Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bistro Table

This was another commission piece for a friend who had a party house on the lake. He has a billiard room with Pottery Barn stools and wanted a matching bistro table. He had a bunch of Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) laying around after a flooring project, so we thought it would be a great way to salvage/recyle the wood that was just sitting under his deck. I loaded up a stool and the wood and headed off to the shop. I carefully measured the stool and drew up a proportionate table in AutoCAD. After getting his approval from the drawings, I dug in. Ipe makes the most horrible saffron colored micro-sawdust in the world. It's also unbelievably hard and abrasive, so it trashes your tools.

This was also my first foray into loose-tenon jointer (ala David Marks), and I'm glad I did. Loose tenon joinery allowed me to make the eight degree cuts on the aprons and stetchers nice and clean, without having to worry about tenon extensions. I made a jig out of MDF and cut the oversized pattern out to make 3/8" tenons.

The happy accident was that because the the jig sits flush against the end grain of the tenon and the face of leg, the tenons are perfectly aligned and registered between the two pieces, so the joinery is perfect. I set the depth of cut on the router bit to allow 1/16" for hydraulic squeeze-out. The piece was delivered unfinished because the client wanted to use the same finish as the floor, which would make it match, and also make it quite durable.

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