The two major projects in this issue — the oak table and chair — have opposite problems. The table is quite easy to build, but requires a lot of wood. The chair on the other hand doesn't require much wood, but does involve some rather precise joinery.
These are the two 'not enough' problems we all face in woodworking: not enough money to buy the wood, and not enough time to do the joinery. But in the case of these two projects, neither of these problems is as big as it seems.
The total cost for the oak we used to build the table was $70. This figure is based on a cost of $2.40 per board foot for FAS red oak — the price we paid at a local hardwood lumber yard.
Just for comparison, clear Ponderosa Pine costs about $2.80 per board foot, bringing the total cost of the table to about $80. (Of course, these prices will vary across the country, but some hardwoods are actually cheaper than clear pine.)
Now we get to the matter of joinery. We chose mortise and tenon joinery for both of these projects. The beauty of this joint is obvious on the chair, and this is one of the reasons we chose it.
Apart from beauty, it does take quite a bit of time to cut all of these M & T joints (especially on the chair). And, it's quite a challenge to get them to fit properly. But that, to me, is the best part of woodworking — taking the time to meet a challenge. And in this case, it's really, worth it.
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