Darrell Peart's Aurora Sofa Table #4: Table Top

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Blog entry by CaptainSkully posted 09-08-2009 03:38 AM 3504 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Wood Selection Part 4 of Darrell Peart's Aurora Sofa Table series Part 5: Breadboard Ends »

As I was waiting for another project to dry, I did a little work on the table top. I had cut it oversized on purpose to take advantage of the wavy figure in the board. I then had to face the difficult decision of how to trim it down for a sofa/foyer table that didn’t stick too far out. I settled on a 14” wide board, which leaves plenty of room for a decent overhand in the front, 2 1/4” legs, and a side apron that doesn’t look like a chubby baby’s leg.

I then decided to bust out Darrell Peart’s book and work on the breadboard ends. He suggests making a slot in both the breadboard edge and the top, using a slot-cutting bit in the router. Not wanting to buy one of those, and not really understanding what the difference in having a cross-grain spline vs. a cross-grain tongue, I milled a tongue on each end of my top, according to Darrell.

Breadboard Edge Tongue

Another interesting thing he does is make the bottom flush, and the top creates the shadow line. I opted for an equal shadow line on both the top and bottom (in his book, he recommends we diverge from the Greene & Greene paradigm). I think this will give balance to the piece on the front elevation. Other than that, I adhered to his drawing.

Laminating Breadboard Ends

In the interest of this being the most challenging, technical, and properly made piece I have ever attempted, I taped the dadoes to reduce (notice I didn’t say “eliminate”) tear out, and for some reason I felt compelled to finish sand the table saw marks out of the top afterwards. I think this will give me a sense of how fine a piece I’m making (if I actually pull it off). I think it also encourages me along the way. The top is still breathtaking, and the proportions are great. I actually held it up to the back of the sofa.

One thing I’ve notices is that mahogay is a very homogenous wood, even with the grain figuring. It’s not nearly as brittle as oak, therefore less chipout.

I was also able to glue up the breadboard ends, which are at this point twice the thickness of the top, but depending on how the glue seam looks, I’ll plane that down to just over 1/4” thicker than the 7/8” top. The breadboard stock is made from the straight grain that I trimmed off the top because it didn’t have as much visual interest. This means that the grain and color will be nicely consistent with the top, albeit at right angles.

Now that I think about it, I’ll probably have to buy that damn slot cutter because Darrell does a really cool trick in his book. He cuts the slot for the spline that attaches the breadboard to the top with the same router depth setting that he cuts the ebony spline dado. This makes everything line up perfectly because you don’t mess with any settings. Sigh… It looks like I’m heading out to Woodcraft. Good thing it’s my birthday month.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

3 comments so far

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 4591 days

#1 posted 09-08-2009 04:46 AM

I think the mahogany was an excellent choice for this table. The grain on the top is perfect for this piece I think.

I enjoyed working with mahogany on my huntboard. It has a nice smell when machined and sands pretty easily.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4241 days

#2 posted 09-08-2009 04:49 AM

You will like having a slot cutter…I use mine very often..I got the Amana dial a slot also and it very easy to set and use.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4644 days

#3 posted 09-18-2009 12:10 PM

Nice post.

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