Building a Scandinavian Modern Round Table

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Blog entry by BenhamDesign posted 09-12-2019 05:27 PM 995 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This dining table was made in a Scandinavian modern style for a client who moved to Colorado from Sweden. I hope it reminders her a little bit of home every time she sits down for a meal. It is made from solid cherry; the top edge is rounded over to create a pillowed effect along the edge. The legs are angled from all sides and sculpted to a similar pillowed effect on the edge of the legs.
It is approximately 42” DIA, and stands 30” tall

If you are interested in how I built it please watch the video or read about it below

We had a bit of a discussion behind the scenes here on what was what, but the client is from Sweden and she called it Scandinavian, so that’s what I’m going to go with. You can decide for yourself in the comments section.

So far what you have been watching is me getting the material prepped for the top. Once I got everything planned to thickness I took a few minutes to decide which pieces put together had the best grain flow. Then I and glued them up,
In my last video I showed how I made this simple fully adjustable circle cutting jig, I used it to cut out the circle.

I’m using a large thumbnail bit to create a pillowed edge, Since it is so large I did the cut in several passes. To achieve the look I am going for I cut the profile on both top and bottom.

If you look closely you can see the ridge were the router bit stopped and the flat of the table started, I gently blended them together with the sander. Then I came back and feathered any inconsistencies together by hand.

Now on to the legs, I don’t have an exact plan for the size of the legs, I just have an idea in my head of what I want them to look like. So I drew in guide lines of how tall the table should be along with a center line. Then I just spent a few minutes sketching different angle and curves until I found one that I liked. This piece of plywood will end up being my template to rout all the legs the same shape.

Then I started cutting the plywood down, I did all the straight cuts with the track saw. Then cut the final curve out over at the band saw.
At the spindle sander, I finessed the final curves and sanded out any saw marks left from the bandsaw.

Even a decent grade plywood is junk these days, I didn’t want the barring of the router bit to get off course when it goes over the voids so I filled them with CA glue and sanded them flush.
After all that I decided I didn’t like the angle of the legs but liked the curve at the top, so re cut the angle of the legs on another piece of plywood and stuck it to the old piece so I could copy the shape of the curve onto the new template.

Now that I was happy with the shape of the legs, I needed to build a fence to attach to the template so I could use it to line up each leg and clamp it down. I added some toggle clamps to help hold the legs in place during routing.

Now that the template was done, I used it to take measurements from so I could figure out what angle to cut the legs and apron at.

I cut the angles at the chopsaw, and after doing so I ended up re-cutting them off camera at the table. A chop saw may be accurate enough for crown molding but the blade seems to flex just enough when cutting thick lumber that the joint doesn’t close tight in the center.

Once I got the joints fitting tight I marked for floating tenons and headed off to cut the joinery.

Since the pieces are angled, to help hold them while I cut the mortises, I screwed a strip of scrap wood to the bench, and used a dog to help hold the workpiece by wedging it in place.

Since the dog pivoted, it worked for holding all the pieces regardless of the different angles they were cut at.

Since the miter on the legs are cut at a shallow angle I didn’t want the domino to blow threw the outside edge, so I set the domino to cut shallower on the tip of the minter and custom cut the Tenon stock to the appropriate length.

At this point I am only gluing in the floating tenons one side, this way I can do test fits and still take the pieces apart while working on other aspects of the legs.
I put each leg against the template and traced the shape of the curve and angles so I could rough them out at the bandsaw.
I fitted the legs together and used a flush trim bit to clean them up at the router table and match the template.

I pulled the legs apart and did the layout for the last joint that needed to be cut.
The cross braces are going to cross each other with a half lap joint in the center of the table.
Since I have extra material on the ends for the angled joint, the piece is too tall to cut a half lap at the table saw so I’m going to cut it by hand

I scribed the width with a marking knife,
Used a chisel to set a grove for the saw to track in.
Used my Japanese pull saw to cut a kerf on each side down to my layout line.
Then I chiseled out the waste.
To be sure my half lap joint would not overlap more than half. I took care to get a perfectly square bottom I set up a guide block to pare down the last few chisel passes.

I did a test fit and it was just a little tight, so I paired down the sides to wide then the joint just enough.
Once I was happy with the fit I used my knife to scribe the joint location on the other side and cut it out using the same process.
After a few test fits and adjustments, here is the moment of truth.
I’m Pretty happy with that fit up.
To attach the legs to the top, I’m going to use screws. So at the drill press I counter sunk and predrilled holes before shaping the legs. Drilling into a flat surface is much easier than a round surface.

To shape the legs, I’m going to use a really large roundover bit with a bearing on it. When I pass by the screw holes there is a good change that the barring will dive into them.
To prevent this I cut a few short sections of dowel to temporarily plug the holes. No glue it’s just a friction fit.
I want the legs to taper from all sides, so to cut the final tapers on the faces of the legs, I stuck them to a piece of plywood at the angle I want them to taper at. Then I cut the waste off at the bandsaw.
Of course the bandsaw left some saw marks, so I cleaned them off at jointer
For the glue up I did two sub-assemblies and glued each half together.

Since I tapered the legs their full length, as a result the legs are no longer flush where they join the cross pieces, so I took my jack plane and feathered the two pieces back smooth again.

I’m finally ready to round over the legs and create nice pillowed edges. To prep the legs for the router, I used CA glue to glue on a sacrificial block to protect the end grain. If you have ever tried to start a router bit cut on endgrain you know that 99.9999999% of the time the bit will catch a tear up the end grain. This little block will give me a safe and solid point to start the cut.
I rounded all the parts over at the router table, when I built my table (video coming out soon) I designed it as big as I could and still have room enough room to work around it in my shop. That extra table top size adds enough stability to route large awkward pieces safely.

Just like the top, I did it in several passes rising the bit just a little with each pass.

Now that I’m done with the router, a quick wacke with a mallet takes care of the little plywood piece.

I test fitted the two pieces together, and
this final detail, not many people will ever see, but if your grandma gets down on the floor to play with the great grand kids and realizes she can’t get up she will at least have some nice joinery to look at while she waits for help to arrive. I used a chisel round over and blend the intersection together.
This one’s for you grandma.
After test fitting it I decided I still didn’t like the shape of the legs, they seemed too thick. So I used my jack plane to reduce the thickness, and re roundover the edge.
I used the sander to feather out the hand plane marks refine the pillowed edge.

I think we are pretty good, I like the shape of that a lot better.
I glued the two leg assemblies together
Then tapped out the temporary plugs so I could screw it to the top.
Of course prior to final assembly I applied several clear coats of satin poly.
I think it turned out pretty good,

Thank You
Brian Benham

-- What I do in and out of the shop at

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