Toboggan Table and a Dresser Drawer Face Table

8tboggI have been busy today, the shutter table needs constant sanding and cleaning and lacquer spraying.  Between coats I have been working on three other projects. I finally out the base for the toboggan table together and I made a new table out of drawer fronts and a desk insert.  First the Toboggan. I had planned on using a pair of these 3 sided legs , but I like the way it looks with just one. To keep that shape I had to toenail 6 screws and install a mending plate.  Jess is concerned that people will think it is a bench because it is so low. It is not a bench and I don’t know if the legs could support the weight of a person. I will reinforce it some more.drawer front table I have been playing with drawer fronts too. We made a table at work this weekend. We are putting in a repurposing idea center. One of the things we will be doing is using old drawers as shelves I made a prototype shelf out of an oak drawer today. I also made a table. I had intended on leaving the Knobs on but I like the lines of the piece without them. I took out the knobs, sanded the pieces, installed dowels in the knob holes, sanded again, and then arranged the two planks on the top of an old desk insert. Joinery will happen tomorrow and then I should have that table into the shop by Monday.  I have been fixing a chair for my sister-in-law for months now and I am in the end stage of that project too.

The Mystery of Clamping Wood

Using a jack post as a veneer press

Using a jack post as a veneer press

As a woodworker you can never have too many clamps. I have bar clamps, right angle clamps, bench dogs, and vices.  Working with large pieces of wood that need even pressure to maintain proper contact and adhesion can be a challenge, and I often have to improvise. I have used plate weights to keep objects in place,experimented with DIY vacuum clamps and  turned a 3′ jack post into a veneer press. A jack post can exert lots of pressure so it isn’t very every job.To use it I screwed a top plate into the ceiling and made a stand  out of scrap wood and a milk crate on the workbench. Then I glue my piece, cover the surface in wax paper and then clamp a piece of wood to the project. The jack post can dent your project so this step is crucial. Without the wax paper the project can adhere to your scrap wood and things get messy. Place the jack post between the project and the ceiling and then tighten the threaded jack screw. Don’t overtighten, but make sure it’s snug.  I have used this several times and I now have a dedicated jack post workstation. I install the post Jack screw end down so I don’t have to stand on a ladder to work on my projects.

taped exterior joining two pieces cut at a  30 Degree angle

taped exterior joining two pieces cut at a 30 Degree angle

Another difficult task is glueing odd angles. I had to join two 30 degree angles the other day and it took me a long time to get it right. I would glue the pieces, attempt to clamp and then end up washing the glue off with denatured alcohol and starting again. I ended up ripping the heads off of several wire nails and pinning the pieces together, securing the angle with tape, blocking interior and exterior angles with wood and applying vertical pressure with plate weights.  I don’t know if that will hold over the long term but the glue will be reinforced with screws so hopefully this will work. If not, I need to make a jig to clamp these angles because I see a lot of trapezoids in my future and I want nice joints.

#9 Ready to Go

Table # 9

Mosaic Scrap wood table$125.00

Table # 9 is drying under a fan and will go to the Furniture Barn in the morning. It may need a buffing first but I will do that before I take it in. I also have to add some felt feet. It’s a wee bit shorter than I planned. It stands 16 1/2″ tall but that is because I used the cedar base that i had originally constructed for the toboggan table.  The top is  a rectangle measuring 22″ X 18 1/2″ and about 1 1/2″ thick. I trimmed out the edges on this one and it looks a lot more polished that way. I went darker with the stain than I intended. I did 1 coat of a stain called fruitwood and 2 of black walnut. I finished it off with 3 coats of spray lacquer, sanding to 400 between coats.  I will be selling this table for $125.00.

Shutter table by Brighid

Shutter & flooring table

The shutter table is also almost complete. It still needs lacquer but the top is attached and the last coat of stain was just applied. the shutters were multicolored and beat up when I started and I tried to preserve that a little. The top is made from old table base

The mystery of the toboggan table base may be solved. I cut small saw horses to see if the concept worked and then cut out bigger pieces to test and make sure that the legs don’t flair too much. So far so good. I am going to try to glue up the legs tomorrow.

Two Tables from the Past

I am still feverishly working on finishing tables 9 10 and 11. I added some trim to the shutter table and I should be able to apply poly tonight. It has been super humid lately and everything is taking longer to dry.  The scrap-wood end table has legs now and needs a good sanding and I hope to poly or lacquer that tonight as well. I am still playing around with the toboggan table too. I stained it and it looks cool. Since I have no new pictures I thought I would share a few more tables from the past.

Scrap-wood Sofa TableThis is a sofa table that i made this winter. i brought it into the Furniture Barn in February and it sold a few hours later. This is the first table that I incorporated painted pieces into the scrap wood design and I really liked it. The base came from my aunt and uncle. It was held together with very small finishing nails so I reinforced it with dowels.  Barn Board Coffee tableThe next picture is is a coffee table that I made sometime in the fall of 2012. I wasn’t happy with it and I had to fill a lot of gaps after construction. In fact making this table changed the way way I dry fit and construct the scrap-wood mosaic tables.   I brought it in the store in May. It sold at the end of May so now it has a good home and I don’t have to look at it anymore.

Shutter Table with Cedar Plank Top

shutterflorncI have been playing musical table bases for the past few days. The base  intended for the toboggan doesn’t look right so I made a new one. The toboggan base  needs to be narrow because I only have  so many sled slats. The base originally envisioned for the toboggan table is now being used with the scrap wood end table.  I had played with the idea of using the shutter pedestal as the base for the scrap wood puzzle table, but it didn’t work for me. I had an 8′ section of tongue and shutterfloorgroove cedar flooring so I cut them, and glued them up. and then sanded it into,  a simple plank top. I am really trying to keep the area under the table accessible for storage. In order to make that happen   I took off the shutter and planed the top and bottom so it swings freely. It is pretty humid today in Vermont so if it swings okay now I am confident it will work well no matter the moisture level.  The shutters stay in position with wood cleats and metal brackets., and so does the top.  I have  to attach the knob to the door and  do a coat of lacquer or poly and then this table is ready for sale.   This shutter table is available for sale in my etsy store.

My first tables

Yin Yang Table

Yin Yang table

Meet table # 1. I made this in 2011. I had never made a table before. I had made plenty of shelves and other assorted things but I really wanted to try to make a table.   I cut the yin and yang symbol out of redheart and I think maple? The pieces were only 1/4″ thick and the frame was 3/4″ so I had to shim to make the surface  even and flat. I used a plywood rectangle with a circle cut out to create an inlay effect.  This picture shows it’s first incarnation. In this picture you see the legs as I originally envisioned them.  I cut  to  two cedar posts as legs and used lag screws to fasten them to the table top. I wanted the table to have a  industrial and organic look  and a minimalist appearance. The legs looked cool but  weren’t very stable and  did not provide a lot of support. To correct the stability issues  I had to attach rectangle feet onto the base. I attached the feet with 1″ in diameter closet bars. and glue.  #1 sold in December of 2011.

table 3 first scrapwood mosaic

table 3 first scrap wood mosaic

Table number 3 was made in 2012. I had a lot of leftover cut pieces. I hate wasting wood but keeping so much cull can be overwhelming and messy. I needed a project to  reduce the size of the scrap pile. I took a piece of plywood and dry fit a frame. I then arranged some pieces in a mosaic pattern.  Then I glues and naiedl the pieces to the base piece of plywood.  I built a frame to mount the table and used dowels to attach scrap poplar as legs. I finished it off with a jacobean stain and a few coats of poly. That table sold in the fall of 2012

So this arrived today. . .


Ice box

My dad bought a dining room set at camelot village, where I work, and came to Bennington today to pick it up.  Since he was renting a truck he loaded it up with a few new projects for me to work on.  He brought me three pieces. There is an old stereo cabinet that needs a complete overhaul. It’s cool I will take pictures of it this week. I also have a china cabinet and a 1910 Crossley porcelain ice box. The ice box needs a little love, but I think it will be very interesting when it’s done. A few sessions with the sand blaster and some enamel paint and she will be chilling.  I prefer to build my own pieces but I have learned a lot from taking apart furniture and (sometimes) putting it back together.

library table

library table

In November I refinished a quartersawn oak library table for a dealer at camelot. It was a nice table but the finish on top was chewed up and flaking badly. The dealer did not want to refinish the entire table, just the top.  I stripped it, sanded it, matched the color to the base and applied a finish to it. Oak can be tricky to strip because it is so porous, old pigment sets into the vacuoles ,but if you are patient you can use that in your

librarytable2012favor and really accentuate the grain and figure of the wood.  You do have to sand a little more, and it is very important to clean the piece with mineral spirits between sandings.  This gets rid of a lot of sawdust and it shows you where you may need to spend more time getting rid of stain/paint, finish, or adhesive.  Using a shop vac to remove sawdust is a good idea too.  The top  came out nicely and it sold a few months ago. 


Turning Shutters into a Table Base


shutter as table base

shutter set

one pair of shutters before they became a table base

These shutters are small. I have 4 sets of them.  I connected two sets together to create a long panel. That panel folds to make a square  pedestal. I cut a piece of plywood to match the shape of the shutter structure and then glued 3 cleats to the plywood. The cleats will connect the shutters to the base. I will screw in some feet to raise the platform off the ground a bit.  think it would be cool to be able to open the pedestal for storage under the table. For that to work I will have to plane a small amount of material from the shutter base to allow for ease of opening and closing.  I am thinking this base will hold my most recently constructed scrap wood table top.  I am attaching edge molding to that clamping the tablenow and then  I will have a lot of sanding to do since I went a little crazy with the adhesive this time. The shutters are 16″ tall , the feet will be about 2″ and the tabletop is about 1 1/2″ thick so the table should stand about 19″.


Toboggan Table

sled pieces

5 toboggan pieces

I have had this toboggan around for a long time. It spent a lot of time outside so the wood turned an ash grey.  I disassembled it a few months ago so I could cut the rotten parts and sand the curve.  I thought about making coat racks out of the sled slats or maybe even a floating shelving system.In the end  I really wanted to make it a table. There were originally 7 sled planks, but one of them is badly cracked. I may be able to fill the crack with wood putty and paint it all crazy and add hooks and get a coat rack too. Pegs would be easy to install , but getting some nice ornate brass hooks would be cool, or copper but back to the table.    3cutcedpostsI was going to use a ladder for the legs and just nail the toboggan directly to a ladder rung. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough ladder parts to make matching legs so rather than try to force it,  I put the toboggan pieces aside and worked on other things.  I have been trying to design a leg system for the toboggan  ever since. I want legs that are structurally sound but also unique.  I want it to be both modern and rustic. I built two leg supports today that might work.  I cut 4 pieces of cedar to 15″ tall and then I cut matching notches into the cedar.The notch was 2″ wide and I hammered in two more pieces of cedar to make a sawhorse-like table leg.cedelegpair  I will strengthen the joint with a dowel or something before I finish it.   Once i had the legs I experimented with different ways to  arrange the toboggan pieces. Should the curve turn up as it would if you were racing down a hill? Or should it sit upside down?  I arranged them in all sorts of ways and so far this is the version i like the best right now.  I have two pieces of cedar flooring flanking the 6 toboggan planks.  tabletobThere are 3 on each side which provides a cool visual element.  I am not sure if this is the final incarnation of this table, but I like where it is going.   The question is, if I leave it like this do I stack the slats like  I have them in the picture or do I cut them so there is only one layer of toboggan? I think I will leave it as it is overnight and decide in the morning.

tbog2Update June 6 2013: I still haven’t decided how to construct this table. It would be kind of neat to make it modular. I could attach the toboggan pieces with metal or leather and make it moveable. Kyle suggested I turn it into a plant stand.  I am going to construct smaller legs on Friday, June 7 and try assembling it without the cedar planks flanking the edges.  I played with it some more tonight and set up differently. I am not sure which version I like better.

tobtable3One last update: Next time I will just write a new post. I took a picture of the table with the curves facing down. I like it but I think the original curve-side-up look is what I am going to go with.  I would be really cool to make a belt and put in wooden belt loops and drill holes and use dowels to secure the table so it could be arranged any which way, but I have lots of other projects to work on so maybe the next time I get a  toboggan I will try that.

Tables I am working on this week

Table before finishing

Table before finishing

This is the table I am working on now. It measures about 18″ almost square. The outside frame is made from an old ladder. The mosaic section comes from a wide variety of sources.Some of the pieces come from an old cutting board, others are salvaged from book shelves. I am constructing a frame from rough cut pine and will either use shutters or stairway balusters for the legs.


half of the new console table

half of the new console table

I am working on this table too. It’s a rectangle shape and will probably end up as a sofa or console table.  It will stand 39″ or 40″ depending on what I use for the legs. I may use a 4×4 post cut in half, but  I don’t know how much 4×4 material I have. The frame is made from 1×2 pine I had lying around. The puzzle pieces are cut from pieces from my shed, pieces from an old futon and the middle shelf from a tv cart.