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Small oak kitchen table

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Simon Reeves04/01/2012 18:06:10
622 forum posts
227 photos
Here are a few shots of a small English oak table (about 4ft x 2ft) I've been making for my daughter to put in her kitchen. All the machining and assembly are done, it's just waiting for a finish, which will probably be Danish oil.
It started as just a sliced tree, covered in water stains, but air dried for about 2 years.
Top boards before machining...

Top, machined & ready for glue

Finished top. Legs and rails cut to size
All the parts, machined. You can't really tell from the photo, but the legs are tapered by about 15mm on both inside edges. This was my first go at tapering anything, so I was quite pleased with the result, although I had to "sneak up" on the taper line in the table saw a few times until I got it right.

Here is the base, glued up.

And finally the assembled table. The top is held on with 12 oak buttons that fit into the slots in the base in the photo above. Hopefully this should allow it to move without splitting.

I'll post a photo of the final thing once it's had the final finish applied.
Big Al04/01/2012 19:39:34
1602 forum posts
73 photos
I love the shape of the top Simon, and the way that the grain follows the shape.
Looking forward to seeing the pictures of the finished table.
Oddjob04/01/2012 19:46:06
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Looks good to me Simon - I really like the "natural" waney edges. How did you join the boards? Have you added any bracing to the underside to prevent cupping or warping?
I presume you are aware that you can buy or make taper jigs? I haven't had call to use one myself yet but I have looked at some on the internet. I reckon it would be easy to make one at very little cost - just off-cuts.
Sam04/01/2012 19:48:47
386 forum posts
110 photos
Very nice indeed buddy . I do like the grain pattern in the top alot , , As you say I think that Danish would be best and not hide the grain pattern either . Very nice
Kind regards Sam
Ron Davis04/01/2012 20:03:28
1619 forum posts
201 photos
Nice work and a vrey good WIP
Drew Marsh04/01/2012 21:38:17
52 forum posts
26 photos
Really nice job Simon.
just a quick query... when you say machined... what exactly have you had to do as i am struggling to get good end joints at the moment using a table top planer/jointer. Would be helpfull to know what techniques you have used as they look perfect.
paul wagstaffe04/01/2012 23:21:15
107 forum posts
11 photos
Seeing this kind of work makes me want to carry on learning woodworking. Thanks for showing me how it's should be done.

Simon Reeves05/01/2012 21:01:16
622 forum posts
227 photos
Thanks guys.
The "waney" edges you see on the long sides of top are the actual edge of the tree, minus the bark and sapwood. All I've done on the left hand panel is to sand that edge smooth. As the right hand one is effectively bookmatched (i.e. flipped over with the waney edge on the right and therefore underneath), I used a jigsaw set at about 20 degrees to follow the contour and make the slope the same as the left hand one, then just sanded it. I cheated a bit on the short ends, and cut out some small splits and knots, but made it waney too, at about the same angle.
I assume by "end" joints you mean the ones joining the boards rather than the mortices in the legs. If so, all I did was to plane the boards flat, little by little (they were all slightly cupped, twisted and bowed), starting with the cupped side down in the planer and skimming a gnat's off the upper surface each time, repeating until it was perfectly flat. The boards were then flipped and the opposite surface planed flat, again bit by bit. Too much pressure means that you just squash the board and it remains cupped. Once both faces were flat I cut a straight edge on one edge and used the jointer to plane it truly flat and at right angles to the faces. The centre board is about 8" wide, and has both edges planed flat. The boards started out about 30mm thick, but ended at about 22mm.
The joints are glued and reinforced with biscuits every 8" or so, and the direction of the growth rings are alternated in each board to minimise warping. There is no bracing underneath so I don't know how effective all of this will be. Even with all the prep, and although the joint line is almost invisible, there was still a slight misalignment of the boards at one end that I had to remove by sanding!
I did use a taper jig for the legs. Mine is some pieces of aluminium extrusion I found in a skip. All I've done is to add a hinge at one end, a sliding clamp at the other to lock the arms in place and a stop for the timber to rest against. I also put a handle on to help keep fingers away from the saw! I knew how to set it up but had just never done it before, so it was quite a bit of trial and error, especially making sure I tapered the right edge each time!
All I have to do now is finish it - another week's work if I remember Danish oil .

Oddjob06/01/2012 13:44:54
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Thanks Simon
If I were doing this I would certainly add a couple of braces to the underside - 2 brass screw to each board in countersunk slots to allow for lateral movement.
A it is a kitchen table I would also go for something more heat and moisture resistant than Danish oil. Maybe a two part lacquer or melamine.
Looking forward to seeing the finished article.
Simon Reeves14/01/2012 17:11:56
622 forum posts
227 photos
Here's the final table.

And a view of the underside...
I managed to persuade my daughter against Danish oil for the finish, which was her original choice, to match her new worktops etc. It now has 2 coats of satin polyurethane, which should be OK, as it's an eating table rather than a work table. The top is very smooth, but you can still feel the grain, which is what I wanted, rather than swamping it in varnish.
Richard, I took your advice and braced the underside as you can see. The screw holes on the ends of the braces are elongated to allow for lateral movement, and the screws are only just tightened enough to hold. For any newbies reading this and wanting to use oak for anything, don't forget that the tannin in the oak will react with plain steel screws and go black, so only use stainless, or brass.
joseph00021/06/2013 08:16:13
5 forum posts

Good work.That is an impressive piece.A kitchen table should always be a place for the family, it should always have a feeling of warmth and belonging.Wood kitchen tables are extremely durable because of the time that is put into making them along with the solid woods they are made from.

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