|Current state of Shaker side table.|
If you can't tell by the photo, I have all of the pieces cut from the rough stock except the legs and I have to redo one 3/4" rail for the front.
The legs are turning out to be a problem.
It's not that I don't have enough wood, but I might not have enough wood to cut the legs with what Christopher Schwarz calls "bastard grain" in his DVD. Bastard grain in these legs means the annual rings of the wood go at about a 45 degree angle to the faces, resulting in legs with the same grain on all four sides of the leg. I have always called this rift sawn, but I think this term is supposed to be even more specific. Using wood with the grain going one direction or the other results in a leg that has face grain on one side and quarter sawn grain on the other. I agree that this is distracting.
The wood that I have available to me might still work, but I'm not confident. There was enough lumber on the wide board to get a leg or two with bastard grain on them. But, once I cut the live edge away, I found that the grain runs out at an angle on this face. I am looking for grain that is straight on all four sides.
Luckily, I bought an extra board at the lumber yard. The problem is, this board is almost perfectly quarter sawn - the rings go perpendicular to the face. One side of the board might yield an acceptable leg or two - the pith runs near one edge. There is enough bastard grain that I might get enough legs, as long as the grain is straight in both directions.
If it turns out I don't have enough proper stock for four legs, I have several options:
- Use the quarter sawn wood the way it is. This would be the quickest and most economical solution, but it compromises the refined look of this piece. To me, it might seem like a waste of time and effort laying out the rest of the piece so carefully and conserve materials here.
- Go back to the lumberyard and buy another board. This time ensuring that I get a board from which there is straight, bastard grain that will make the perfect legs. If this is not possible, I might have to go to the next-thicker stack of cherry to find some, or perhaps cut bastard grain legs out of oversize lumber with grain that is not at the ideal angle. The quarter sawn board I have will not go to waste, it is beautiful stuff. I am sure I will think of something to do with it.
- Mail order some turning blanks. I had good luck with this when I wanted a long chunk of wood for my Krenov style jointer plane. The disadvantages are that I must wait for the legs to be shipped here (probably a week or two), the cost for four blanks might be equal to or a little more than an entire new board, and that I have to live with whatever they send me. If I am not happy with the grain orientation, I am back to square one.
- Veneer the opposite faces of each leg. I did this with an oak table I made last year, and was pleased with the results. I got legs that looked like they were showing quarter sawn grain on all four faces. I'm not sure what it would look like on a Shaker side table, but I imagine it will draw the eye less than the first option.
- Borrow/purchase some ideal stock from one of the local woodworkers that I know. It might take some asking around, and I don't know a large number of local woodworkers, but you never know. Plus, I have a couple good ideas of who to ask.