Friday, May 23, 2008

Dining Room Table 4

9:04 PM Comments 0

The legs came back from the designer and clients with some major changes. Out are all of the small bumps and sharp half-circles and in are shallow arcs and curves.

Many of the changes were made because there were just to many small, sharp curves. The initial design was inferred from a photograph which provided us a rather poor view of the leg system. The overall design of the table lent itself to a more minimalist approach to the curvature of the legs and stringers.

I was really excited to get started on constructing the legs. The table top has been sitting around for over a week and I can’t wait to see what it looks like on top of the legs.

I began by cutting down some of the 10/4 alder into more manageable lengths, and sent everything through the thickness planer.

Everything has been planed down to its final thickness and is ready to cut into shorter lengths.

A quick note on safety: It is very important! Woodworking is not the safest thing to do all day everyday. In just about every step of the construction process there is a chance to smash, cut, slice, and grind your fingers. I plan on building custom furniture for a very long time, and I plan on dying with all ten fingers and with every piece of those ten fingers still attached.

The reason I mention the safety thing is because there was a bit of a scare at work today. Sometimes wood does weird things when you cut into it. When I cut into one such board the cut-off side curved back into the saw blade, essentially sandwiching the blade between the cut-off side and the side I was planning on keeping. The blade whined under the increased pressure, the wood smoked as the friction built up, and my mind raced wildly as I tried not to panic.

It is amazing how fast your mind can think when it is stressed. In a split second I had three distinct thoughts:

1. I saw myself in my mind scolding myself for being so careless. The table saw is an incredibly useful tool for cutting wood. It is also an incredibly useful tool for hurtling wood through the air and for cutting through flesh.

2. I felt the blade heat up, swear I saw it wobble, saw smoke as the friction increase, and wondered how the heck I was going to extricate myself from the mess I was in.

3. I vowed to install two safety features as soon as this ordeal was over.

I knew that I couldn’t let go of the board for fear that the blade would catch it, bounce it up, and send wood and metal flying everywhere, yet I needed to turn off the saw! I held the blade as steady as possible and yelled to a coworker to turn it off, which he was able to do.

Once the blade had stopped, I thanked God for not teaching me a lesson the hard way, and assessed the damage. The blade was scalding hot from the friction, dull as a butter knife, and probably to warped to be used again. The board was burned and showing exactly where the said incident took place.

Go to my Safety Page to see what I could have done to prevent such a situation from occuring and what I have done to make sure I don’t make the same mistake again!

After recovering from the scare I jumped right back in and cut the stringer boards to length and traced out the pattern, making sure to avoid any knots or cracks.

Before you are the four boards for the legs. If you remember from the beginning, each leg set is canted out 2″ from top to bottom. Employing my younger brothers brains and using the geometry I learned ten years ago, we calculated that the angle needed to be about 5 degrees.

So, I angled the chop saw by five degrees and cut the finished height of the legs at 25.25″

In preparation for flush trimming the finished leg profiles, I rough cut the six pieces on the band saw, leaving a 1/16″ to 1/8″ to be trimmed away later.

A close up shot of the 5 degree bevel.

The six pieces awaiting final trimming.