Cutting Back And Hardening

To accord with the fairly robust use for which this table is designed, I chose a danish oil finish - not so much because it is tough but more because it is renewable! After carefully checking for glue marks, I hand-sand everything down to 320 grit.

Then I follow my normal practice of a liberally applied first coat of oil, renewed every hour or so for a day, until the wood really will take no more.

At this point I remove all surplus oil, to prevent any build up on the surface, and leave it to harden in a warm, dry place for 24 hours. This surface is then cut back by hand with 320 grit, followed by a light coat of oil every 24 hours for a week, cutting back between coats with a Scotchbrite grey pad. I allow ten days for final hardening before putting the table to good use. The surface has been renewed several times since it was finished by cutting the surface right back with a Scotchbrite grey pad, and applying a further light coat of danish oil. This method works well as long as the surface is well cut back to ensure no build up of oil.

To give the new coat plenty of time to harden before use, I usually do this just before we are going away for a few days. Minor improvement between renewals can be made with a very light coat of linseed or teak oil. Cutting back with the grey pad before each application of oil prevents a 'syrupy' look developing - and often the grey pad treatment is enough with no further oil of any sort.

Making contrasts

How to make a fumed oak and sycamore side table

I MADE THIS side table to complement the corner cupboard and seven-drawer chest - also in fumed oak and sycamore - that are also featured in this book. They are all in my study and serve both as display pieces and useful articles of furniture - the side table holds my collection of magazines for easy reference!

Design

As usual when making furniture for our own use I try to incorporate something new, unusual, difficult, or experimental - for me! So I put the tenon for the front and back stretchers on the curve of the leg, instead of the much easier straight part, made the top out of a mixture of fumed and un-fumed wood, and put contrasting inlays on the front and back top frame.

I drew it up several times, and, once I was sure I wasn't just being bloody minded and the table looked right, I decided to go ahead.

Timber selection

The oak and sycamore was selected from the same batch as the seven-drawer chest, with the exception of the thicker stuff for the legs which came from some 38mm (IMin) French oak left from a previous job. All the timber was cut oversize and put in my conditioning cabinet for three weeks - the top, in particular, would need some final conditioning at a later stage.

The top is made up from three pieces of sycamore, and two of oak, which are later fumed. As no adjustments can be made after fuming the oak, the top is made up and finished dry, using loose tongues - or biscuits -and clamps to locate the pieces. The top edges are rounded over to a 6mm (%m) radius. Still dry and in the clamps, the top is finally sanded and placed in room temperature to adjust to the conditions.

Legs

The oak for the legs is faced and thicknessed to 31mm (l^in), a hardboard template is made of the shape of the leg, and the legs marked out. They are then cut out carefully on the band-saw and finished with a plane, spokeshave, and scraper.

The mortices are cut 13mm (MinJ deep for the top frame, as are the mortices for the side stretchers. The mortices for the front and back stretchers are cut 19mm (%in) deep at the top to allow for the loss of depth above left: Using contrasting timbers can make for some interesting variations

DECORATION

ABOVE! Close-up of the inlay details

The inlays are made from 6mm (14in) thick oak and fumed overnight in a biscuit tin after all adjustments have been made.This means that the front face cannot be planed to get a flush fit -only the lightest sanding is feasible.

Mark around the diamond shapes with a scalpel, held at an angle, to slightly under-cut them.The sides of the inlays are very slightly tapered towards the base to help with this under-cutting,

The majority of the recess waste for the diamond shapes can be removed with a router set to exactly the inlay thickness so that the inlay is flush with the surface when fitted.The recess is chiselled out accurately to the edge, locating the chisel in the scored mark left by the scalpel.

The line inlay recesses are cut with the router using a 6mm (!4in) straight cutter and the inlay pieces rounded at the ends with a sanding block.

The fit of all the inlays should be checked on the recesses and the taper of the sides adjusted, where necessary, to help them to locate and give an easy start to driving them home. I left them a fraction oversize as the oak, being harder, would compress the sycamore to give a tight fit.

PVA glue is applied just below the top edge of the recesses - to avoid a glue line, a wooden block is placed over the inlays, then they are driven home with a mallet, flush to the surface, and left to set. Once set, they are lightly sanded flush where necessary.

above: Marking inlay with a scalpel

above: The top in the curve, see main diagram. To do this, I used the fence of the morticer on my planer on the straight part of the leg as a reference.

The underside edges of the foot of the legs are rounded over to a 6mm (%'m) radius to prevent breakout, and allow easy sliding on a carpet. The legs and two centre pieces of the top are then put through a process called fuming. After fuming, the two centre pieces of the top are replaced in the clamps, in room temperature.

above: The top in the curve, see main diagram. To do this, I used the fence of the morticer on my planer on the straight part of the leg as a reference.

The underside edges of the foot of the legs are rounded over to a 6mm (%'m) radius to prevent breakout, and allow easy sliding on a carpet. The legs and two centre pieces of the top are then put through a process called fuming. After fuming, the two centre pieces of the top are replaced in the clamps, in room temperature.

BELOW: Fig I Marking the curve

Stretchers

The sycamore for the stretchers are faced and thicknessed to 16mm (%in) and the side stretchers are cut to length and width. Straightforward tenons are cut 13mm ('Ain) long to fit the mortices on the legs.

The front and rear stretchers are cut to size, allowing the extra length for the curve of the legs. The tenons were initially cut 13mm (Min) deep and offered up to the mortices in the legs. They fitted at the top but not at the bottom, of course, because of the curve

BELOW: Fig I Marking the curve

Table leg

Pencil

Stretcher rail

Table leg

Pencil

Stretcher rail

Biscuits

* Slots for biscuits

Groove for buttons

* Mortice

Buttons

Curved shoulder on tenon •

Stretcher rails of the leg. Setting the stretcher square to the leg, I used a pencil in a suitably sized washer to trace the curve of the leg on to the shoulder of the tenon, see Fig 1. The shoulders were then finished to the line with a paring chisel, the tenons completed, and checked for fit.

The top and bottom edges of all the stretchers are rounded over to a 6mm (%'m) radius, to soften them.

Top frame

The top frame pieces are faced and thicknessed to 19mm (%in) and cut to length and width. 13mm ('Ain) tenons are cut on the ends to fit the mortices at the top of the legs. A 6mm by 6mm (^in by ^in) slot 13mm (Kin) down from the top edge is cut in all four pieces to take the buttons which will be used to fix the top.

The buttons are made of scraps of oak and sycamore - when fitted, the top of the button is slightly below the top of the frame so that the top can be pulled down on to it by the screws.

Holes are drilled in the button using a combined tapered drill and countersink.

below right: Buttons in place -an alternative method is the expansion plate

SUPPLIERS

Combined countersink and drill set - Craft Supplies Ltd,The Mill, Millers Dale, Nr Buxton, Derby SK17 8SN Tel: 01298 871636

SUPPLIERS

Combined countersink and drill set - Craft Supplies Ltd,The Mill, Millers Dale, Nr Buxton, Derby SK17 8SN Tel: 01298 871636

Assembly

The top is glued-up, checking all the levels, joints and edges carefully, making adjustments only to the sycamore. It is then left to set.

The front and back top frame pieces and the front and back stretchers are fitted to the legs, glued, clamped, checked for square, and left to set.

The sides of the top frame and side stretchers are then glued and clamped, forming the pedestal. This should be checked for square and level and left to set. I have a 1220mm by 1220mm (4ft by 4ft) piece of MDF on the floor of my workshop, which is flat and set level, two coats of wax, which were buffed to a gentle sheen. The result was good, darkening the oak nicely - the slight yellowing effect on the sycamore was quite pleasing, softening the contrast a little.

Conclusion

Making this piece was interesting and proved to be good training. I felt that it worked nicely and would also work well without the contrasting timbers or the inlays. I also felt, once it was finished, that the front and back stretchers would have looked better in the higher position on the straight part of the leg - which would be much simpler to make! ■

below left: Drilling the buttons with a combination drill and countersink below right: Buttons in place -an alternative method is the expansion plate for standing such pieces on while they set true - hopefully!

The top is then fitted using the buttons to allow for the inevitable future movement.

Finishing

The whole piece should be checked carefully for glue ooze, marks and blemishes, then hand sanded with 320 grit.

I usually finish fumed oak with oil to deepen the colour, and sycamore with acrylic varnish to preserve its pale hue. However, as several pieces of the table could not be finished until after assembly, I decided to give it several light coats of oil, then

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Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.

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