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This basic design is at house in settings each rustic and trendy.

PROJECT #2007 • Skill Level: Intermediate • Time: Four days • Cost: $500

My house is a 150-year-old farmhouse located in the midst of Cincinnati, Ohio. When it got here time to deal with the renovation of the eating room, we selected a eating desk that match the interval and aesthetic of our house. As I began to analysis mid-19th-century eating tables, I got here throughout an public sale website with a pine Swedish trestle desk with a method that was nearly precisely what I used to be looking for.

The desk options two robust stretchers with tusk and tenon joinery. This allows the desk to be knocked down for transportation and assembled once more with out instruments. I additionally appreciated that the leg assemblies every have two legs that present further assist for an enormous tabletop (this stands in distinction to some trestle tables that use only one leg per meeting.) The unique was made out of pine, which might be the normal selection for a farmhouse desk, however I needed to make use of a home hardwood. Red oak is a favourite in our home due to its abundance (and low value).

After designing my desk in Sketchup, I headed to the lumberyard and picked up 130 bdft of 8/Four inventory that had been surfaced on three sides (S3S) with a remaining thickness of 13/4. I paid further for S3S lumber as a result of I needed the tabletop to make use of stable boards throughout the whole 80 size, and, in my one automotive store, this might have been an enormous process to mill every little thing down from tough. I overbought with plans to make a bench for one facet of the desk down the street.

Start with the highest

1. A gorgeous 17″-wide board is centered within the desk high. Working with a tabletop this measurement is difficult in a small store.

The tabletop is 40x80, far wider than many vintage trestle tables however a really comfy measurement for seating 8-10 individuals, particularly with the trestle type base which permits the whole size of the desk for use by company.

2. Planing down the leg inventory will create a 1/8″ reveal the place the legs meet the toes and cleats.

While on the lumberyard, I noticed one board that was a full 17 broad. It was beautiful and I needed that to be the centerpiece of the tabletop. With that board allotted for the middle of the tabletop, I ripped 4 smaller boards to flank both facet to reach on the 40 width. I used a mixture of my jointer and a handplane to create my glue joints.


3. Quartersawn materials will produce lovely toes and cleats that intensify the arc accent.

The leg assemblies have the benefit of being symmetrical in each route. The toes of the leg assemblies are similar to the cleats on the high of the legs and the mortises for the stretchers are centered on the leg.

4. Clamp your toes and cleats collectively in order that your mortise format is similar on every half.

I performed with this design fairly a bit and determined upon this model as a result of I loved the matching arcs on the high and backside of the meeting.

5. I set my drill press depth cease to a bit over 2″ in order that my 2″ tenon on the leg wouldn’t backside out and the glue would have someplace to build up.

Throughout this venture, I used as a lot quarter sawn materials as attainable in order that the loud grain patterns of Red Oak can be minimized. The leg materials, two items for every meeting, was planed right down to 11/2 thick in order that there can be a pleasant 1/8 reveal the place the legs meet the toes and cleats.

6. Once all of the mortises have been roughed out on the drill press, I squared the partitions up on the bench with a chisel. I discovered myself honing my edge steadily as I labored my method via the two″ wall.

Leave your leg inventory lengthy, the tenons on the high and backside of the legs are 2 every, so I tough minimize my legs to 28 and adjusted the size of the tenon after I completed dialing them in to suit the mortises. The tenons are to be minimize after the mortises are created within the toes.

Feet and Cleats

7. These mortises are deep. Strive for sq. however keep in mind that with this a lot floor space, there’s room for a bit deviation.

Each set of toes and cleats have been sourced from the identical board in order that they might have comparable shade and grain patterns. If you’ll be able to, select quatersawn elements of your inventory in order that the tops of the toes will characteristic lengthy straight strains.

8. Work out your sample on a bit of hardboard and minimize it out. Make a number of totally different variations and experiment.

The toes are minimize to their remaining dimension and the mortises are marked. I ganged the 4 elements collectively to format the two lengthy mortises.  I used a 5/8 Forstner bit to hog out the majority of the mortise materials on the drill press earlier than finishing the mortise on the bench with a chisel.

9. The countersunk slot is massive sufficient for the pinnacle of the bolt and the via slot is massive sufficient for the shaft of the bolt to slip freely.

I developed the form of the toes and cleats in sketchup and translated the drawing to a hardboard template as greatest I might by eye. The apex of the arch is 1/4 deep and the angles are about 10deg. This is your probability to play with angles and curves, take pleasure in!

10. The tenons have been minimize on the desk noticed with a dado stack. I established the cheeks first, matching them to their respective mortises. Sneak up in your match.

Once the form is translated to the toes and cleats, I minimize the form out on the bandsaw. The tough curve was then smoothed with a rasp and random orbit sander loaded with 80grit paper. Make positive you keep a pleasant step on the high of the curve in order that the arc has a termination level that’s sharp.

11. Epoxy with a quick hardener gave me peace of thoughts that these leg assemblies will reside a protracted wholesome life.

With the toes formed, they’re prepared for the countersunk slots that may home the 1/4-20 bolts that fasten the tabletop to the cleats. These slots will enable the bolts to slip laterally to accommodate seasonal motion.

12. The massive cheek was minimize on the bandsaw, simply an 1/8″ thick

Next, I began on the tenons of the legs. Because the mortises within the toes and cleats have been delivered to remaining measurement with a chisel, they differ in measurement simply barely, sufficient that I numbered every tenon to its respective mortise. The tenons have been minimize on the desk noticed with a dado stack.

13. The lengthy tenon is crosscut on the bench. There could also be some chisel work to sq. the shoulder all the way in which round, but it surely’s a joint that should look excellent.

The remaining mortising is within the middle of the leg that may enable the stretcher tenon to move via. The mortise right here is exclusive in that it isn’t a glue joint and should you measurement it 1/32 bigger than it must be, it’ll make meeting of the desk base simpler. The actual work on this joint is completed by the important thing that sits on the skin of the leg. Like the mortises already made within the toes and cleats, I used a Forstner bit to hog out a lot of the materials after which squared up the mortise on the bench.

14. Mark the tenon the place it exits the leg. This will function a reference level when figuring out the place the mortise for the important thing will begin.

With all the joinery full on the leg meeting, its time for glue-up. I elected to make use of epoxy for these joints. I felt that there was simply sufficient roughness contained in the joinery of the toes and cleats that the gap-filling nature of epoxy gave me a bit of thoughts for longevity. The temperature in my store is maintained round 60°, so I used a 5:1 epoxy with quick hardener. Even with the quick hardener, I discovered that that the epoxy nonetheless took over 24 hours to treatment to the contact in a few knotholes in my tabletop. Depending on the temperature the place you’re working, you might select to make use of a slower hardener.


15. I used a 3/8″ chisel to make the three″ deep mortise for the important thing that sits on the skin of the leg.

The stretchers that join the leg assemblies are one of many largest showpieces of this desk. They are lengthy, broad faces that can be seen usually. I chosen a few of my nicest materials with straight grain for these. First, I ripped them to five1/2 broad and crosscut to 62 lengthy. Then I marked out 46 representing the space between the leg assemblies, simply be sure to have at the least a further 7 on both finish to account for the tenons.

16. Create a hardboard template that may mean you can switch the form to every of the 4 tenons. This is a spot to experiment and refine your imaginative and prescient for the uncovered tenon.

For the tenons, I needed a extremely clear line produced by a full shoulder on all 4 sides of the stretcher the place it meets the leg assemblies, so I took simply an 1/8 off the broad cheek to determine that line however left the tenon as thick as attainable, one thing that may come in useful when reducing the mortise for the important thing. The tenon is 3 tall for its total size.

17. I tough out the form with a jigsaw and completed it with a random orbit sander.

Once the tenon is delivered to its tough type, you’ll be able to assemble the whole base, step again and take a look at how the entire thing is taking a look at this level. Take a deep breath earlier than diving in and ending up the bottom meeting. Mark the tenon the place it exits the legs as a way to format the mortise that may settle for the important thing for the stretcher joinery.

18. The keys are marked in order that they are often minimize to the identical reveal above and beneath the tenon. Depending on how the chopping of the mortise goes, every key might sit in another way in every mortise.

The mortise that may home the important thing for the tusk and tenon joinery is crucial to the steadiness of the desk, however truly sort of laborious to mess up. I’ve discovered that all the tweaking occurs in the important thing that matches into the mortise. And in contrast to many different mortise and tenon conditions, the tenon isn’t half of a bigger a part of the desk. The secret’s a small, simply replicated half that may be simply tweaked till it’s excellent.

I chopped the mortises within the tenon by hand with a 3/8 chisel. This was sluggish going via 3 of crimson oak however there’s simply no different method to do it. The finish of the two mortise that’s in direction of the tip of the stretcher receives a 5° angle minimize via the total depth of the mortise.

With the mortise minimize, I marked out the ultimate form of the tenon. I experimented with this form quite a bit and derived a whole lot of inspiration from the vintage I had discovered on-line. The high of the tenon receives a protracted curve and the underside creates a singular radius that exposes the important thing in a enjoyable method. I created a hardboard template to switch the form to all 4 of the tenons persistently.

The remaining piece is the important thing that matches the mortise. I chosen some quartersawn materials, planed it to 3/8 thick and ripped it to suit the two mortise. The 5° angle was created with a hand aircraft and the perimeters have been chamfered by rasp. Once the important thing match into the mortise, I marked the highest of the tenon in order that I might minimize every key in order that they’d all reveal the identical quantity above and beneath the mortise.

Finishing Red Oak

19. I utilized two coats of shellac to the whole venture. I used a blonde shellac at a 1 pound minimize.

Over the years, I’ve developed a formulation for ending crimson oak that matches my household’s wants. In our farmhouse, we now have very previous pine flooring which have been most lately completed with medium-red stain earlier than polyurethane. We needed to hold that crimson into this desk to make it really feel prefer it match with the home. After a whole lot of experimentation with dye and off the shelf stain, I settled on a minwax oil-based stain called Red Chestnut.

20. I sanded again the shellac in order that the latewood of the crimson oak would take up extra of the stain.

I gave each a part of the venture two coats of shellac after which sanded it right down to function a grain filler. The secret’s ready till the shellac is totally cured. I used to be impatient with a few elements and had unsatisfactory outcomes. But the areas that I waited a full day to treatment turned out nice.

After the shellac, I utilized two coats of the stain and let it dry for a full day. Once I used to be assured every little thing was dry, I utilized two coats of oil-based polyurethane to every little thing after which a 3rd coat on the desk high to make sure sturdiness.

My hope is that over time, the oil-based end will proceed to amber. And within the midst of my rising household, this desk will take a beating and add invaluable character that I’ll treasure lengthy after the youngsters have flown the coop.

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