Mahogany scrapwood challenge

  • Advertise with us
Project by Chiaroscuro posted 03-18-2019 12:11 AM 1665 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I went to my local specialty wood store looking for long 8/4 walnut for a table I plan on making and to price things out… answer – really expensive! Anyway, while I was there I found on offcut of Mahogany that was 8/4, approximately 6” wide and 3’ long (which is unusual because they won’t leave anything shorter that 6’). So I picked it up and brought it home figuring that something would occur to me. I have a side table in my room that is an antique piece and I had been examining it for ideas. I decided though to make something a bit smaller (it’s about 3’ high), modeled on a table I had against the couch that was 2’ high. It was modern contruction though and was essentially screwed together which isn’t my aesthetic at all. I decided to do a half blind dovetail stretcher to hold the top together and started resawing the wood by hand… this was exhausting, I used a power planer to help me thickness a few of the pieces.

This is what I eventually came up with, but I had misjudged the width and the board I had left was too short to be the top. So I went back to the figurative drawing board (I didn’t sketch anything out, I was playing by eye) and decided to put a drawer underneath (closer in kind to the original antique that had peaked my interest).

Here you can see I added a bottom mortise and tenon all the way around. The nice thing about this design is that it holds together fairly securely even without glue. Sketched out in pencil in the picture above are the through and stopped dados that I was going to cut to hold the side panels. The through dados were cut with a plow plane (which was a pain in the butt because the piece was so narrow that finding a way to work hold it so I could use a fenced tool was almost impossible) and the stopped dados were cut with a router plane.

This was the front of the piece where the drawer front would go.

Here the panels are slotted in and I have added supports for the drawer.

View from the top.

From the side.

Drawer sides and front cut and ready for dovetailing. The sides and back were scrap cherry and the bottom of the drawer was resawn out of the stock left over from the carcass.

The handle I made from a scrap piece of black walnut using my molding planes (really the first time I’m ever used them) and a few rasps. It’s not screwed in, there are two brass nails that are a bit angled out from each other going through the drawer front and into the handle. I can glue that or replace with screws, but it’s working for the moment (I was in the flow of things and I didn’t want to run down to Woodcraft to get brass screws). There is also a brass nail acting as a stop so the bottom of the drawer doesn’t slide out.

The picture below is the carcass, all built from the same piece of Mahogany.

You can see I tapered the legs and rounded the front legs. I used a spokeshave for the rounding and it was a terrible idea. Mahogany reverses grain direction all the time and is a pain to work with hand tools. I should have put it on the lathe and rounded it that way.

The figure of eight attachments are for the top connection.

I didn’t have enough lumber from the original 3’ piece to make the top. Luckily I had some Mahogany left over from building my Japanese tool box and I was able to join some pieces together to make the top.

-- Todd

10 comments so far

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1822 days

#1 posted 03-18-2019 12:40 AM

Really nice piece you made there. You did a great job!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View Woodoc's profile


67 posts in 2640 days

#2 posted 03-18-2019 02:42 AM

Very nice side table. Beautiful work that will for generations. Congratulations.

-- Doc "Not all who wander are lost." --J. R.R. Tolkien

View Chiaroscuro's profile


157 posts in 2057 days

#3 posted 03-18-2019 02:47 AM

Thank you – it was a bit of an off the cuff / demo piece, but I like how it came together. I might build a few others soon. I have some 8/4 poplar and walnut. I’ve been wanting to do a painted piece (the poplar, not the walnut).

-- Todd

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8795 posts in 1864 days

#4 posted 03-18-2019 10:53 AM

Nice work! Almost every time I go to the lumber yard, I dig through their shorts bins, which are two and four foot lengths. And every time I look, I find something to bring home. “What are you going to use that for?” “Haven’t figured it out yet.” Almost every project I’ve posted on here that’s made from something other than pine or poplar (both of which I buy for shop furniture) came out of the shorts bin, or were leftovers from some other project (such as the spalted elm bits that were offcuts from my workbench).

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View ralbuck's profile


6780 posts in 3549 days

#5 posted 03-18-2019 04:32 PM

A fantastic example of “wood rescue” == GREAT PROJECT!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Ivan's profile


17046 posts in 4150 days

#6 posted 03-18-2019 07:48 PM

Some hughe bunch of scraps – very nice side table. I consider such amount of wood as a resource instead scraps.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View pottz's profile


21288 posts in 2267 days

#7 posted 03-18-2019 07:53 PM

yeah that came out real nice,buying shorts is a good way to save money,my supplier brings in shorts all the time at a lower cost and for a project like this who needs 12’ boards.great job.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Travis's profile


513 posts in 1049 days

#8 posted 03-19-2019 04:14 PM

Your “off the cuff” scrap projects are my dreams :) Great project, well done!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Knockonit's profile


1017 posts in 1484 days

#9 posted 03-20-2019 11:34 PM

wow, i really like the leg style, i can imagine how it worked out with the spokeshave, been down that road, pretty sure thats where my hair went
Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View Chiaroscuro's profile


157 posts in 2057 days

#10 posted 03-21-2019 03:29 AM

Thanks all – RJ, it was a nightmare. I had to sand forever to get the final product. I still like the idea through (rounded taper angled to the outside). I would like to make another similar but it’s definitely going on the lathe.

-- Todd

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics