Thursday, June 28, 2012

It Takes a Village - Part Deux

(Warning to my mom - this post may bore you, too.)

With the table base finished, I turned my attention to the table top. And all I can say is - thanks Eric, Nikki and Lupe.

Eric stopped by my shop when I was just starting to think about the tabletop construction. I had two choices - glue the top up as one single slab, like a common table top you would see on any typical table.

Or make a segmented top, which - on one hand, would be more difficult, but OTOH, would look SO much better. Guess which one Eric challenged me into making?

I sketched it on cardboard, which you might recognize as my favorite way of designing. Full sized drawings rock!

A few years ago, before I owned a digital protractor, I wouldn't have been nearly as accurate as this. I set my miter gauge to cut the angles, and then tested a piece I'd cut.


Cutting the angles required a special angled stop block.

A stop block is the only way to ensure all your pieces come out the same length.

Once everything was cut, I clamped it together without glue, to make sure the miters all closed up nicely. Having a gap on one of the miters would seriously piss me off.

I added a piece across the middle

and Domino'ed the whole thing together.

This piece was beefy, with perfect joints, once it was glued together.

Here's where the second part of my "village" stepped in to help. Nikki and Lupe were hanging around the shop as I was preparing to finish the top. I'm not sure if it was curiosity or moral support that made them stay to help me. But - whatever it was - I appreciate it!

I needed to make a recess in the center of the top, to hold an engraved piece of plexiglass. Turning my router into a compass was the best way to accomplish this, but - as in most woodshop situations - I had little room for error.

Procedures like this makes me extremely nervous! Here I am, contemplating my next step!

It was going to take a few different passes with the router to create the perfectly sized recess, and after a few passes, I started to get close to my target dimension. I added some tape to reduce any chipping that might occur.

Luckily - with Nikki and Lupe's help, the recess was cut perfectly!

Here's how we did it.

Removing the tape, time to concentrate on the outside edge.

Here I'm making an adjustment to the compass, in order to cut the outside edge of the top.

I barely had any room to spare on that outside edge!

More fun with routers...

And finally peeling off the tape, and celebrating the completion of a big job.

Of course - this post wouldn't have been possible without Eric's insistence about upping my game and making a segmented top. Or without Nikki's help negotiating the router. Or without Lupe's film-making skills. She edited and produced these videos, and I can't thank her enough! All three of you seriously rock!


Vegas Lupe said...

Dear Jamie, thank you for the credit. However, you probably did 95% of the entire job. We were like boxing fans watching you from ringside, and cheering you on. Every single time I walk into your workshop I learn something new. It is really neat to see you tackle specific problems and watch the elegant solutions you have for them. Thank you for being a great teacher and friend.

How to make a table said...

Beautiful piece of carpentry. Some serious job satisfaction was experienced building this table, no doubt!