Black Locust Wall Table, Part II: Putting it Together

In Part I – Visualizing in Wood, I selected and prepared the table components.  Part II – Putting it Together covers everything else – joinery, sculpting, and assembly.

To facilitate laying out and cutting the long tusk tenon, I first flattened one face of the upright.  I used three round, wooden bench dogs to immobilize the oddly shaped piece.

I then cut the tenon cheeks, minding my layout lines.  I found that my wooden twin-screw vise really had a hard time keeping the piece secure while sawing the cheeks – one of the few times where it would have been clearly outperformed by my Tucker Patternmaker’s Vise.  (Since I built my joinery bench 8 months ago, I have been using this new wooden twin-screw vise instead of my Tucker to see how it really compares.)

After completing the cheek cuts, I cleaned up the sawn surfaces.  These tenons were not abnormally large compared to what my shop normally sees.

Two more sets of cuts established four tenon shoulders.

I couldn’t think of an easy way to cut the angled mortises by machine so I chopped them by hand.  For this task, my 2-lb deadblow mallet was definitely a better choice than my usual 16-oz round carver’s mallet.

I used my largest mortising chisel, which was 1/2″ wide, to cut two parallel mortises before removing the centre section.

I inserted the tusk tenon through the table top to check my work.  (Note the reflection off the surface of the table top.)

Next, I chopped a tapered mortise in the upright for the wedge.  The mortise started a little lower than the table top to ensure that the wedge pulled it tightly against the tenon’s shoulders.

I cut the taper on the wedge and drove it in to test the fit.  Cutting it to length was the last step after all other tuning was complete.

I sculpted the table top and upright with my angle grinder outfitted with an Arbortech wheel and refined the surfaces with my rasps and random orbit sander.

I cut the wedge to length, pillowed the ends of the wedge and tenon, and eased all the edges with sandpaper.

Next in Part III, I explore different methods of mounting the table to a wall.

6 thoughts on “Black Locust Wall Table, Part II: Putting it Together

  1. Looks great chris! You said you were having problems with the twin screw vice holding your work. Im curious if the front jaw is cambered? I know that Alan Turner and Mario Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop made a twin screw moxon vise that had a write up by Megan Fitzpatrik in Pop wood. They put a slight camber on the moveable jaw to increase the clamping pressure.

    Im very intereated to see how you mount it to the wall!

    1. Hi Brian,

      The front jaw is crowned to allow even clamping pressure even at the middle of the jaw. Upon further thought, I believe the issue is the slick nature of the wood. Adding some leather or another non-slip material would help.


  2. Hey Chris, I think the table looks fantastic. I do have a design thought though.

    It seems to me that you have the wedge in the tenon backwards….and here’s why.

    This is all based on what I see and think, so…….with the wedge in the way you have it, you will have to mount the entire assembly to the wall with it all assembled. Or am I seeing it wrong? if you reverse the wedge, you could mount the tusk to the wall, slide the table top over the tenon, then insert the wedge from the front and have it still be removable for when it is not needed. Just my thoughts. But keep up the creating!!

    On a second look it seems maybe the angle of the tusk will leave enough room for the sedge to be inserted from the rear of the mortise? Carry on Garth!!

    1. Orea,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I have also been pondering which way to orient the wedge.

      You are correct in that it cannot be removed or installed once the upright is mounted on the wall. It is also difficult to tighten the wedge mounted on a wall. By the way, it’s no trouble mounting this table on the wall when pre-assembled. A larger table, however, might be troublesome.

      The reason I chose to install the wedge that was was for aesthetics. I liked having the angle of the wedge mimic the angle of the table top and I don’t think that it would look as good running in reverse (I will try that though). I could also cut install the wedge sideways which I think would work visually.


  3. Chris, i do agree on both accounts that the wedge as is configured looks better aesthetically, and that sideways would look well also. After seeing your video in part 3, I would leave it as is seeing how easily it mounts to the wall using the last method you showed. Well done!!

    1. Orea,

      Both you and I would be comfortable removing the table to tap the wedge in further, but I don’t think the average buyer would want to do that. I’ll work on a solution.


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