A few months ago mom Jess and I went to a flea market at the Bennington house of tile. i bought a wobbly table and a leather topped table. The wobbly table had a really cool worn out rustic top and these legs that did not quite match it but were cool anyway. The table was in rough shape but had clearly been loved. I pulled brads, 4′ spike nails, and screws out of this thing. Someone had even notched out 2×4′s and added them to the apron in the hopes of fixing the wobble. The top has been problematic to restore. it was really dry, but still end up moldy and warped. I am sure I can still do something with it but the original goal of re attaching it to the weird legs is probably not attainable at this point. These legs are heavy, and really thick. I don’t know what kind of wood they are, once I sand them down more I might be able to tell. before I reassemble them to the apron I plan to trace out the pattern so I can make similar legs with a jig saw.
I painted the trim on scrap table 10 today. It looks nice. I still have to fill the screw holes with dowels, do a second coat of paint on the legs and apron, and apply a couple of coats of lacquer. I kept the table inside the house for a little while to test the stability, I used it as a a place to charge the cell phones and store the mail. It worked fine for those purposes. I can’t wait until it’s done. I have been making lots of little scrap wood shapes and I have half the amount I need to start constructing another table top. My mom brought me a trunk load of scrap pieces from a retired wood worker in Dutchess County NY and so I have lots of new types of wood with interesting grain structure and color. The gentleman made cuttingboards and boxes so there are lots of pieces of maple, walnut and cherry. I do a lot of work with pine but I love working with walnut and maple.
It’s a good thing I make reclaimed wood tables, because I generated a ton of waste pieces attempting to make legs this week. Before even beginning my cuts I was forced to perform trigonometry and find the co sine in order to calculate the support brace angles. I had to go through so much effort because the dimensions are odd, the largest side is 3 times the size of the smallest side so it has a very steep slope. After all the calculations and math I discovered I had to cut a 57 degree angle. Unfortunately my miter saw only cuts to 45 degrees and the blade adjuster needs to be replaced on my table saw. . . After taking too long to calculate the cuts I spent the better part of the morning experimenting with ways to actually make the cuts. I was about to just use a protractor to draw the angle and cut by hand in a miter box, but instead I turned to the internet. I did a search for cutting a 60 degree angle with a miter saw and was inundated with results. As luck would have it there were several suggestions and many inventive solutions. I found two ideas particularly helpful. One idea is to turn the piece you want to cut 90 degrees on your saw. Subtract the angle you want from 90 and set your saw to the difference. Since I wanted a 57 degree cut and 90-57= 33 I set the angle to 33. The first time I tried to do this with a scrap piece of 2×4. It was hard to make the cut straight with the 2×4 perpendicular to the fence and sticking out at me. I adjusted by rigging a clamping system that allowed me to keep the piece in place and make the cut. The second idea is to make a jig to use so that the saw stays square (90 degrees) and cuts the angles without actually adjusting the angle of the blade. I have not tried the jig method yet. I got better at making the cuts using the first method but I am still not great at it yet. So I think I will be rethinking the design of the table legs. Right now they look like a pair of capital I’s. And they may stay that way. Each leg is made of a reclaimed 2X4 and 2 10” pieces of rough cut pine 1x2”s. I painted each of them white to match the frame on table 11. They have a rustic look, I will do three coats of white, sanding in between each coat and a complete the legs with a dusty lacquer finish. I normally apply the finish coat when the table is assembled to give it a uniform look, but I will lacquer the base and the top separately for this one.
I have had a half finished mosiac top sitting around for a few months. I had given up on finishing it. Since it was not glued yet I figured I might just use the pieces in another project but decided that I should finish it. I filled in all the shapes three weeks ago and began building a base for it two weeks ago. I made the apron from some scarap piece of cedar I had in the wood pile and made the legs out of some old oak star balusters that I painted black. For addied stabiilty I added a 3/8 ” dowel on the narrow side. I assemebled the base and apron today and it wobbles a bit, though it supports the weight of two cats. I think I need to add a dowel on the long side. The table stood over 3′ tall, I decided that was too tall and so I knocked about 7″ off the legs. I had an interesting time cutting the legs down to size, I marked the height I wanted on a dowel and used that dowel to mark each leg, then I cut it with a circular saw. I had to cut left handed so I could see the blade and the cut mark, good thing I am ammbidexterous. Somehow the legs ened up level, It wobbles less now that it is shorter but I still need to add some extra support. Making bases that will support the weight of the tops, and not succomb to vertical or horizontal pressure is always a challenge. It still may be too tall. I am not sure.
I have been working on ways to simplify the mosaic table making process and I have come up with a couple of techniques that work. The process of arranging the pieces and cutting them to fit is labor intensive no matter how you do it, but I use to spend a lot of time getting the perfect fit. In order to speed things up a bit I drew out a 4″x4″square on graph paper. Once I had the square I drew triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms
inside the square, then I took scrap pieces and arranged them on the square. I don’t actually duplicate the pattern exactly it serves as a guide. Doing this allows me tomaximize even 20 minutes of workshop time and allows me to be creative and productive. When I have a large enough assortment of squares and other assorted shapes I make the frame. I take a base piece of pine, or plywood, and screw in four pieces of mitered wood. My most recent frame came from a shelf I pulled down in the workshop last year. I also add 4 screws to join the mitered corners together, this makes it much easier to apply the adhesive when I am ready. Then I fill the frame with the pieces, unscrew the frame from the base, apply adhesive, and clamp. It makes the process much faster and I can get a really tight fit. I use to spend a lot of time filling in spaces after adhesive application, and now I have very little fill time. The top pictured here needs edge trim and a coat of finish. I have it resting on a pedestal base that I painted black, my Mom thinks I should paint the frame black to match the base, and I think she is right, but I like the white paint on this one so I may build a different base or re- purpose an old stool, or I may paint it black. I will post pics when it’s done.
It’s been a busy week. Delivered a breakfront to schenectady NY. Took the Annie Sloan Just Paint workshop at work. It was fun and I learned a lot. I now know how to remove those random bristles that get on furniture while applying stain, paint or finish. . It’s always been a huge frustration and Gail shared the answer. I have started making coathangers, hook/racks out of random pieces of wood and drawer pulls. They are interesting and I would like to get some architectural hardware to use. I picked up a pair of busted half sized cue sticks on Wednesday. Jess and I went to goodwill and there they were for 49 cents each. I fond a broken cue at work a year ago and I plan to make a tripod base for something. Should be cool.Stained the drawer/desk organizer table bright red. It looks cool. I also added some supports. I need to add 5 pounds to the base for extra stability and that table will be for sale. I also finished the dry fit of the small square mosaic table. I should glue it next week. I also cut out the legs for that table. It’s been busy. I am up to 6 songs now for 50/90. I try not to think too hard about doing 44 more. I wrote the 6th one last night. There is this guy named John Cole who has a blog and his cat was killed yesterday by his sister’s dog. It’s awful. the cat has been the mascot for his blog for a long time and the viciousness and suddeness are hitting him hard and I found myself strangely sad and grieving for a cat and a I person I have never met. I left my condolences and I wrote this 51 second punk song about loss called I am sorry (you’ve got to try). I will almost have enough inventory to do a flea market and maybe join the arts guild by mid August.
The shutter table is available for sale at Camelot Village! I have it priced now at $89.99. I started a small square end table this week. It’s 15″ X15″ and i have a few more pieces to dry fit before I start glueing. I have also made progress on the other mosaic table I have been working on Since May. For some reason the May table has been hard to dry fit. It’s funny, sometimes they come together very quickly, and other times not so much. I have also been working on more repurposing projects. I used chalk paint to cover an old desk drawer into a shelf and I took some really cool oak drawers and they will also be a shelf. I think I have mentioned that I participate in something called FAWM every february. Fawm is a challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. It’s great fun and really pushes my creative limits. FAWM has a sister site called 50 in 90. Which as you probably guessed is a song writing challenge to write 50 songs in 90 days. I signed up last year but didn’t post a song. Music generally takes a backseat to other things for me during the summer but I wrote a song today so I posted it to the my 50/90 page and I thought i would share it here too. It’s called Still sitting in this Room. I am not sure I will churn out 50 songs but it’s fun to to play and share music so who knows.
I 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. 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.
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.
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 flooring.
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.
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.
This 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. The 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.