Musings of an Amateur - Building a Sewing Table #2: Sanding and Cutting the Table Top

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Blog entry by JetDriver posted 03-05-2016 01:32 AM 1229 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting Started on the Legs and the Frame Part 2 of Musings of an Amateur - Building a Sewing Table series no next part

So I finally made it back into the shop courtesy of a nasty flu bug that knocked my wife flat and forced me to stay home from work. Given that my shop space is limited I had done some thinking about how to sequence the work flow and had decided that I should do as much cutting and sanding as possible before I start assembling anything. I am fortunate to have a 2 car garage so assembly space isn’t a big issue it just means forcing a car outside until I can get the project out of there.

Having already cut the legs and the four sides of the frame I started working on sanding everything so that it would be ready for paint once its assembled. Sanding the 2×4’s that make up the frame was easy thanks to my new random orbital sander but the legs with their curves and details proved a greater challenge. The sander clearly wasn’t going to work and having a preference for power I decided to try my pneumatic die grinder out and see if it would work. To be honest I had real doubts about this approach from the beginning and those doubts proved to be well founded.

Which left me with sandpaper by hand. Ok that works but it’s not the easiest way to do it. Then I noticed I had a 150 grit sanding sponge in my cabinet and that proved to be the magic solution. It ended up taking a good but of time to sand all four legs by hand but the sponge was really the way to go when trying to sand all the detail on the legs. As you can see below it didn’t get out all of the little imperfections in the turned sections but that would have required a lot of wood putty to fill in the holes. Plus this is a farmhouse style table made from construction lumber so those imperfections if you will are a part of the charm.

With the sanding done I turned to cutting the 2×8’s that will become the table top to length. Due to space constraints I ended up having to make two cuts per board to reach the desired length but the upside to that was a nice clean cut on both ends. In the past when using my miter saw as a chop saw I’ve tended to measure the board and mark it at the desired length using my combination square. What I found instead was that with the laser calibrated to the left side of the blade I could just line up the laser with the ruler and skip the whole marking stage. I did a lot of double and triple checking but the end result ended up being very good.

The last thing I did before shutting down for the day was to clamp the boards together. I had noticed that despite my best efforts to pick good stock from the big box store the 2×4’s that make up the frame on the long side of the table had a slight bow to them as did one of the 2×8’s for the table top. While its something that I can live with and will likely be unnoticeable once the table is done I thought is was worth a try to get the bow out.
So as you can see in the picture below I clamped the boards together forcing them flat against each other. I’ve no idea if this will work or not but I figured I had nothing to lose by trying. (P.S. since I’m late in getting this entry posted…It didn’t work as I bet the more experienced among us could have predicted)

One last thought for the night. I’m blogging my way through my woodworking for a couple of reasons. First so that fellow newbies like myself will hopefully be able to read through the mistakes I’ve made and avoid them. Second in the hope that the more experienced among us will see what I’m doing and perhaps be able to offer a pearl of wisdom or two. I’m quite happy to learn from the mistakes of others myself. And lastly because I hope it offers something to the community of woodworkers.

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