Octagonal side table #1: Pattern Routing Challenge

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Blog entry by lanwater posted 09-23-2010 08:04 AM 3722 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Octagonal side table series Part 2: Some progress »

Few months ago I built an octagonal table (not my design) and did not assemble it because I was not satisfied with the legs. I also had problems with the finish.

Problem #1: The finish

The Wood used is white oak and because it’s so porous I never got a flat top.
I kept builling layer of polyuratane but that did not work.

I Sanded off the finish.

I then put on 1 layer, leave it to dry, sand it down but not completely.
Put the second and the third following the same procedure.
That kind of filled the ravines but it still was not really good.

So I stripped down and applied a mixture of talk powder and poly.
That was disaster. I filled the pores allright but I ended up with a white ghost color all over.
I spent a lot of time sanding my top to clean it.

I guess I needed to treat the talk powder with something (?) to get rid of the white color.

I the learned of crystalac wood filler thanks to a review on LJ; I bought it but have not tried it yet.

Problem #2: Pattern routing the 4 legs

I use my template, trace it on the leg then scroll saw the inside (also jig saw).
I then do a pattern routing on the router table.

I got 3 legs that chattered on me I guess due to vibrations.

The first picture (without the top) shows roughly what the base should look like.

Leg picture before inside routing and after routing

Parts of broken legs

I was using :

New strait spiral bit 1/2” from whiteside
Porter Cable 3-1/4 hp router set for 19000 RPM (also tried 23000

I still got 3 legs chatered.

I try “small bites”, upcut but that did not work.

What is the best way to patern route those legs on the inside. Although the wood is kind of thin after the scroll saw, there must be a way.

Hand sanding is tedious; I did hand sand the first one to make the template.

Comments / ideas highly needed!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

5 comments so far

View dub560's profile


632 posts in 4405 days

#1 posted 09-23-2010 07:49 PM

looks good

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4778 days

#2 posted 09-24-2010 12:22 AM

I looked at this this morning and wasn’t exactly sure how to answer—-When you’re old like me, it takes a while to get the brain in gear. So, here goes. I couldn’t really think of anything you did wrong on the routing, but I did think of a possible solution. Could you do your inside routing before you do the outside shaping. This way, there is much more bulk on the legs, so maybe you do get the chatter like you did with the thinner pieces.
Of course you would have to start fresh—but maybe it is something to consider. Also, be aware of grain direction when routing. This could cause blow out and other problems

Fillings the pores—-I have used a filler like you mentioned. That is a good choice. I used it on an Ash bass guitar I built. There is also paste wood filler that comes in natural and stain colors that has also worked well for me in the past. If you want more info—just ask.

Hope some of this helps



View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4426 days

#3 posted 09-24-2010 12:51 AM

Thanks Dub560.

Kent thanks for the suggestion. I can certainly route the inside then the outside.
I think I have to bandsaw the outside shape closer the final shape, like 1/32 then do outside template routing. That way I am taking away very litle material.

I am probably going to have the same thickness after the bandsaw and before the routing but it is certainly worth a try.

One thing I did pay attention too much to is grain direction changes. I think you are right; I will mark the grain changes with the pencil and change routing direction as the grain changes.

I am certainly going to try that

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Retseih's profile


27 posts in 4334 days

#4 posted 09-29-2010 06:32 PM

You are on the right track. I make hand mirrors with a template and the less I have to take off with the pattern bit the better. 1/32 is a good target especially at the point where you are routing end grain. On outside curves I even use a sanding station to get “very” close to the final profile without messing up my template. Oak tends to “grab” because of the open grain, but as you know all woods have their strengths, weaknesses and cost.

Good Luck…and by the way if you are a beginner you really shouldn’t take pictures of other peoples projects and post them as your own….kidding obviously, what I see in that top photo was not made by a “beginner”, time to give yourself some credit…:)

-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4426 days

#5 posted 09-29-2010 06:53 PM

Retseih, Thanks for the input.

I fully agree, oak “grab” quite a bit. I think my biggest problem is to learn to slow down when needed and do it right. I tend to rush projects and mess them up.
I must say that I have not tried your idea of sanding a little between the bandsaw and the flush bit.

I will try that. I think between Ken’s input and yours I should be able to get those legs done.

There are a lot of talented people on this site. Their work reflect a lot of accumulated experience, talent and patience. I am still a small pupy. I will need many many years to get there.

I will post progress.
Thanks for your input much appreciated.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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