Well, I finally finished this table. It was by far my most frustrating, yet rewarding build to date. Just thinking about it I want to punch it right in the face!! I’m kidding…. but not really. I made some costly mistakes in this build but the knowledge I took away from it greatly out ways any of the frustrations (I see that now. Retrospect is 20/20). I had a lot of late nights where I wanted to quit woodworking and return all my stolen tools to my grandfather and father!! (They aren’t actually stolen, they just might not know I have them… Not stealing!!!) But I just felt like everything I did went completely down the shitter.  It wasn’t that I was rushing. I’m always thinking (probably too much). It was just that I didn’t have the proper knowledge for certain parts. But you know what!? I do now! That’s the most important thing I can take away from this. That, and I drank 1000 beers building it and have no profit because of it.

This table was my most expensive build to date so I had that pressure weighing heavily on me (plus maple is expensive as balls!) I’m my own worst enemy but I am dealing with someones hard earned money and I want them to be like “damnnnn, Brett, that is the nicest table I’ve ever seen!” Time will tell if they actually say that. I’m like 1000 hours in and still staining. But  my goal is to be the best woodworker I can be and I think made some small steps in the right direction!

 

Lets get into the build, it’s a big one.

 

 

 

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This was my First mistake. I ordered 80 board feet of maple. which was enough, however, I didn’t tell them what lengths I needed them. So I had to buy more because my cutoffs were too short to use. Got it? This was a costly mistake made by me. But an important lesson learned.

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I first cut all my boards down to rough length.

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I then laid them out best side up and numbered them so when I put them together I wouldn’t have to fool around with them. Thinking one step ahead (doesn’t happen very often).
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I got out my new biscuit jointer and put it to use (Kijiji deal)
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One half of the table ready.
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I did the table top in two half’s.  It was too heavy for me to move and way easier than doing one large glue up. Glue-ups are stressful!

 

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Hi Dad.
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Love you.
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Once I got the other side done I had to attach clamps to clamps to make them long enough.
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like so.

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Next, I ripped the table top ends down to final lengths.

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I started working on skirt. I ripped it down to what I thought would look like a good width.
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I glued and clamped it to the top ends.
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I drilled little holes and drove screws into it for extra strength.

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I went over to the drill press and focused really hard on making plugs.
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Plugs in wood.
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Plugs out of wood.
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Plugs going into wood.
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I used my Japanese pull saw to cut them flush.
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Next, I started on the legs.
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Like so.

 

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I had a hell of a time trying to figure out how I was going to attach the legs. This idea might look good but its very difficult to drill a straight hole through a hollow leg. I tired it and cursed a lot. I tried a second time and cursed even more. This idea didn’t work out for me.

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I cut the legs to a 5 degree angle. More on the legs in a few.
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looking pretty great!
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Routered the edges.
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So the first set of legs turned out a lot smaller than I expected. For such a big table you don’t want small legs. So I made new legs. Just another mistake.
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Clamps, clamps. As you can see, these legs are gigantic! My saw wasn’t big enough to cut through them all the way so I started to panic because I wasn’t really interested in trying to figure out a way to do it myself. Mostly because these were the second set of legs I built. One sunny day my wife had a doctors appointment so while my daughter and I waited for her, we drove around Charlottetown thinking of where to take them. I got referred to a wood working shop next to Parkdale Pharmacy. There is a really old, run down, white and red barn there (I’m sure everyone knows the location and has wondered what goes on in there). The roof is caving it but Everly and I took a gander in and my god, it was the greatest work shop ever!!! It was rustic and manly. I instantly felt at home. I walked in and introduced myself to a 7 foot tall, burly gentleman.  We spoke shop and he told me this shop has been in his family for three generations!  He graciously helped me out and showed me a few pointers as he fired up a band saw that was from the early 1900’s!  I learned to never judge a building till you walk in!!! It was like Christmas morning!
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More clamps.
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My sander broke. Son of a bitch.

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Hey, great legs!
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Still trying to find a way to attach the new beefer legs.
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I brought them over to the drill press because a drill press drills perfectly straight holes. I even bought a new bit to make sure it was perfect.
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My drill press is from 1943 and just didn’t seem to have enough power to get through maple. The bit kept getting stuck in the wood. Maple is extremely dense! So this idea wasn’t going to work. It took 35 minutes to drill a hole 3/4 of an inch.
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Back to the hardware store for the 18th time. I picked up 4 inch leg bolts. I put two in each side of the legs. These did the trick. It was rock solid.
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Starting to look like I know what I am doing. I don’t.
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Level…enough. Uneven garage floor 😉
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I had a whore of a time getting the angle for the cross brace. I wanted to burn the table at this point. My father-in-law came over and showed me a few tips and it all came together!
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I first white washed it before putting on a second coat. To be honest I screwed up hard on the staining again. For the 4th straight time. Maple is so tough to stain because it is so hard. The first time turned out really, really blotchy. I probably sanded this table for over 10 hours. No joke.  You don’t want to know how many beers I drank.
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😉
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8 coats of polycrylic
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We did it!!! 60 hours later, a lot of lesson learned.
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In it’s new home!!  It might be tough to reach the ketchup at times but is solid as a rock, coming in at 5′ x 7′ and around 300 pounds.
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This is one of the beer tap handles I made. I’m not sure if I got the contract yet but this is what I gave them.

 

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This is one of the table tops I made for Pronto Piatto’s. Opening soon!!! Check it out! Don’t spill your drink for god sakes!!!

 

So there you have it. I definitely struggled with this table. I made several mistakes, but I learned more on this table than I probably did on anything I’ve built yet, which will just make my next build a littler easier because, in theory, I should be little smarter. Not a lot, but hopefully at least a little. A step in the right direction! I always want to give a little shout out to my wife. I have been driving it lately and I certainly appreciate her patience with me.  You’re the greatest 🙂  Oh, and in my shop build update. I bought 12 huge windows on what might be my best Kijiji deal ever! I’m going to buy a wood stove today (another Kijiji deal) and my permit just came in so I am good to go. I just need to get a few more bucks in my bank account and we will break ground!

Oh, and I also want to thank my clients!! They were super awesome to work with, super understanding and just wonderful people!!

 

Till next time

 

Brett

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