Monthly Archives: January 2013

Arts and Crafts End Tables–Rough Cutting Stock

Rough cut components

Rough cut components

Its been another busy week, and I haven’t gotten as much woodworking time as I would like (but when to any of us ever get as much time for our hobbies as we would like).  My shop time this week was mainly dedicated to choosing which pieces of lumber would be used for the various components for the end tables.

I first chose the board that would be used for the legs of the second table.  While I was at it, I selected the lumber for the table tops.  From the scrap of these boards, I also have the material that will make up the cavities for the drawers.

The board that I had selected for the legs ended up with a fair amount of cupping (for those of you who aren’t woodworkers, imagine looking down the length of the board from the end and seeing a slight “U” shape across the width of the board).  On the material for the first leg, I tried to plane the board flat before cutting out the blanks for the leg.  Was that ever a big mistake.  I ended up with a board that was way to thin to try cutting the profile to make the legs lock together.  So, I planed the board down to only 3/8” thick and now it will be the material for the slats on either a side or back of one of the tables.  This is the piece on the far left of the photo above.

That about covers it for this past week.  This week I hope to get the profiles cut on the leg components and get them glued up.  I plan to write a post that goes into more detail about how I cut these profiles around the middle of the week.

In the meantime, I’d like to know if you’re interested in reading more about the tools, techniques, and other details related to the way I work on projects.  Please let me know your opinion by leaving a comment below.

Until next time…

Arts and Crafts End Tables – More Legs

It’s been a busy week here, and I haven’t had as much time in the shop as I would have liked.  This week, all I was able to get done was getting lumber to size for two more legs; which brings me to three, in total.

Legs in progress

Legs in progress

I’m hope to get the rest of the legs done this week.  I only had one board that was rough sawn, the rest are surfaced on both sides, so I won’t have to plane as much (if at all).  I have only a board for one leg that is still in the rough state.

There isn’t much more to tell for now, so I won’t keep rambling.  I will post again next week to let you know where the project stands.

Arts and Crafts End Tables – Legs

I started working on the legs for the end tables this week. Actually, I started on one leg. I want to make sure that I can get the quadralinear (4 part) legs to work out the way I want them to.

First of all, I cut the lumber to rough length for four legs. Once the pieces were cut, I planed down one of them to get a good surface on which to work. The oak had a great figure in it.

Rough Lumber

Rough Lumber

After Planing

After Planing

The next step was to saw out the four individual parts for the leg. The was a somewhat stressful step because I had only about a quarter of an inch to work with between the pieces. In the photo below, I had to try to saw to line closest to my thumb without cutting into the line on the right. I’m happy to say that my saw tracked beautifully and I didn’t have any problems with the cuts.

Small space to saw

Pieces for the test leg

Pieces for the test leg

Once the pieces were cut and planed down to final size, I started plowing the grooves and rabbets to make the profile. To plow the grooves, I used a plow plane; for the rabbets, a moving fillister plane.

Plow Plane

Plow Plane

Moving Fillister Plane

Once I had the profiles made, I had to individually fit the pieces to make sure the leg would go together. I ended up with a few gaps, but the liquid hide glue I plan to use should fill them adequately.

Dry-assembled leg end

Dry-assembled leg end

Dry-assembled Leg

Dry-assembled Leg

Now that I know the profile for the legs will work, I need to make seven more of them before I can move on the rest of the tables.

Arts and Crafts End Tables – Leg Design

The most complex part of this project is going to be the legs, so I want to try to tackle them first. Arts and Crafts furniture (particularly Stickley style) was often made with what are called quadralinear legs. This just means that each leg was made up of four pieces of wood. This was done so that each side of the legs would have straight grain running down their lengths.

With power-tools, these would usually be made with a Lock Miter router bit like the one in this video from Rockler Woodworking. Figuring out how to do something similar with hand tools took a while. Here is the profile I came up with for each of the leg pieces.

Quadralinear Leg Section

The four pieces should interlock as shown in this picture.

Quadralinear Leg Interlock

There will be two major challenges to making these legs. The first will be to accurately create this profile on the leg stock using a plow plane and a rabbet plane. For those of you how aren’t woodworkers, a plow plane cuts a groove with two walls in the middle of board, and a rabbet plane creates a ledge along the outside edges. The second challenge will be that each of these sections are only going to be around 1 3/4″ wide, so finding a way to hold the pieces while cutting the grooves and rabbets will be difficult.

I expect to start working on the legs by the end of this week. I will post photos and more information this weekend.

Saw Restoration

Saw after restoration.

Saw after restoration.

Around Thanksgiving, my Father-in-Law, Dave, mentioned that his handsaws needed to be sharpened.  I told him that I would be happy to sharpen them, so we went out to his workshop to check them out.  One of the saws had a really bad kink in the blade and wasn’t in any condition to be salvaged without a lot of work.  The other was fairly rusted and had a minor kink near the end of the blade, but it wasn’t too bad.

I wish I had taken a picture of this saw before I started working on it.  It was a Craftsman; I think it was probably made in the 1970s or 1980s.  In addition to the kink in the blade, the tote (the proper name for a saw’s handle) was very poorly designed.  It was made of 1″ plywood, and all its proportions were much to large to be usable.  I asked Dave if he wanted me to make a new tote for the saw in addition to sharpening it.  He responded,  “Whatever you want to do.”  That was music to my ears.

I brought this saw home and over the past week and a half, I have been working on restoring it.  First I picked up a nice cherry board from my friend Kurt and started making a new tote.  On Christmas Day, I took the mostly completed tote to see how it fit Dave’s hand.  After finishing the tote, I gave the saw plate a bath in Evapo-rust, a great (and very environmentally friendly) rust remover.

I had talked to Dave on Christmas Eve about what type of wood he expected to cut and what clean-up he usually did after using the saw.  It turns out that the saw wasn’t particularly suited to his needs, so I decided to rework the saw’s cutting geometry.  The first step in this process was to file away all the existing teeth of the saw.  Next, I had to file in new teeth.  Once the new teeth were formed, I sharpened the cutting angles on the teeth.  It took several passes with a file to get the saw good and sharp.

Once the blade was sharp, I cut a groove in the tote for the saw-blade and drilled holes for the saw-nuts that hold the handle to the saw plate.  Next, I put several coats of Watco Danish Oil on the tote; and when it was dry, I put the saw together.

Here is a photo showing both the original tote and the new one.

Saw tote comparison

Saw tote comparison

What do you think of the restoration?  I would love to hear your thoughts?  Also, please let me know if you would like more or less details in future posts.

Arts and Crafts End Tables – Lumber!

I got a very pleasant surprise yesterday.  While I was working on sharpening a handsaw (more about that on Friday), my wife told me that our friends Kurt and Nancy (I got my lumber from Kurt) were running some errands in Columbus; and they were bringing over the lumber I’m going to use for the end tables.

At the moment, the lumber is sitting in my living room waiting to be brought to the basement.

Stack of quartersawn white oak

Lumber for the Arts and Crafts End Tables

Now that I have the lumber here, I should be able to start working on the tables in about a week and a half.

Next week, I’ll make a post about my plans for the next step of the project.  Stay tuned. . .