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.