Complete: Harvest Table

Harvest table from reclaimed threshing barn boards
6 feet long by 39 inches wide
Pegged mortise and tenon joinery
Dyed dark brown, and finished with oil/varnish blend and a top coat of beeswax
43 hours


A Harvest Table

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.

Reclaimed boards after a thorough pressure washing.

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.

Chiseling out the waste

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.