Maple Trestle Table, Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL); and
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop at 11am sharp! Should I tackle this stretcher issue? #flairww -11:00 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I realized this morning that I’d made an error in laying out the angle of the legs. #flairww -11:23 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I had laid out the angle of the leg so that it would be centred at the bottom of the foot, not the top where it enters. #flairww -11:24 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks However, this means that the leg leans even more and does not make it any easier to join the stretcher. #flairww -11:25 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is turning into a mental challenge. Thankfully it does not involve numbers like @HalfInchShy’s project#flairww-11:27 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here, the centre of the leg where it enters the foot is centred over its position on the batten. #flairww -11:33 AM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I spent an hour on the phone with my partner @GarthTW2 discussing some new products we’re planning. Back to the table now. #flairww-12:31 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The shaded area represents the space that would be occupied by the wide end of the stretcher. #flairww -12:47 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The other end is much smaller and should not be a problem. #flairww -12:47 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Of course, I’ll cut tenons on the stretcher so that I don’t need to remove so much material from the leg. #flairww -12:48 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m confident that this angle for the legs will work so I’m going to go make the cut. Again, I’ll use my sliding table saw. #flairww -12:55 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m ready to make the cut. The slider guarantees the cuts will be in a straight line. #flairww -1:00 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the completed cut. I will cut the other end later. #flairww -1:01 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks While I’m thinking about what to do next for this leg, I’ll lay out and cut the angle of the other leg. #flairww -1:06 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks By the way, I’m making this table 43″ tall. #flairww -1:09 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks No I’m not. I’m making the table 29″ tall. I just wanted to see if anybody was paying attention. #flairww -1:10 PM May 2nd, 2012

LornaBourke @FlairWoodworks Chris, I’m following but I didn’t catch the start so I didn’t know how tall the table is #youarenotalone #flairww -1:15 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @LornaBourke Well, 43″ would be a very tall table. It would be unusual to say the least. Thanks for following! #flairww -1:17 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Both legs are now cut! #flairww -1:19 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I had left one part of the leg thicker to allow some sculpting, but it’s a problem now. #flairww -1:22 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks PS: Like my workbench? Working on the ground, Japanese-style. #flairww -1:22 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before planing the face, I wrapped the layout lines over to the edges to preserve them. #flairww -1:26 PM May 2nd, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks 29″ high is what my current dining table project is going to be also. -1:28 PM May 2nd, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks I spend half my time working on the ground! It saves picking stuff up.. ;-) -1:30 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t like it so far. #flairww RT @luggermatt:@FlairWoodworks I spend half my time working on the ground! It saves picking stuff up.. ;-) -1:32 PM May 2nd, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks When the timber you’re working with is 15ft lengths of 2″x8″ oak it’s easier. Move the machine to it too ;-) -1:32 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @luggermatt Well, yeah. -1:32 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks There – it’s leveled. Not my idea of fun… #flairww -1:42 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I need to re-establish my layout lines. #flairww -1:43 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m working on how to position the stretcher. Here, the midpoint of each end is at the same height. #flairww -1:59 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Note that about 10″ will be cut off of the left side. #flairww -1:59 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m standing back and having a drink of water while I analyze the stretcher’s positioning. Should I make one end higher? #flairww -2:00 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have longer and shorter levels but the 2′ level gets the most use. An 18″ level might be nice. #flairww -2:04 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve decided to go forwards with the balanced positioning of the stretcher. I used the level to mark plumb lines on each end. #flairww -2:05 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks If my shop were wide enough, I could crosscut the stretcher with my sliding table saw. #flairww -2:09 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Since my shop is not that wide, my options include my compound mitre saw, jigsaw, or handsaw. #flairww -2:09 PM May 2nd, 2012

BourbonCremeBot RT @FlairWoodworks I sure could use a Bourbon Creme about now #flairww -2:14 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m opting to use the jigsaw. I clamped a piece of plywood to the top of the stretcher. #flairww -2:21 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The plywood provides a smooth, even surface on which the jigsaw can ride without getting caught. #flairww -2:22 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The trouble with non-flat stock is that it always wants to move. You have to secure it really well. #flairww -2:23 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Well, that certainly wasn’t the best cut I’ve ever done. But it’s good enough since it will be trimmed later. #flairww -2:27 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks So… how do I cut parallel tenons on either end of a long, non-flat, curved, stretcher? #flairww -2:29 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I know I can figure out a way to cut the tenons, but if you have an idea, I’m listening! #flairww -2:30 PM May 2nd, 2012

msnodgrass2 @FlairWoodworks would snapping chalk lines help? I didn’t see the stretcher -2:33 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t think so. #flairww RT@msnodgrass2: @FlairWoodworks would snapping chalk lines help? I didn’t see the stretcher -2:34 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @msnodgrass2 It’s more the general wonkiness, rather than the curve that makes it difficult. #flairww -2:35 PM May 2nd, 2012

kring_l @FlairWoodworks long semi flexible strait edge for the face but not sure 4 the ends -2:36 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Would that make it semi-straight? #flairww RT @kring_l:@FlairWoodworks long semi flexible strait edge for the face but not sure 4 the ends -2:38 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The positioning of my saw horses indicates that my shop may be a little crowded. #flairww -2:39 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks My winding sticks show the twist in the stretcher from one end to the other. #flairww -2:43 PM May 2nd, 2012

kring_l @flairwoodworks no the edge stays strait the face can bow I use a 4 foot aluminum ruler type strait edge -2:45 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Gotcha. #flairww RT @kring_l: no the edge stays strait the face can bow I use a 4 foot aluminum ruler type strait edge -2:45 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I realized that the twist could help me if it twisted in the right direction. But it doesn’t. #flairww -2:49 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using the short fence on my table saw to crosscut parts for my tenoning jig to a consistent length. #flairww -2:59 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve marked the direction of grain runout on the jig parts. In this direction, the wood planes cleanly. #flairww -3:04 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I like to assemble my jigs with screws so I can later take them apart and reuse the parts. #flairww -3:19 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks (Have you ever seen an uglier jig?) #flairww -3:19 PM May 2nd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks That doesn’t look bad at all! Put a flair mark on it :) #flairww -3:23 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yuk yuk yuk! RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks That doesn’t look bad at all! Put a flair mark on it :) #flairww -3:23 PM May 2nd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks The one from the Ceros demo #flairww -3:24 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I jointed the edge of the jig square to the face. The jig is now done. #flairww -3:24 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy I don’t follow… #flairww -3:24 PM May 2nd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks In ur Ceros sanding demo, u made a flair mark to be sanded; add 2 here to make it moe betta (asymmetrical of course #flairww -3:25 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Good call. It looks much better now. #flairww -3:28 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the jig clamped to the stretcher, I now have parallel reference surfaces on each side. #flairww -3:29 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay – lunch time! #flairww -3:30 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Darn it… somebody tracked sawdust into the house again. Hey – don’t look at me! #flairww -3:33 PM May 2nd, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks my 24″ level sees the most time too. -4:33 PM May 2nd, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks mark 1 w/ a level. Go across w/ a straight edge, adjust height as desired & level the 2nd one. -4:40 PM May 2nd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Bet you could go for some Bourbon Cream right about now… #flairww -4:46 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop and I’ll set up to rout the first tenon. #Woodchat starts in 20 minutes. #flairww -5:40 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks There is no way I’ll be able to rout the full length of the tenons without a wider router baseplate. #flairww -5:45 PM May 2nd, 2012

bourboncreambot RT @HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Bet you could go for some Bourbon Cream right about now… #flairww -5:46 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Rather than make an offset router baseplate, I’m going to use a router attached to a table insert. #flairww -5:48 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks That’s right, @HalfInchShy – I don’t mess around! #flairww -5:48 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the jig set up and router bit installed. Next, I need to figure out how deep to set the bit. #flairww -5:56 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks How do these proportions look? When dealing with large tenons, I leave the tenon a bit thicker than 1/3. #flairww -6:01 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for #woodchat. Feel free to join in on Twitter! I’ll resume the project in one hour. #flairww -6:01 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ok, #woodchat crew. I need to go rout some tenons with my inverted router table. #flairww -6:59 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I did what I could with my routers (more router frustrations). I’ll do the rest by hand. #flairww -7:37 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks You want a challenge? Clamp this stretcher solidly! #flairww -8:00 PM May 2nd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll finish fine-tuning the first tenon after dinner. #flairww -8:05 PM May 2nd, 2012

Hey – the next day is “after dinner” too.

While you’re waiting for me to return from my dinner break, please leave a comment.

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