Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Butterflies are free

The cedar tabletop glued up perfectly, but there were a couple of troublesome areas. In a few areas, there was some major checking on the ends. 

Cracks - we all have them!

I'm not afraid of crack(ing.)  

One of the best ways to halt the advance of it is to put in a butterfly, or as some people call them - a dutchman. Here's a blog post showing a gorgeous one. He really doesn't go into how he made one - so I will.

I start by making one, out of plywood. This is just a piece of scrap, but I'll need it to make a template.

I tacked it to a piece of plywood, and plunge routed around it, 

thus making a pattern (or template).

I put the template over the crack, with the smallest part in the middle.

And clamped it in place.

Using one of those router inlay kits you can buy anywhere, I routed out the shape about a half inch deep. Then I used the kit to make the actual piece that fits inside - or as I like to say - Ms. Butterfly.

It is a tight fit - so don't go pounding it in before you've applied glue, or you'll never get it out! Don't ask how I know that!

 Apply some glue and pound it in place, using a block of wood to pound on. If you hammer directly on top of the butterfly, you might crack it. Cracks are what we're trying to eliminate!

Once it's dry, you can plane it flush.

I had to address the ends of the table top - the fellow who I am making this table for didn't want square ends, but rather - something organic, to mimic the live edges that still have bark on them.

So I pulled out my trusty Sawsall and cut the edge, angling it a bit so it would match the sides.

There was a nasty knot that I had to dance around.

The Sawzall doesn't mess around.

And neither does my Festool sander. I put an 80 grit disc in the sander and had my way with the ends. I just like saying that.


A little more sanding and this tabletop is finished. Now I can put my attention on making the base - which will probably require more butterflies. 

At least they're free!

(Happy Birthday, mom!)


Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

I'll have to try that. Did you make your butterfly out of plywood, or just the template?

Wood It Is! said...

Julie - the butterfly was solid maple, but all of the templates and patterns were plywood. It's really easy to do, if you have one of those inlay bushing sets.

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