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273949 Phil Washburn <prwashburn1977@g...> 2021‑06‑15 Thanks for the inspiration

Short version-
I have been a long time lurker way down at the far end of the porch, rocking
away for more than 10 years now, since receiving a gentle push down the slope by
our own Matthew Groves (which reminds me I probably should put my bio together
for you all). Over the years I have learned much from you all, but most
importantly have been inspired by you.  So I thought I would share what I
finished thanks to your inspiration.  It isn't much but it is the start.


Long Version-
MLW purchased a pair of bar height Amish made chairs last winter.  Upon bringing
them home she decided a nice bar height table with a cherry top to match was in
order.  I took the commission as any loving husband would do and got to work
coming up with a design.  The base was simple but needed to handle a fairly
solid cherry top.  She likes the live edge look so I planned accordingly.
Luckily an old co-worker just started his own sawmilling company so after a
phone call and some text messages I was the proud owner of a nice 10/4 18" live
edge slab, with a matching 12" piece for the middle.  I had my friend cut the
slab in half so that I could assemble the top to mitigate warping over time.
Once I assembled the top I was able to lay out the size of the base parts.  The
base is poplar stained black.  I ripped the legs from a piece of 8/4 poplar
stock using a nice Richardson Bros. 4 1/2 tpi rip saw.  It was quite an
experience hand ripping 36" lengths in 8/4 wood, but I am stronger for it.  16
hand cut mortise and tenons, another 12 hand cut mortises for the table top
attachment buttons, and 2 half lap joints for the cross pieces and the base was
ready for assembly.


The only tailed apprentices used was for cutting slots for biscuits when
assembling the top and the beast which spins a sand impregnated paper in a non-
ordered circular pattern to prepare the tabletop for finishing.  I just didn't
like how it looked after flattening the top with my Stanley #5 (jack plane) and
follow-up smoothing plane.  So I backslid to my old ways of using electricity.
Send me to old tools purgatory if I must for my sins.

Here is the finished table with the matching chairs.

I am not sure I would have had the confidence to embark on such an undertaking
if it wasn't for the inspiration of you fine group of galoots.  So thanks for
continuing to share your knowledge with those of us way down at the far end of
the porch.  We may not speak up much because we have nothing valuable to offer,
but we are learning from some of the best.

Phil Washburn
Columbus, OH
273950 Ed Minch <edminch3@g...> 2021‑06‑15 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
Phil - nicely conceived and expertly executed.  You picked an ideal project for
a first endeavor in hand tools.  Not enough mortices in the base to become
tedious (DAMHIKT), not enough length in the top boards to make planing the
joints frustrating, and some paint to cover the inevitable boo-boos.  Well done.

Ed Minch
273951 Paul Drake <bdbafh@g...> 2021‑06‑15 Re: Thanks for the inspiration

What tools were you able to justify acquiring in (actually completing) this

At least a pig sticker, right?

273952 Matthew Groves <grovesthegrey@g...> 2021‑06‑15 Re: Thanks for the inspiration

What a great tale of success you’ve shared with us all. And photo-progress to

That base is amazing. I love the way it matches the chairs. You may well be

What would you do different if another “commission” came your way?

How did you decide which way to put the live edge? ‘Facing’ up for maximum

Matthew Groves
Springfield, MO
273953 Tim Pendleton <tpendleton@g...> 2021‑06‑15 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
Nicely executed! A well sharpened saw is a joy to use.

What finish did you use on the top? Multiple coats?


On Tue, Jun 15, 2021, 3:45 PM Phil Washburn 
273958 Phil Washburn <prwashburn1977@g...> 2021‑06‑16 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
Thanks Tim.

Saw sharpening is one of the next skills on the list to acquire.  But
luckily the rip saw I used was sufficient.

The stain for the top is an Amish stain, which isn't commercially
available.  I then topped it with 3 coats of Arm r seal Oil based glossy
polyurethane.  I sanded with 220 between coats.  It almost came out like an
epoxy pour.  Was very happy with it and it should last a while.

273959 Phil Washburn <prwashburn1977@g...> 2021‑06‑16 Re: Thanks for the inspiration

There were no tool acquisitions directly associated with this project.  I
have been in the acquisition phase for the past 10 years, working my way
through learning how to best use the tools and rehab them on little
projects here and there.  This was the first attempt at a "major" project
using only hand tools.

The most recent tool purchase used on the project was the Richardson Bros.
ripsaw.  I lucked into it a couple months before the project started.  I
answered a Facebook ad selling a Yankee No. 44 push drill with 7 bits for
about $15.  Not a great price but worth a look if all the bits were there.
When I arrived I found that there were only about 3 different sizes of bits
and the rest were duplicates.  Asked if he had anything else and he started
pulling things out of every corner.  Walked out of there with a dirty but
useable Stanley #7 (large jointer, Jeff), the Richardson's saw, a Bailey
transitional jack plane, and the pushdrill for $50.

If there was one tool I should have purchased it would have been a 1/4" pig
sticker.  Now that would have been a worthwhile addition to the pile of
rust I have accumulated.  Something to look out for, I guess.

273960 Phil Washburn <prwashburn1977@g...> 2021‑06‑16 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
Thanks Matthew.

I wanted to take more progress pictures as I worked, but I found that I get
so focused on completing a step and then thinking about the next, that I
forget to take pictures.

-- What would you do different if another “commission” came your way?

First I would probably have done a mock up of the table.  It ended up being
a little bit bigger than MLW expected, but was necessary to comfortably fit
4 people and the chairs side by side.  We may have been able to change the
design to fix that.  Otherwise everything went pretty well as planned with
no major challenges.

-- How did you decide which way to put the live edge? ‘Facing’ up for
maximum visibility?

This was a topic of much conversation.  We really liked the look both
ways.  With the live edge down the table took a "modern look" but offered
more table top.  With the edge up it showed it off more and offered a
little bit more space for me to make the base wider, which I thought was
necessary to make sure the table wasn't unstable.  Given that it is 36"
tall I was concerned with it being top heavy and tippy, if I made the base
too narrow.  So after all that she landed on up.


On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 5:15 PM Matthew Groves 
273961 Patrick Olguin <paddychulo@g...> 2021‑06‑16 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 12:45 PM Phil Washburn 

> GG-
> Short version-

[A fabulous project report, replete with some ambitious hand sawing, tamped
into the virtual ethers.]

Thanks for crawling out from under the porch and sharing this. I’m always
curious about design decisions, tool selection, new techniques, and so on.
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? I
really like the black base with cherry top. Totally sets off the gratuitous
use of a beautiful hardwood :-).

Also, there are no sins in oldtools, other than painting saws, and letting
a L-N scratch stock sit unused in your garage for more than 20 years.

273987 Phil Washburn <prwashburn1977@g...> 2021‑06‑21 Re: Thanks for the inspiration

Sorry for not responding.  I seemed to miss your email until I saw it in
the digest.

- 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 
273988 Phil E. <pedgerton66@g...> 2021‑06‑21 Re: Thanks for the inspiration
It's definitely a beaut!
Phil  E.

On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 9:31 AM Phil Washburn 

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