Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kid's Table and Chairs - The table is down to final dimensions

It has taken a while, but I have finally seen the table, or close to what it will look like upside down. I recently finished jointing, planing ripping and cutting all pieces to final dimensions and had to at least line them up like a table to see what I had. Of course joinery is needed to keep a table upright so I loosely assembled the table upside down on its top and saw what it will look like from a bug's eye view. I should have taken a picture but I was too excited to think about that This one of all the pieces stacked up will have to suffice. On the far left are the aprons, the center pile is the legs and the big pile on the right is the table top.

I mentioned in my last post about this project that I was going to build a planer table for additional support in an effort to reduce snipe. I did this using a melamine shelf I bought at Lowes, 1 x 6 lumber ripped down for the rails and the pieces of the 2 x 4 I originally tested the planer with. I counter sunk screws to hold it all together and away I went with planing. The middle of this table fits inside the planer and the boards were run from left to right. I made the feet at each end about an eighth of an inch taller than the bed of the planer to help with the upward pressure on each of the boards. It didn't take much effort or cash but in the end it did nothing for snipe. 

I'm not sure what improvements can be made, but I continued to use it until I got about a 16th of an inch within final thickness. At this point I stopped planing for fear of not leaving enough material to sand away. I thought I remembered Marc Spanguolo mentioning this in one of his videos, but damned if I could recall which one. Instead of trying to find that small snippet if info within his vast library of videos, I posted a question in the WoodTalk forums about how much material to leave for sanding. The question got many responses and it seems everyone has an opinion but the majority answer was to plane to final thickness and not worry about what is lost due to sanding. I got some additional advice about planing all related pieces at the same time to be sure they came out at the same thickness. This is contrary to the method I had been using of planing each board individually and resetting the planer depth in between each one. I'm glad I left that extra 16th because it left me room to finish planing as recommended.

With the thicknessing complete I turned to the table saw and ripped each board to width. Prior to doing so I installed a LeeCraft zero clearance insert and rechecked the blade for square. What a difference having that new throat plate made in helping square the blade to the table. The original plate had some flex to it that made square cuts more of challenge than they need to be.

I also made a cross cut sled and the process of making it was the most frustrating woodworking of my limited experience to date. The problem was with getting the fence square to the blade. Really, the problem was with the hard maple I used for the fence. After using a drafting triangle to place the fence square to the cut in the sled I had a hard time screwing it in place due to the effort it took to drill in from the bottom. I used hard maple because that is what I had, but next time I'll use something a bit softer and easier to drill. On my second night of messing with the sled I finally got the fence on square, within 8 ten thousandths over 90 inches. On that first night I had doubted if I really had the skill to take on woodworking. On the second night I did a little celebration dance (no video, no witnesses) and enjoyed the boost of confidence.

The sled might not be pretty, but it is functional. I still need to round over the top edges of the fence for some added comfort but I didn't have a round over bit or usable hand planes at the time. I have since ordered a roundover bit from Rockler and it arrived in the mail this past Saturday.

Since then I have had to rearrange the garage so I could put my car in it and that meant pushing the table saw and work bench to the corners and piling wood and various other crap on top of them. Sandy put a real damper on my momentum, but we were fortunate to not have lost power or have any damage done to our house. Last night I put everything back in its place and started gluing the leg pieces. Finish prep is officially under way and then on to assembly.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

PS: Has anyone noticed I haven't made any mention of the chairs? That's because I haven't done a damn thing with them yet except for mark up some rough stock for the chair pieces. My wife's patience is being put to the test.

Link to the entire "Kid's Table and Chairs series"