Well this is one of those projects that has been on my list of things to do for a very long time now. Finally, after completing multiple CAD designs I finally have settled on a design I’m really satisfied with. Lets get into it.
This week’s post will only cover the construction of the base. This is a farm house design table with a contemporary twist. The base is made from 2×4 pine and the top will be made from walnut. Feel free to check out the plans HERE if you’d like to build your own farm house table. If you haven’t already, check out the build video down below:
After developing a cutlist from the plans, I took to the store and bought up all my 2x4s for the glue up. Some of the base pieces are afraid why some multiple boards will have to be glued together. The glue up requires a lot of clamps. If you are short on clamps, then you can stack multiple glue up assemblies. You would just need to be mindful and not glue up the stacks accidentally : ) ….ask me how I know not to do this lol
Things I used in this build:
After the glue ups were dry I removed all the clamps and scraped off all of the dried glue from the edges.I used a miter saw to square up both ends of the glue up then focused on milling the boards down to the correct thickness. I used the thickness planer to square up the glue-up assemblies. On the thicker assemblies like what I’m working with, the table saw is not the optimal tool because the blade does not reach out high enough to cut through the stock but it can be done with a bit finess.With all of my material squared up I could now start shaping it to my liking. As you can see the ends consist of 2 curved pieces, one center column, and 2 horizontals. The center column is joined to the two horizontals using a bridle joint and the curved pieces are secured using dowels in the sides and screws in the top and bottom. As usual, I referenced my CAD model to lay out all of the cut lines on the bridle joint.
I first laid out the lower horizontal and cut the tenon of the bridle joint using the table saw and cross cut sled. Bridle joints rely heavily on precision of the two adjoining members. I like to use these gage blocks to accurately position the blade at the exact height needed for my bridle joints.To help with repeatability, I used a stop block setup on the cross cut sled during this step to keep the blade returning to the same reference point. I would start by cutting the near side of the tenon, then the far side, then make multiple cuts between the two remove all of the intermediate material.
Rather than leave the ends of the horizontals square, I cut in a small arch on the ends to give them a bit of flare. I laid the arches out on the board using a protractor and then cut them out at the band saw.Once the arches were cut, I cleaned up the edges using the spindle sander and called it good. Of course the three remaining horizontals got the same treatment until I had all 4 horizontals complete.The vertical columns make up the other half of the bridle joint with a corresponding mortise. The mortises got cut using the band saw. I used one of these clever little marking wheels to lay out the mortise. If you don’t have one already, I really encourage you to get one since they’re so easy to use and are very accurate.This part was pretty straight forward and only required a couple of cuts on the band saw while using a stop block to stop the depth of the cut. You can see I used the same method as I did at the table saw; multiple passes to hog away the waste material.After the bulk material was removed, I cleaned it up with some sand paper then gave it a quick test fit on the horizontal member. Success! The last thing with the verticals was to mark and cut out the mortises which will be used for the stretcher. The stretcher is the horizontally placed material that “stretches” from one side of the table to the other at the base. It basically ties the two sides of the table together at the base of the table frame. After marking the location for the mortise, I used a frostner bit to remove the majority of the material, chucked it up in the SuperJaws, then used a chisel to fine tune the hole to the shape needed.As you guessed it, these steps were repeated until both verticals were complete with an upper and lower mortise as well as a through motise for the stretcher. Time for another glue up!I joined the verticals to each horizontal member very slowly and very carefully since the fitment was pretty tight. I took my time during this step since it so important to get right the first time. Each surface got a coat of wood glue, and once they were all seated and square, everything got clamped for an overnight glue up.The following day I unclamped the side assemblies and focused on making the remaining 4 pieces for the sides. The large vertical arch pieces that attach to the end sections were layed out using a flexible steel yard stick. There are a couple of different ways to create a large radius arch (large as in around 3 feet or so). Rather than use the string and pencil approach, I used the long flexible yard stick approach to create the arches before drilling the dowel hole and cutting them at the band saw.Word to the wise: it’s best to cut these to the exact length at this point while the material is good and square before cutting them at the band saw.…..and a triple check before committing to my cut : )
To fit the arches to the vertical pieces I chose a dowel jointer. After carefully laying out the location for each hole, I used a single dowel drill for the dowel. By the way, I’m a firm believer in the spiral dowels. They do a better job at providing the glue something to “grip” onto.Now that the dowels are all located and drilled I can finally cut these large arches on the band saw. Not much to it at this point other than taking my time and following the line. Lastly, everything got a good sanding before fitting the arches.Once the curved piece gets doweled in place, I attached the top and bottom using screws. Since the material was so thick, I chose to counter bore a hole into the horizontals to recess the screw head well into the material.Finally, I could focus on making the last major piece for the base: the stretcher. I started by cutting the tenon on both ends of the stretcher that fit into the verticals. These will be through tenons held in place with a wedge on the outside of the table. I used the table saw to first cut the tenon to shape and then switched to a forstner bit and chisel to create the precise mortise hole for the wedge.The stretcher features a curved contour on both the top and bottom side for a little aesthetics. To create the curve I used the same method as before with the flexible piece of trim (the steel ruler was too short).The stretcher could then be inserted into both sides of the table base. I really took my time on this step since the pieces are so large and heavy. Although it was a tight fit with the through tenons, both sides were slowly driven into place using a large mallet.Time to start prepping the surface. After loads and loads of sanding, I was able to start sealing parts of the wood. Like I mentioned before the base is made from pine which can weep sap from the knots of the wood even after it is painted. Consequently, I sealed the knots (and dense grain areas) of the wood using a spray on product by Zinsser. This will help to ensure the sap does not seep through the wood.Once all the trouble areas of the wood were sealed I fired up the new Fuji sprayer and shot a coat of semi-gloss latex paint over the entire structure. The Fuji unit is an HVLP sprayer and runs on a 120v outlet only (no air compressor required). So far, I am loving this compact little machine.Quick note about this Fuji sprayer. Other than what I’ve learned during this spray job, I know very little about using an HVLP spray unit. Fuji has totally got the end user covered on this however with a great startup guide that is full of well written instructions in addition to old timer wisdoms to help out new end users like myself. If you’re considering an HVLP, definitely look into this brand.After shooting a little paint on a test piece, I started with a light base coat on the table structure. Following the base coat, I applied somewhere around 5-6 coats of latex paint before moving on to polycrylic. Once again I used the Fuji sprayer to apply the coats of clear.The clear polycrylic is made by Minwax and and is water based which makes it nice and easy to clean up. This product will help to not only make finish look nice and glossy but it also helps to make the finish very durable and tough. Since it dries fast, it’s easy to apply multiple coats in a short amount of time.The last and final step to this entire evolution was cutting the wedges to the through mortise. I nearly forgot all about them! Lol. It was pretty straight forward though – I basically cut diagonally through a square piece of ¾ material using the band saw and made 2 wedges for each side. These wedges went into the tenon of the stretcher and fed in from opposites sides. As I pounded them in with the mallet, they wedged their way into the mortise securing the stretcher in place and the excess got trimmed off with a Japanese pull saw.And that’s all folks! This portion was a super fun part of the build and required A LOT of work. I appreciate you stopping by to learn more about the process and invite you to browse around the site for other interesting tutorials, products, or building plans.
Cheers – April