Friday, 28 March 2014

Mini Shaker side table - Part 1

Anna the cat supervising from her position
on top of the dust extractor

My wife put a request in for a side table to match one I made when I joined The Wood Whisperer Guild back in 2010. This table is currently in our living room. However it is too tall for what she wanted it for. So I had to scale it down to approximately 2/3 size. This makes the table around 19" high and still in exactly the same proportions as the original. The beauty of Sketchup is that is really easy to select an existing design and simply scale it to whatever you want.
The result was that the legs were 22mm square (or 7/8") tapering down to around 12mm (1/2") at the bottom. This was the minimum size I could go to so it would retain some strength.

I had some English Elm in the shop that I had bought back in August 2013. This was mainly 8/4 slabs that had been slab sawn. Some of the boards still had bark on them. I selected one board that was interesting and had enough stock to get all the pieces for one table.

Some rare English elm

Legs in the raw

Next I used a combination of band saw and table saw to release the legs from the board.
22mm square legs


I then cut some mortises on the tops of the legs using the router table and some hand tools.
Mortising kit

Finished mortises

Never throw away any jigs or fixtures

I made a tapering jig that runs on my European table saw a few years ago and dug it out to cut the delicate tapers on the legs. It needed a few minor modifications.
Leg stock clamped into position

Taper #1 done. Another 7 to go (2 per leg)


I next made some aprons after milling the stock to 14mm (9/16") thick.
Hand cutting the tenons and tuning with a shoulder plane

Each side was glued up as a sub assembly

The drawer aprons were cut.

Carcase glue up

I was lucky enough to cut the joinery and get to the glue up stages in a few hours.
Glued with Titebond original

In the meantime I cut and milled a couple of pieces for the top. I made this slightly thicker than 9/16" probably 5/8" and jointed the edges and glued them up with parallel clamps. I didn't bother with biscuits for alignment as the whole assembly ends up around 13.5" square. Once the glue had set I hand planed the joint and carefully finish planed with a LN #4. I even broke out the Veritas small bevel up plane with the high angle A2 50° Bevel blade for some difficult grain.

This is an ideal simple project for 2 or 3 weekends to achieve completion if you are a home woodworker. Next time I will make the drawer, cut the top to size and taper the edges. Then I will sand and apply and wipe on finish.

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