Maple Table from Hell

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Project by CharlieM1958 posted 06-01-2007 04:10 PM 3496 views 3 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This had nothing to do with the challenge. I had some nice maple boards looking for a home, and had been wanting to try a side table (my first). This project proved that Murphy’s Law is alive and well, but at least it was a learning experience.

Things went wrong from the very start. I somehow managed to screw up my biscuit alignment when I glued up the top, then I tried to even things up with the belt sander, and made a wavy mess of the whole thing. I had to end up ripping the joints out and removing a couple inches of stock so I’d have something reasonably decent to start over with.

I used a doweling jig I had just bought to construct the apron/legs/shelf assembly. That part went smoothly, and the dry fit looked great. But somehow, after gluing, the two front legs were slightly racked. After much self-debate, I sawed the bottom shelf off, and reattached it in a slightly different position to draw the legs back straight.

The drawer sides have 3/4” grooves to accept wood guides, which took a lot of tweaking to operate smoothly. The finish is a witches brew of two different colors of Watco Danish oil, with a bit of red oak stain thrown in. I was matching my existing cabinetry, so I kept adjusting and testing on scrap till I got it right. I finished up with 3 coats of wipe-on satin poly.

I’m posting this not out of pride in the end result, but to prove that you can make an acceptable save on just about anything if you are determined enough.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

32 comments so far

View mot's profile


4925 posts in 4340 days

#1 posted 06-01-2007 04:14 PM

Determined is right. I’d have hit it with an axe. Nice job sticking with it because you produced a nice table.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4465 days

#2 posted 06-01-2007 05:54 PM

It is a nice table Charlie. Clean lines and wonderful wood grain. It does have the look of a Thorsen Table too, with the stretcher underneath.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4396 days

#3 posted 06-01-2007 06:22 PM

We’ve all been there. Well, I probably shouldn’t lump all the great crafters of this site in with me! I’ve been there and still visit frequently!

It came out great!

-- Paul, Kentucky

View Karson's profile


35164 posts in 4704 days

#4 posted 06-01-2007 08:49 PM

Great recovery Charlie. been there, Done that. Welcome to the club. Maybe we need T-Shirts.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Skee's profile


85 posts in 4331 days

#5 posted 06-01-2007 09:03 PM

It is not the mistakes that make us who we are, it is how we respond to our mistakes.

You did a great job and I love the color of the table – very rich inviting.

And you will never forget the lessons you’ve learned from this project!

-- -- Skee from MN

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4522 days

#6 posted 06-01-2007 09:16 PM

Amen to that, Skee.

Thanks, all.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4498 days

#7 posted 06-01-2007 10:45 PM

Though I’ve belted you and flayed you, By the livin’ Gawd that made you, You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din! (with respects to Rudyard Kipling)
I’m certain that I would have belted and flayed the table, which, while very therapeutic, would not have left the beautiful piece you now have, but rather a pile of splinters.
That wood grain is absolutely wonderful.
You’re a better man than I am, Charlie M.

(by the way, if you haven’t read that whole poem, it’s worth a look) -Shopsmithtom

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4522 days

#8 posted 06-01-2007 10:53 PM

Yep, it’s a good one alright! Thanks.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4550 days

#9 posted 06-02-2007 01:26 AM

We have a saying here at LJs, “Good save”. And for you a very good save, thats a good looking table Charlie. Good for you. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4429 days

#10 posted 06-02-2007 01:52 AM

I’m a big fan of Maple Charlie, and that is one beautiful looking table. I really like the concealed drawer and the grain you used in it just makes the piece flow when the drawer is open – nice job, great work!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4630 days

#11 posted 06-02-2007 02:05 AM

That’s some nice maple… at least the post didn’t read “This started out as a dining room table…”

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4522 days

#12 posted 06-02-2007 02:43 AM

Good one, Scott! It’s a little smaller than it started out to be, but not THAT much smaller.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4442 days

#13 posted 06-02-2007 06:42 AM

Charlie -

Sounds like this table gave you some fits! I must say it is gorgeous. I really like the grain. Despite the trouble it gave you, this is a very sweet table.


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4603 days

#14 posted 06-02-2007 11:41 AM

You shouldn’t have to complain about this beautiful piece of work, except for the additional labor you had to put into it, very nice outcome!
You must have learned something about what not to do on future projects, so you’ve been rewarded with all that extra practice.
It’ll be hard to put anything in the drawer, because you’ll be coverig up that beautiful grain in the bottom.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4381 days

#15 posted 06-02-2007 06:59 PM

this is a great result…(the lessons learn) and the table is great too…This reminds me of what an old friend tell me…as humans we always want to be in balance—and those moments that we dont know how to do things we are in dis-equilibrium…so we feel frustrated…(he would hold his arms out and tilt back and forth from flat to out of balance to show this)...and as we figure out the solution we are returning to equilibrium where we feeel comfortable again…but we are better off then before—-because now we have learned a valuable lesson getting back to equilibrium. (ok—-the story is better in person)...

Great result either way…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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