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When it comes to tables, knowledge of basic woodworking joints is key to preventing wear and tear.
Bob’s detail of the mitered tenon for mortise and tenon furniture (left) and use of a wider leg for the same joint (right). The other big takeaway from this project plan, in my opinion, is the discussion of wood movement. So, in summary, we have a few well-curated freebies on the download page – from woodworking ideas to wood furniture design – and we are adding more every few weeks. I’m pretty sure that nothing (including varnish) remains 100% forever, but I could be wrong.
Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. Normally I don’t like to begin a story with a question (or an adverb), but: What Was I Drinking?
When the Northeastern Woodworkers Association came calling I agreed to bring my handmade Roubo workbench (the one featured on the cover of the August 2010 issue) to its annual Showcase in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This year the Showcase is March 26-27, and it is one of my favorite woodworking shows, both as an attendee and as a presenter. The show is one-third education, one-third furniture gallery and one-third selling floor, with high-quality vendors. This year I’ll be demonstrating hand-tool techniques (surprise) plus discussing the workbench, where it will be on display in a special exhibit of benches at the show.
So somehow I have to muscle this 300-pound bench into an as-yet-undetermined vehicle and trek 700 miles. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press.
If you decide to take the NY Thruway through Syracuse, rather than coming up I-88, and you think you need to take a break before proceeding on to Saratoga, feel free to come on over.
Max London’s is newer tapas-style fare and excellent wood fired pizzas, a great but small draft beer list, and an inventive set of mixed drinks. I think in true redneck tradition the answer is to tie the thing on top of your vehicle with bungee cords and hope for the best.
I’ve been trying to find time to make a narrow (very narrow) table to go alongside my couch and this weekend, I had the choice of time in the shop, or thoroughly cleaning my house. This little table, inspired by a classic Shaker side table, will go alongside my couch next to the window. But with unexpectedly fancy legs, I decided I couldn’t in good conscience use pocket screws to join the aprons to them. After I got the base glued together, I realized I didn’t have any way to get inside (with the tools I had available) to cut slots or mortises for buttons to hold the top in place. I ragged on a coat of Watco Danish oil, let it sit for a half-hour while I caught up on celebrity gossip (I want the former Catherine Middleton’s wardrobe) then ragged on another coat and answered a few e-mails while the table sat for 15 more minutes. I’ll let it sit in my dining room to dry overnight (and leave the windows down in my car for a while – Watco is some redolent stuff in a small space).

But unfortunately, there’s still plenty of time left over this long weekend to clean the house. I had a similar decision this weekend: Let’s see, shall I go outside and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and lay down some mulch, all in 90-degree heat, or design and build a new clamp rack for the shop?
The grain pattern of hard maple reminds me of the ink landscapes drawn by Chinese and Japanese artists beginning in A.D.
I spaced my runners so that the front door is flush to the front edge of the cabinet stiles. You might have noticed from the photo that I made the grain direction of the drawers run vertically instead of horizontally.
If not, be sure to check it out and download a few more, especially the latest one on Shaker style furniture that is packed with general information on end table plans, coffee table plans, dining table plans and an overall table plan template. That means it will withstand the style test over many years, no matter what other furniture you acquire or make. I always find that these abstract views make a lot more sense after I have built something that includes the technique in question.
Wood movement always matters, but especially when dealing with a wide piece of stock or edge-joined surface.
And if you can’t attend, you can hear me discuss the workbench on the DVD “Build an 18th-century Workbench,” available now in our store. Between myself the the rest of us trouble makers, please let me know if we can be of any help moving the bench.
Phila Fusion or Sushi Thai on Phila (same owner, Phila is upscale) are the best in the area for sushi and thai. Davidson Bros has very good beer, brewed on site, and The Chocolate Mill should really be in Napa. It’s only a 7 hr drive from here, but knee surgery and 2 kids make that a pretty insurmountable distance.
I also had a 9″-wide piece of cherry left over from another build, so I cut that to size for the top. I’ve been wondering what to do about the cat beds, currently sitting on a hunk of furniture next to our chairs.
The traditional Japanese household would store clothing, valuables and household items in its tansu.
This is OK for such small drawers, and I did this because each bank of drawers now reminds me of one of those Japanese landscape paintings. And if you make it right, Shaker style furniture will of course withstand the other damages that come with time.
This section of the download can be useful not only in building tables, but also when you start to look at how to build a desk.
These days Dan is a former online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. I was either thinking upstate NY or Cancun, but honestly, it’s a little bit chilly in Cancun this time of year.

With any luck (state police being asleep at their radar-guns), I’ll get there in time for your tool chest spiel. That’s all that will fit in the intended space (I do worry that for JJ – my fat cat – it will be a tight squeeze).
But, Glen was in the shop yesterday working on the November cover project, and he kindly gave me a few minutes’ instruction on tapering legs on the jointer (you can see a video of this technique, which Glen picked up from Troy Sexton, here). But I am going to buy a small table lamp to put at one end – that way I can call it a sofa table instead of a cat perch…that sounds a bit less crazed cat lady-ish.
It was meant to be a spot for the remotes, destined to sit in between our recliners…. Each painting, with its jagged mountains and forbidding peaks, was supposed to represent a little story.
Also, the interior stiles are merely applied to the doors after construction; they are not structural. Then I nailed drawer runners to the carcase’s partitions and drawer runners with plywood build-up strips to the sides.
But I do want to point you to a helpful blog post from Glen Huey for this particular Shaker table project.
I learn a lot from the other presenters (this year Peter Follansbee will be there) and the food in the town is quite good. Little hard to find, but the best coffee in town, especially if you’re looking for espresso. None of it is particularly striking wood, but as only one end of the table will show, and the top will quickly be covered in cat hair if not cats, I’m OK with that. The viewer followed the people in the painting as they journeyed on a path through the painting.
First cut all your pieces to size and iron on veneer edge tape to cover all the exposed plywood edges. Now screw the top to the carcase through cleats that are screwed to the sides and partition of the case.
Note for example that the mitered-end variety is not for creating a mitered joint within the joint, but rather to relieve a little extra space within the leg. So when I decided to build a step tansu, the obvious choice was maple, despite the fact that these chests were traditionally built from Japanese cypress, cedar or elm.
Glen has created a mortise and tenon jig that is cheap, works well and speeds the building process.

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