I’ve just started a new project, a super simple harvest table, and i thought it would be a nice idea to record the process here. Who knows? Maybe i’ll actually keep this up. Or, maybe this will be last post…
Here’s a little SketchUp model of what we’re shooting for:
Very simple lines, no ornamentation, but I think the proportions are right. It should be a pretty straight-forward build.
We’re going with reclaimed barn boards for the material, so I pressure washed all the boards to get rid of all the nastiness and let it sit for a couple of weeks before doing anything.
Since then, I’ve surfaced the top boards down to 1 3/4″ (from a little less than 2″), glued up the top, and cut the tongue at the ends of the top to receive the breadboard ends. I’ve also run a groove on both breadboard ends, but i still need to cut out the tenons on the top’s tongue and mortise out the breadboard ends to receive those tenons. Will probably be the most time-consuming part of the whole project.
I used a router to cut out the 1 1/4″ tongues that join the top to the breadboard ends. Apparently I took too big of a bite on my first few passes since the shop ended up getting a little smokey. Signs of fire in a room that contains mostly wood and sawdust is a really bad thing. I doused all the shavings and the end of the top with water and decided to change my approach.
I ended up chiseling out the bulk of the waste then finishing off the final 1/8″ or so with the router. This probably ended up going faster than hogging out all the waste with a router and was at least 500 times quieter (could listen to the Jays game!). The router didn’t leave a great finish, but i’ll be truing up the cheeks of the tenon with my router plane when i fit it anyway. Lots of people think using hand tools is awkward, slow, tedious, etc. But, that’s not the case. The key is a sharp hand tool. Chris Schwarz once mentioned that learning to sharpen is a gateway skill in woodworking. Very true.
Now, i have a partially complete top sitting on my too-small workbench. If all goes well, maybe i can get out sometime this weekend and get those breadboard ends fit.