|Finished table in-situ. Photo with my stupid phone.|
Earlier this summer I was back home in Germany, and that trip in June turned out to be a woodworking dream vacation. I got to see a lot of my old woodworking friends over the summer, as well as meet some new ones.
One of them helped me clear out some lumber from my Munich shop which reminded me I had a neat hunk of Zebrano, or zebra wood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis), intended to be a console table and a nice board of American black walnut (Juglans nigra) for the base. A local carpenter, Nils, sold me the Zebrano and suggested I pair it with walnut.
|I cut a hunk off of my walnut board that would yield four legs.|
The first leg always sucks to cut out because it takes two rips, where the rest only take one.
|Legs cut out and four square.|
I have to get rid of all that crap next time I'm there.
The next job was to taper the square leg blanks. I have made a lot of staked furniture with the wide part of the taper at the floor, but I wanted a more modern look for this one, so skinny part to the floor. Either way, the process is the same. I marked a center point on each end, and measured from the center of the end to determine how much to take off on the taper. I then just drew a pencil line from one corner to my mark, and planed down to the line.
Sixteen times for four legs.
|I used a planning stop and a board secured with my hold fast. Plenty secure for this job, and fast to change to the next cut.|
|Medium, course, and fine.|
|Finally, here's a pic of the Zebrano I had to work with.|
There are more precise ways to octagonalize, but I'm getting better at this method. It's quick and easy.
|Setup for octagonalizing.|
Oh, by the way, we're now on my second trip to Germany this summer.
I figured out the rake and splay by holding the legs up in different ways on the top until I got a satisfactory look. Then I determined my sightline and the sighting angle so I could duplicate those angles on the other legs. In other words, I eyeballed one, measured it and copied those angles to the other legs.
I wound up aiming for 5 degree rake and 7.5 degree splay. Is that what I wound up with? I have no idea, but they all line up and look good.
|I think this is the best part of building staked furniture. There's no going back now!|
|It's about now that I remembered I wanted to shape the top and add stretchers.|
As far as shaping the top, I had to do some shaping that I could do with the table assembled. I originally wanted to put a heavy chamfer on the bottom so the top looked a lot thinner than it is. The legs made that a problem, so instead I decided to put an upside down bevel on it. I chose a 5 degree bevel which is hardly noticeable in the photos, but it is there and gives the top some interest.
A big problem I had with the Zebrano is that has crazy grain that switches in random spots. I could get my supertuned #3 to be planing along perfectly, when the next swipe would have backwards grain half way along. At one point before I put the legs in I had it looking OK, but not after.
I had to break down and use sandpaper.
I don't like to use sandpaper for many reasons, but one important one is my shop is in a room of our apartment building where I share storage space with the other tenants. Too much dust and they can forbid me from woodworking in that space. I don't want to get kicked out of my shop.
Hopefully I won't have to do this again.
I started with 40 grit sandpaper on a cork sanding block, and went to town until all of the tear out was gone. Then, it was an easy matter of going through the grits. I think I stopped at 300. It left a very smooth finish.
|The front leg is captured in the leg vice, and I have a clamp on the rear leg. This was good for sanding.|
|Thank goodness I had some dust masks rolling around. This was a dirty job.|
We need another console table in Spain, so I will build it the same way as this, except I'll use dumpster wood.