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Forge table #1: Oak top

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 10-04-2020 07:21 PM 445 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Forge table series Part 2: Roughing out the legs »

I bought a little forge for the shop, and it arrived last week. Hoping to use it for the knife swap that’s just begun.

One of the things I’m short on in my shop is flat surfaces, so I decided to build a little table for the forge and associated tools to sit on (the anvil will hopefully get a stump).

I dug through the pile of wood, and found a chunk of 7/4 oak, already planed smooth (so 1½ inches thick), that’s 6½ inches wide and 4 feet long. I decided a table top 16×18 inches or so would be about right, so I cut it into three pieces. Then I planed the edges so I could glue the three pieces together.

I cut a couple battens from another piece of oak, and decided I’d put them in with sliding dovetails. So I got out the circular saw and cut a few kerfs about ⅜ inch deep. The battens are about ¾ thick, so that seems right-ish.

The edges of the dados in the top are tapered by dint of going along the edges with a #79 side rabbet plane, held at an angle. The edges of the battens were planed with a jack plane to about the same angle.

The first batten took some fiddle-farting around to get right, but the second went together more quickly, since I realized if I get the edges of the sliding dovetail socket close, it’s much easier to make the batten match it than to try and tune the dado to match the batten.

With that done, I glued the edges of the pieces for the top, put a dab of glue in the middle of each batten (the legs will be staked through the batten and top, so I don’t want or need to glue in the battens), and clamped things together. Tomorrow I’ll flatten the top of the table, and start thinking about how tall I’d like it to be.

-- Dave - Santa Fe



11 comments so far

View mikeacg's profile

mikeacg

1746 posts in 1974 days


#1 posted 10-04-2020 07:55 PM

Dave,

Awful pretty looking wood for a forge table but I’ll wait until you finish before I pass judgement. But you did answer my question as to why a violin has two f-holes…

“The first batten took some fiddle-farting around to get right, but the second went together more quickly, since I realized if I get the edges of the sliding dovetail socket close, it’s much easier to make the batten match it than to try and tune the dado to match the batten.”

One for fiddling and one for farting! Can’t wait to see the new forge as well!

Mike

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl, http://www.artcentergraphics.com

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

2354 posts in 2483 days


#2 posted 10-04-2020 08:24 PM

That will work, keep us posted on the progress. I want to see ir when it is all finished and the Forge is ready to work.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

6233 posts in 1499 days


#3 posted 10-04-2020 08:59 PM

Mike, on the side of the board it said “wo, $12” so I got it out of the shorts bin at Siwek Lumber in Minneapolis. There’s that one waney edge, but other than that, I couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Maybe someone wanted 8 feet of a 12 footer so I got a bargain. Oh, and it’s basically rift-sawn, so no fancy qswo.

I’m hoping to cut the legs out of a piece of 8/4 ash tomorrow. The legs will end up costing 3-4x what the top did. I miss the Siwek shorts bin.

I’ll get a picture of the forge when I mix up the refractory and paint it over the wool in the forge either tomorrow or Tuesday. But I’m hoping to have the table to work on for that, so we’ll see how the legs go. Wish I had a pole lathe set up so I could turn some legs, but I guess they’ll just be octagonal for this.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3084 posts in 3108 days


#4 posted 10-05-2020 12:43 AM

Interesting, I was just recently thinking of attempting such a dovetail approach to maintaining a flat surface, guess I’ll give it a try for fun. Thanks for the encouragement.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

6233 posts in 1499 days


#5 posted 10-05-2020 12:57 AM

You’re welcome, Tom. I figured glue will probably hold the three boards together, but battens, sometimes with clinched nails, sometimes with a sliding dovetail, are a fairly traditional solution. If I were a chair maker, I might have doweled them together, but this seemed simpler. Plus, I plan to put the staked legs through both the batten and the top. Might get into a little trouble with wood movement that way, but it never gets that humid here, so I’ll probably get away with it. Or, I’ll learn something.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3084 posts in 3108 days


#6 posted 10-05-2020 12:17 PM

Dave,

Started researching this topic, found this, thought someone viewing here might find helpful:

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

6233 posts in 1499 days


#7 posted 10-05-2020 01:03 PM

Yeah, if I had a router or a table saw, it would’ve been a lot easier. As it was, my circular saw with the non-tilting bed got used with a chisel for the bulk of the material removal, making a square-sided dado, then I used the side-rabbet plane, held at an angle to angle the sides of the dado a little. A lot less angle than I would’ve done if I had thought ahead and hand-cut the edges first, but I ended up with something that would work.

For all hand-tools, I think the best way is: use a stair-saw or backsaw to cut the angled sides of the socket, then use whatever you have to waste away most of the material. Cut the dovetail to match the socket second, and remember to taper both slightly over the length so you can get a nice tight fit.

Edit to add: this has me convinced I’m going to make a variant of a kerfing plane but with an angled blade, simply for cutting sliding dovetails. I don’t think it’ll have a fence, but perhaps I’ll clamp a temporary fence to whatever I’m cutting the dovetails into. Another project on the to-do list.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mafe's profile (online now)

mafe

12678 posts in 4006 days


#8 posted 11-28-2020 11:39 PM

Looks cool, can we see the forge?
You will have tons of fun with a forge and some iron.
Old car springs are good cheap material.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

6233 posts in 1499 days


#9 posted 11-29-2020 03:13 AM

The forge still isn’t set up, but it’s a Hell’s Forge single burner unit. I need to get the refractory put into it, and get the legs for the table finished so I have a place to set it. All projects for this winter.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mikeacg's profile

mikeacg

1746 posts in 1974 days


#10 posted 11-29-2020 12:08 PM

Made me laugh Mads! I was doing some remodeling on my 100+ year old house and discovered that when they poured the concrete for the back porch stoop, they used some old car springs and a bumper for rebar… I donated the bumper to a local car club. A little rechrome and it will be good to go!

I am following this closely Dave as I see a forge in my future! Once I get everything out of my garage at the store, it will become my metal-working shop (I already have a plasma cutter, an Atlas lathe, a brake, 2 engraving systems and who knows what else once I finally unpack… Christmas Day will mark 8 years here in the great white north and there are still a lot of boxes that haven’t seen the light of day yet!)

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl, http://www.artcentergraphics.com

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

6233 posts in 1499 days


#11 posted 11-29-2020 12:37 PM

Hope I don’t disappoint more than usual, Mike. With the bookcases consuming most of my “free time,” the forge has slipped, along with the other dozen or so projects written on my shop whiteboard (which I have unpacked, but maybe shouldn’t have).

I had already considered sources for metal. I’ll start with ordering O1 online (I’ve got two chunks of O1 sitting in the shop, plus a box of old files, more than half of which are just case-hardened crap), but at some point when it’s safe to go out in public again, I’ll probably scrounge up some old leaf springs somewhere around here.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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