Nakashima-esque Coffee Table #2: Step-by-step Tabletop Continued

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Blog entry by Donowoodworks posted 07-23-2012 09:25 PM 2954 reads 2 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Step-by-step Tabletop Part 2 of Nakashima-esque Coffee Table series no next part

I got a bit more time to work on my tabletop today and it is coming along! I think that the longest part remaining is going to be cutting the butterfly dovetails to keep the cracks from spreading. One edge on the bottom is a mess. It will take some time, but I plan on at least 100 years of service out of a piece of furniture when I build, so it will be worth it.

I want to keep away from straight lines in this piece, so I used a curve to draw the edges of the table.

The curve is adjustable, and increases or decreases in radius as the end piece of the holder slides up or down. I saw Paul Schurch use one of these and thought it was a pretty neat tool. Never had the need to make such a long one until now!

I set the angle on my jig saw to around 22.5 degrees to give the edges a nice bevel.

The roughed out edge. The curve will look a lot cleaner once it gets sanded. Any really bad spots can be taken care of (Carefully!) with a rasp.

I then set the pieces on top of one another, (taking care to keep my tangent lines parallel to one another, so my table edges are symmetrical) and traced the edges that I wanted to overlap.

After cutting them out with the jig saw.

I used the same trick to find a curve I liked for the ends. This time I used a metal ruler and nails to set the length of the curve; any thin piece of material that bends evenly will work.

I made some reference marks so I can line up the pieces again after I finish working on them individually. Chalk works well on dark woods like walnut.

What the top looks like with the curves cut.

The bottom side of one piece is a disaster of deep cracks. I am going to have to cut a lot of kerfs and put slivers of wood or butterfly dovetails to make sure it holds together.

There were a few splits on the edge that I could drill holes and use dowels to hold together. I did so with a birch dowel, and then added some bubinga plugs to make it a little more finished.

Cutting plugs

Trimming them flush

A little preview of what it will look like with finish on it. I know it’s the bottom, but who hasn’t crawled under a table as a kid?

I love the purples and reds you get in Claro walnut. Kiln drying tends to make everything an even brown. When it is air-dried, you get a whole rainbow of colors.

That’s it for today. I wanted to at least start on the kerfs and dovetails for this post, but I had only a 12 hour turnaround between my shifts for work today; I need some sleep!

-- -Mark Donovan, [email protected]

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