Catching up

Wow, I haven’t been keeping up my blogging lately. Time to get back to more regular updates. Now that daylight is waning earlier and earlier, I foresee spending more evening time in the wood shop. 🙂

No pictures for today, but I’m in the 3rd phase of my dining table construction. The pedestal came together early summer, and I’ve finished the sliding rails. Now it’s just the table top. As if it could be so easy! Of course, I pick a design with a funky curved outline (that needs to be symmetrical in 2 dimensions, of course) and needs a matching outer rail that must fit without any gaps. I came this close to saying the heck with it and moving to a simple rectangle or maybe an elongated octagon, but decided to stick with the curve for now. I think I found a way to fill gaps in the rim template so that they mate perfectly. Stay tuned!

By the way, do you know how hard it is to get a dead flat table top? If you go with “sheet” wood (like plywood) it’s pretty trivial. But I’m using planks of mahogany, about 11 inches wide, edge-jointed to make panels 33 inches wide. Each plank had a little bit of cupping and bowing to it, so those needed to be treated. Then the edges need to be dead parallel or there will be visible “seams” in the wood. Then gluing up the panels can introduce some overall cupping if you use too much presure… I’ve already given up and re-ripped one of my panels (essentially, cut along the glue lines to get my 3 planks back, minus a smigeon) and the newly flattened pieces are drying on their second glue-up attempt.

But that’s only the beginning. There’s still some sanding/planing that has to happen on the whole panel once it’s dry. I found a funiture maker who would (for a fee) run my panels through his industrial drum sander – that would get the surface flat in jiffy. If it’s not too bad I can tweak it myself with a belt sander. Ooops! Belt sander broke (under warranty) – it’ll be a few weeks out getting repaired. That’s leaves a random orbital sander (slower) and of course, the hand plane. I may be getting some arm exercise tomorrow.

On the side I’m also trying to pick a chair design to go with the tables. The matching G&G style chairs are out – I wouldn’t have a completed dining set until 2009 if I tried one of those! So I’m looking through Internet plans and books for interesting looking chairs that aren’t too hard to put together. I found one custom furniture maker with an elegantly simple design I may try to shamelessly copy. Again, stay tuned as that project ramps up.

I haven’t decided how much I want to write about in my non-woodshop life. I haven’t quite adjusted to the whole baring my soul on the internet thing yet. There’s an “open the box” game going around, where you get to ask the target any 5 questions and they must answer. Nope, not yet. Still chicken. 🙂

I hope y’all are having a good September, and I’ll write more soon.

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