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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum. I have just completed 3 walnut end tables with Koa inlays. This is my own design within the limits of size set by my customer. the proportions are not 'golden', but I think they work pretty well. I wanted the 'floating top' look, with the legs proud of the top surface. This is the first time I have done inlays with the American Eagle router inlay kit and I am very happy with the result. It did take some practice though.

I have approximately 75 manhours in the tables. I have edited 31 pictures of the creative process, from flat S2S and rough 3X stock through finish and final assembly. I would be happy to share them, but being new to the forum don't know if you all would be interested or if the forum allows that many images.

Images-
1. Flat Stock
2. Leg Mock-up
3. Aprons and Legs
4. Corner Detail
5. Tables

I welcome any comments and/or criticisms. I have been working in wood since I was 9 years old and don't feel I have ever produced a perfect piece. There's always more to learn and of course, errors and mistakes as I craft each piece.

I very much enjoy communicating with and learning from the woodworking community.

Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello again all,

Ok, here are a few more pics, and some of my thoughts and experiences with this project.

1. Here are the parts cut from flat and 3x stock. One comment, that 9 foot piece of 3x was over $200; I sure didn't want to mess a leg up as there was no extra. Overall, I think cabriole legs waste a lot of stock (see pic 10), but they are sure beautiful. BTW, I plan to turn large double ended knitting needles from most of the cutoffs so they're not really wasted.

2. I set up a 1/2" bit on my drill press, used a stop block and spacer, and did multiple bores to make the mortises. A buddy told me I should have chucked up a router bit in the press and eliminated the chisel cleanup. Good advice. I have tried lots of different ways to create mortises and still don't have a favorite.

3. Here is the initial layout of the legs. Naturally, I changed the design after the first layout, actually going thru 4 or 5 leg and foot designs. Even with a mockup process, I can see changes that need to be made during construction. I like to think of it as the 'art' part of woodworking, how the thing looks and feels is an ongoing discovery.

4. Here are the mortised legs and tenoned aprons. I used a 1 1/4" Forstner bit to make the raised elements on the aprons. I could have used a router template for that process also, but wanted to experiment with stops and setups on my new drill press table.

5. and 6. are quick looks at bandsawing the legs; taping the cutoffs back on, and rotating the stock 90 degrees.

7. This pic shows how much of the 3x stock gets cut away to create the leg. I have read articles that suggest that the curved shape of a cabriole leg should be more pronounced, but I like a straighter leg; it just fits my eye.

8. Here are all the parts cut out and shaped. Shaping, filing, and sanding 12 cabriole legs is LOTS of work, even with a simple foot. Tenons were cut with a dado blade and hand trimmed to fit the rounded ends of the mortises.

9. First Pre-fit! I felt a real sense of satisfaction when I could see the shape of the table come together. I pretty much designed these tables 'on the fly'. My direction from the customer was "Please make them this big, and use a dark wood". So I had some freedom to experiment with techniques for the legs, corners, tops, and inlays.

10. Here is the workup of the template for the tops. I couldn't get this even started until the pre-fit stage. I knew what I wanted, but had no idea of any measurements. I knew I didn't want a straight lines, so there was some time used in experimenting with creating different arcs on the sides and ends. I used the two-stick, three-pin method to create the arcs. Here is where I ran into the limitation of size set by the customer. She was very specific about where and how they were going to fit in her living room. (A matching coffee table is in the design stage now).

Any way, that's enuff for tonite. Let me know what you think. More to follow.

Max
 

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Again, just a great effort Max...

and thanks for the inspiration. I've got a piece of spalted maple I glued up well over a year ago, just waiting for an idea. I think you just may have provided it. I really like the floating top concept.. very cool!!!

bill
 

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That is some beautiful work, Max. Welcome to the forums and, YES, we love pictures of projects. Especially ones as nice as yours.

DITTO!! I would suggest that you ask Mark for a "gallery". He'll get that setup for you and can post as many pics as you want without worries. This way, they won't get lost. It does happen.:fie:
 

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Sweet job on the tables, and welcome to the forum. This might sound strange, but I am a framer at heart, despite the other work I do... I really like that center photo of the components all lied up. Sometimes on a large framing job the sunlight shines through creating contrasting shadow lines on the rows of neatly framed lumber, I live for it, (well not really, but close). Your photo is very reminiscent of that with those rows of finely crafted custom parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you all for the compliments and comments. I'll try to finish up this thread tonite.

1. a shot of the table top template mounted to the bottom of the top with 2 short screws. The top was trimmed close on the band saw then cut to size with a top bearing pattern router bit. After removing the template, that was followed with a bottom bearing 5/16" round over bit on top and bottom. This left a slight flat on the edge rather than a bullnose shape.

2. A shot of my shop made oval template, the mortise, and the Koa inlay. I cut the template from 1/4" plywood on the bandsaw, then filled the entry kerf with hotmelt glue. A little filing and sanding left a smooth edge for the bit bearing guide to follow. I have an entire box full of templates that I have created over the years. I always expect to use them more than once, but somehow that doesn't happen.

3. The top with the inlay installed, ready for scraping and sanding. I installed the inlay prior to shaping the tops so I could be sure the inlay was centered in the finished top. Much easier to center the template with square edges.

4. Here is the top being prefit after the inlay installation and edge shaping. I was really starting to like the design at this point. What you don't see is all the filing, scraping, and tons of sanding that went into the tables at this stage. To me this is the most tiring part of woodworking, and where I seem to find the most dissatisfaction with the process. I can always find areas where I think I could have done better. As I previously noted in my introduction, I don't think I have ever produced a perfect piece. My wife says I'm too 'picky', but when I look at the real Masters work (Krenov, Frid, et al), I don't see the imperfections that I see in my own work......oh well, at least I enjoy what I do..

5. I use shellac for the base coat. It dries fairly fast in our wet climate, and the colors start to show. Also, it sands very quickly in prep for the next coat. Of course, a good tack rag is a must.

6. Then I proceed with 2 thin coats of gloss polyurethane, thinned 10%, and I add a touch of Japan drier to speed up the cure. I use auto bodyshop paint filters to limit the amount of crud in the finish. Everything slows down at this stage cause I don't have a spray booth and other shop work comes to a standstill while the parts dry. And then there's the 'turn the part over and spray the other side and wait for that to dry' process. I took this shot while the finish was still very wet. Oh yeah, and also the 320 grit quick pass and tack between coats. Lots of time in this process.

7. A shot of my HVLP gun, on its slapped-together regulator/filter stand. Note my bench and table saw covered with 36" paper. Saves lots of cleanup. I have found that I can leave mixed finish in the gun overnight without problems. I find a that a thorough cleanup of the gun is a necessity after each use; it really saves the equipment. Rinse all parts with thinner followed by lacquer thinner and blow dry. Poly has the tendency to collect in all the nooks and crannies and pretty soon none of the adjustments or seals work.

8. Here is a pic of the clip I use to attach table tops. I make a mortise in the back side of the apron, then drill and countersink L shaped clips. Note the direction of the grain; wouldn't want them to split. I try to not overdrive the screw since the purpose is to allow wood movement due to moisture changes over the year, but it needs to be tight enough to securely hold the top. Also, the length of the screw is critical. Early in my career, I discovered this rule when I ruined a top with a long screw. Now it's my habit to double and triple check.

9 and 10. These are detail shots of the corners. I love the way the curves and straights come together over the spaces.

Thanks for your attention and I hope I haven't bored you with too many details. this is one of the first times I have taken the time to document my creative processes. If you have any questions about any of this feel free to ask.

Since this is a router forum, I should say that I own 7 routers and use at least one of them on nearly every project. I use a Rockler dovetail jig for craft boxes, make router templates for everything from fishing pole racks to serving trays, make dadoes, doors, and do lots of edge shaping. Over the years I have used (and used up) a couple hundred bits. I think a router is one of the most versatile tools available to woodworkers. I still have the first one I bought; a $25 Black and Decker plastic bodied cheapo. But, it still works and has one feature I dearly love; when you set it down on its top, it shuts itself off.

this has been fun!

best to all of you, BE SAFE!

Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In reading my last post, I discovered that I neglected to say that the final coat of finish is semi-gloss polyurethane. I will wait a week and hand rub the nibs out of that coat. Here is a shot of the tables taken in the early morning during a rare ray of sunshine......note the shadows.

Max
 

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That is first class work, I love walnut. Well done, very well done. I would like to comend you on the finish. Finishing is an ares I love, it brings a excellant build over the top. Pleas post more of your projects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Jerry,

I've requested a gallery space to post some of my work. I agree with you about finishing. i have experimented with tons of different finishes, from Watco oil thru lacquer to autobody catalyzed polyurethane. I try to decide on the finish before I even start a project; the 'look and feel' I expect. The finish usually determines which methods of work I will use.
 
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