Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do you mind if I brag?

Can I brag about one of my students?

Here's one of those success stories that I love blogging about... 

We just wrapped up to Table Making classes at my shop, and I had to share with you one student's tables. Before the class started - John sent me these two pictures. 

They're of pieces that he has in his house, and he hoped to build two tables to match this set. 

He spent a lot of time coming up with these sketches, and wondered if it would be possible for him to make these, with his limited skills.

Now - he's only completed the Basic Woodworking class, but what he lacked in woodworking experience, he made up for with sheer determination. And enthusiasm. That is more than half the battle. 

He started by making the tops, in this case - using mahogany plywood. A rabbet around the edge of the plywood was cut, so that he could frame in the top with solid African mahogany.

 The frame had to be fitted to the plywood, 

and he did a terrific job making both of these.

He set aside the tops and started work on the base - using mortise and tenon joinery. 

Again –John really nailed it! and got these bases glued together perfectly square, without wobbles or gaps. 

He decided to use the Festool Domino for attaching the shelf stretchers. 

The real key to making any furniture is to glue things together in sub-assemblies. For the longest time, you'll feel like you're not making any progress. 

Things go really slowly, and then...  BAM! 

The next thing you know you have a table! 

Or in John's case - two tables!

Since these tables needed to match some existing tables in his house, he took a sample of the wood to Sherwin Williams, for them to match the stain. 

Meanwhile, there was a lot of touch up sanding and detail work  to do - like adding square plugs to his table legs and tops. 

It's easy to get excited at this stage and rush the finishing. That's usually a big mistake! 

But John took his time and got everything stained and oiled separately, and then attached the tops to the bases. 

When they finally were set in place in his living room, they looked as if they always belonged there.

I can't tell you how excited he was when these were finished!  There is an amazing feeling you get when you finish your first piece and place it in your home. 

And when it's a good one - well, that's even sweeter!

Congratulations on a job well done, John!

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