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Mark Rhodes Furniture & Kitchen Maker & Woodwork Courses - Norfolk

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Chunky Side Tables

Chunky side tables.

Made a start on the four breadboard ends for the top’s today, these are for some small but chunky side tables I’m doing this week. Here is the process in full..

First I need to mark where the shoulder line will fall, I do this with a marking knife(home made), but it could be done with a marking gauge also. I use the cleat itself for this, and just score the two outer points.
I now take my mortice gauge and mark from the face of each top, a 12mm tenon. This is a very unusual gauge(at least to me), I inherited it off my grandfather, and I think he might of made it. It seem’s to be made of Ebony and Brass and weighs about a pound.
Some parts of it need replacing, but it works very well.
You adjust it via a flush fitted steel bolt.
The two scribing pins have seen better days, and can easily be replaced.
I would be very grateful(perhaps even some rosewood veneer) if anyone has any information on this gauge, as I have never seen one like it, and I remember my grandfather using it a lot.
Anyway onwards and upwards
It’s then a case of carrying  these knife marks all the way around, and especially on the sides to avoid breakout. I then set my router to this mark, and take out the waste gradually about 5mm per pass .
Until you end up with a nice shoulder line, and the start of a tenon.
Flip over and do the other side.
I then mark out the haunches  to allow for the inevitable movement that you nearly always get on a breadboard top
I use a couple of ways of cutting the waste out, firstly get as much waste out with the bandsaw as the throat will allow.
I then use a tenon saw for the haunches that I couldn’t reach on the bandsaw(well I could if I flipped the top and marked the other side too but I’m not that organized).
I use a coping saw to remove the waste between the two vertical cuts.
It was nice to use my new Ashley Iles chisels to clean up the ends a bit.
Lovely chisels these.
Morticing the cleats on my Sedgwick 571 is so much quicker than by hand.
The cleats are thicknessed 2mm oversize(1mm each side this is planed off later).
It’s now time to make up some oak dowel, for this I use a dowel cradle, and plane by hand. You can use a dowel plate for this, but I have found this quicker at least for me. The corners are planed off until you end up with this.
The dowels are then tapered with a chisel, so they will go though the draw bored tenon.
I drill a hole through to both sides of the cleat, You can place a loose tenon inside to stop breakout within the mortice, and this saves a lot of cleaning up.
I then tap a brad point bit with a hammer to mark the hole for the tenon
I move the bit 1mm to the tenon shoulder to give me a nice tight joint.
This might be a bit controversial, as I place some very small drops of glue(titebond II) on the tenon. I fully expect this to fail, as most of the glue is scraped toward the shoulder, which is end grain, and wont hold well. But it makes it easier to plane the top, and then finish sand with it held secure, at least until it’s polished.
The dowels are then hammered to just proud of the surface, I use a large Warrington for this, You must keep the dowel moving or there is a chance it will break. That would be a disaster, and a bit of a pig to fix. so use a heavy hammer and keep tapping.
Close up of the draw bored joint with the dowel planed flush, ready for a finish sand.
The finished top
The base details
These tables are not to my taste, but are exactly what the client wanted, They were/are nice to make as they use traditional techniques.
In my next post they will be finished.
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2 Responses on “Chunky Side Tables

  1. Darnell says:

    >That's a stunning gauge, one of the nicest I've seen. It's provenance makes it even better, I'm envious.

  2. Mark Rhodes says:

    >Thanks Darnell, its certainly a nice one to use, I must get round to replacing the scribe pin's.

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