table. After some thought we decided 2 chairs side by side and across
from each other was the way to go. Putting the two chairs next to each
other with a couple people sitting in them, I was able to get the
measurements for the distance between legs. Add to that distance the width
of the legs and some overlap and we ended up with a 48" table length.
Seemed about right for the space. Then came width of the table decisions.
To leave space for people to eat across from one another and to have a
balanced proportion (golden ratio and all) we came up with a width of
29-30". With the live edge top it is about an inch wider on one end than
the other so we ended up with a top that was 31" on one end and 30" on the
other. We wanted the legs to be hefty, but not heavy, so we went with 8/4
material which I hand planed to about 1 7/8" square. The apron lengths and
leg stretchers all came together based on all of those design decisions,
with the width being a fairly standard 3 1/2". The final real design
decision was the bottom rail between the two leg stretchers. I was using
solid M and T joints for all the aprons but I was still a little concerned
with spread of the legs length wise. This table is going to be moved a lot
in our eat-in kitchen, as needs arise. More often than not it will be slid,
not lifted. So I wanted the stability of a rail along the bottom. But
with us sitting perpendicular, this rail couldn't go into the leg. So we
went with a rail between the bottom stretchers, which has turned out quite
well and makes it very sturdy and strong.
Tool selection was pretty easy. It was all what I had to hand which was in
serviceable condition. All the rips were the previously mentioned
Richardson Bros. saw. Rough crosscuts were made with a Keystone K3
Pacemaker. Finish crosscuts were on a Stanley mitre box with a very long
Lakeside by Montgomery Ward Mitre saw. I inherited the box and saw from my
wife's grandfather. Joinery was cut with a two sided Japanese pull saw.
All the planing was done with a Stanley Bailey line of numbers, #4
(smoother, Jeff), #5 (Jack), and #7 (jointer). I used my Stanley 71
(router plane) for working my tenons down to parallel and for the half lap
joint. Finally I used a selection of chisels including a Borg 1" that I
picked up somewhere on its deathbed and brought back to use after quite a
bit of work on a diamond plate.
- How are the cross pieces attached to the base, other than the half-laps
where they meet in the middle? Mortised into the stiles, rails, both?
The intent was to mortise the cross pieces into both the stiles and rails.
But when I got down to that part of the project my stock was about an inch
or so short to be able to do that. If you look closely the cross pieces
actually are mortised about a 1/2" inside of the stiles on the rails.
Given all the other joinery and the top I didn't think I needed them for
any kind of structural integrity, so they are mortised into the rails with
an angled mortise and tenon. That was pretty challenging to do.
Thanks for the kind words. It really was a beautiful piece of cherry to
work with and will be a statement piece in our house for years to come.
On Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 12:27 PM Patrick Olguin