My Small Log Cabin Workshop #4: My first piece of furniture - a kitchen table island thingy

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Blog entry by Jordash posted 01-28-2016 12:42 PM 1301 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The workbench Part 4 of My Small Log Cabin Workshop series Part 5: Reigniting the fire - Shave Horse Build »

So as I continue to catch up with recent projects I come to my first piece of furniture. This was a kitchen island unit with a butchers block type top. I was really excited about this project, as it was the first piece of furniture I’d attempted and it was going to make use of some oak I’d recently acquired.

This is a lifetime supply I feel!

Anyway using this wood meant a lot of hand planing to remove the original varnish. Also I made almost every cut (including ripping the legs to width) by hand. In the end practice perseverance and making sure the saw was sharp helped greatly.

My first bits of joinery came from making the mortise and tennon joints for the leg/frame. I made a mistake here, cutting the tennons first to be 1/3rd the width of the rails, without thinking about how I’d cut the mortises which now needed to be smaller than my narrowest chisel! It was possible to do, but more work than it needed to be. Still the joints were tight when I’d done.

Next came the butchers block top. Which I decided to make about 1 1/2 inches thick. As I was going through the oak I already had milled up I realised I had a few different width boards and I could pattern these to add some interest to the top. Here it is glued up.

Next came a whole lot of planing, which I enjoy when my blades are sharp, but this oak and glue combination really eats at the blade, so regularly rehoning on a strop was a must. Along with a proper sharpen a couple of times, next time I need to take more care getting the boards flat during the glue up!

I did add some breadboard ends also. I had cut grooves in the top rails to allow me to attach the top with small l shaped blocks, which went on really nicely.

Finally I finished it with a couple of coats of Danish oil.

All in all I’m really chuffed with the outcome and it gave me encouragement to do more.

The main down side was the time it took to complete doing everything by hand. Although I wish to continue with hand tools it just takes me too long. I really struggled with motivation during a lot of 2015. So I have supplemented my workshop with a few power tools. I have a drill press which should be really useful. I was also given a cheap nasty table saw, which I have attempted to improve, but it still needs a couple of tweaks, here’s how it looks now.

It’s definitely better but it took me a while to work out a way of making sure the fence was parallel with the blade I think I’ve got it now, but I need to put some new grooves in the top for using with a sled.

Anyway sorry for such a long post, I probably should have split this into 2 parts.

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