A Lesson Learned...

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Project by Jeepin85CJ7 posted 08-31-2018 11:06 PM 2625 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So this was the last project I just wrapped up for my Fiancé and it turned out pretty well. I had just finished building her two end tables and she wanted this one to finish out the room. So I worked up the measurements and I had all the lumber ready to go and I started the process. All the lumber was from trees that I have previously milled – luckily I have a lot of lumber lying around now!

The whole table is mortise and tenon for the top and the aprons (top & bottom). The bottom shelf is held down with wooden buttons in rabetts/grooves. I decided to cut all of the tenons by hand with my Lie-Nielsen saw and I was doing good. I even recently purchased a shoulder plane (amazing tool) from Lie-Nielsen to help with the project.

Everything was going great with the milling process and all my lumber turned out really nice. It had been drying for a while and everything was going smooth. I finally had it all ready for a dry assembly and I brought out my Fiancé to take a look, and she informed me, very politely I might add, that it was racked ever so slightly. I couldn’t see it for the life of me at a good distance so I put my squares to it and sure enough I was coming in on one side about 1/4” and out on the other 1/4” at the bottom shelf. I found the culprit – well there were a few. First my tenon shoulders on the aprons were not perfect as I was apparently not cutting them perfectly square. Secondly, for the tenons into the slab top, I initially cut the mortises from my original drawing / rough measurement – that turned out to be wrong. That was okay because that was only about an hour to plug the holes and then re-cut them. So somehow on the second cut I spread the tenons on the top out again – this is what caused the racking, but to my eye I couldn’t see the issue until she saw it.

All through this project, I really enjoyed making it because I was getting the groove with my hand tools and not having to wear ear protection while working and it was amazing. I thought this was going to be my best work yet and it does look great but it just has a slight rack to the legs – if you can even tell.

I wanted to share this because I realized through this build that even the small little items I think won’t matter – for example the squareness of the cut on the tenon shoulders for the aprons – it matters. Overally she is happy and I am on to bigger projects – I just started my Roubo bench!

Hope you enjoy the pictures and the little story and hopefully it will help someone to pay attention to the minor details – I know it helped me!

8 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6631 posts in 4215 days

#1 posted 09-01-2018 02:14 AM

Racked or not, it is a good looking table. Unfortunately errors run down hill and compound. If furniture was meant to be perfect in shape, we would all own ikea stuff. Furniture with minor flaws indicate made with hands and love.

-- Galootish log blog,

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 2142 days

#2 posted 09-01-2018 02:25 AM

Terrible job, I don’t know how you can even keep it in the house.
If I was you I would stick it out on the curb with a “free” sign on it.

But before you do, give me your address and wait about a half hour…. :)

Looks great to me, I really like the thick top.

View Andrek's profile


653 posts in 3152 days

#3 posted 09-01-2018 11:21 AM

Very well done, sometimes nature plays with us, a way to teach us humility, but I know the feeling it happened to me recently , The good news is that you have experience for the next item.
Keep on making saw dust,

-- andrek

View dannmarks's profile


1028 posts in 1824 days

#4 posted 09-01-2018 03:55 PM

1/4 of racking… I think unless it really wobbled I would not have fretted over it. And then used leveling bottoms. I mean it has a rustic look to it. It is not an Ikea product made on CNC machines…

View therealSteveN's profile


8858 posts in 1817 days

#5 posted 09-02-2018 05:54 PM

Nice table, and also a learning lesson for you. Those girls are always right, always. Tell the truth usually they are, but even if they aren’t, well after 38 years I’m just gonna stick with mine is always right, and yes dear is almost always the right response from me.

Anyhow back to the lesson, before glue up invite her out to have a look-see, might end up being quicker in finishing projects.

Thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Jeepin85CJ7's profile


83 posts in 2679 days

#6 posted 09-02-2018 11:30 PM

Haha, I will be sure to let you know when it hits the curb, its only a few years until a new design has to happen for that room! Thanks for the comments!

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4837 days

#7 posted 09-04-2018 02:26 PM

Nice work, i dig the design

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Lazlo's profile


23 posts in 2020 days

#8 posted 09-08-2018 01:36 PM

I like your design! I’ve been looking for a shallow table for growing herbs right below my kitchen window, and I think I’m going to work up something along the same lines. So, thank you for the inspiration! As far as the racking is concerned, your fiancé may have noticed it, but, then again, how does this table compare to the one SHE built? :-)

-- Lazlo

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