Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vineyard Table, Part 2

 But he stays by the window, remembering that life.  They had laughed.  
They had leaned on each other and laughed until the tears had come,
while everything else--the cold and where he'd go in it--was outside,
for awhile anyway.

Raymond Carver,  Distance, fr. Where I'm Calling From

Big mortises and big tenons on this table but that's fine.  I like to make the mortises with my hollow chisel mortiser, a big Powermatic that works like a dream, and I cut the tenons, usually, on the table saw.  I define the shoulders on the table saw first, and then cut the cheeks either on the band saw or the table saw.

For a big mortise like this one, I drilled it out first with a 3/8 drill (the mortise is 1/2) and then chopped it out.  It really makes it easier on the bit, esp. with white oak or maple. 

To square up the chisel, I put it in the chuck loose and then just back the table into the bit and put on a little pressure.  This squares it to the face of the piece

Above you can see the shoulders defined and below I'm getting ready to cut the cheeks.  I cut the shoulders a touch deep, which makes cutting the cheeks a little easier because you don't have to get right into the corner, and it gives squeeze out a place to gather.

I like this tenon cutting method, very accurate and it give a nice finish.  The key is to have all the stock the same thickness.  Otherwise all the cuts will be off.  Norm Abram used his all the time.  I miss that guy, gut and all.  He really put on a good show and made some nice furniture.  The new guy, well...

 Note to self.

Here are the legs going into the feet.  I try not to speak in absolutes and there are many ways to do most things in woodworking, but three absolutes right here.  One, all stock the same thickness.  Two, cut the mortises first, then fit the tenons to them.  ( I just remembered why I used the table saw.  These are big tenons and I had to creep up to a firm fit, and a band saw would deflect whereas a table saw blade won't, so you can in essence shave wood off.  Also, when you are trimming, try cutting one side only, then check the fit.  Because if you flip the piece and cut twice, you may end up a little thin.) Three, leave the parts square as long as you can.  I'm gonna pretty much have this table built before I start shaping.  It's easier to hold, measure, easier to see errors, just easier.

Above you can see the progress so far.  I'm ahead of this stage, more posts to come.


  1. Sweet shop, dude! Glad that you read Carver, I discovered him over 30 years ago, boy, that makes me feel old. Great post with good advice on mortise and tenon, look forward to more posts.


  2. Wilson, when I was in college, I read Carver all the time, really spoke to me. I still do, and he still does. He really excells at less is more. Flannery O'Conner is another favorite, but my two favorites are Bobbie Ann Mason and Carver. I really like Shiloh by Mason, the metaphor of the battlefield. So many good authors. And thanks on the shop,

  3. Ooh la la, it is starting to look like something nice. I can't wait for more photos.