Curly cherry live edge dining table - AllWoodJoinery

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Project by JohnnyStrawberry posted 01-28-2013 11:15 PM 5789 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A slide show about the build:

I’ve shared my story and my concept in my bed post.
This table is the second piece.

As I see I rather build a piece of furniture around a beautiful piece of wood… This time no choco locust but a majestic piece of curly cherry. 18-20 inches wide and 12 feet long.

The rest of the table is also cherry. Since this piece has no artificial fasteners (glue, screw, etc), only solid wood, this table is 100.000000% cherry. When it was unfinished anyways… The finish is raw tung oil BTW.

The joinery consists of three sliding dovetails and four tusk M&T joints. To do so it needs to carefully plan the dimensions around these joints otherwise wood movement will make you finish your dinner on the floor one day… One long sliding dovetail joins the two halves of the table top and the other two joins the top to the frame. This time my hunger for accuracy was really satisfied. I loved the challenges of not making errors bigger than a few 0.001” on a span of a few feet. The first and the hardest was to edge join the two slabs. Straight edges weren’t straight enough for this kind of joinery. The only way to measure straightness was to put the two edges in front of each other and measuring the gap between them with a fine feeler gauge.
Why isn’t it a problem in the process of edge gluing joinery – you could ask. You don’t see those tiny gaps because you use clamps to join the edges with glue and they bend to place. But for a 5 feet long sliding dovetail your edges has to be parallel to the thousandths. So I realized that I can bend a 8” wide MDF strip to dead straight and use that as a straight edge. (photo 4)

All right, I have a pair of matching edges now. Great. But if I’m going to use my router table to make the dovetailing it’ll sure f…’em up. Partly because of the insufficient accuracy of my router table, partly because of the weight and poor maneuverability of those slabs.
So I have to move the router on the edge. That means I had to make a router base plate fence for my palm router. It turned out great. (See the test piece on photo 5) Now about sliding dovetailing. Two words… climb cut. Fortunately I learnt it on the test piece. (I’ve always been a big fan of climb cutting anyways.) The other accuracy demanding task was to make the two parallel cross cut stopped sliding dovetail groves for the rails on the back of the table top. I used the already assembled frame to be the stop blocks for the edge guides. Fast, accurate, fool proof. I think the title of the book of my dreams would be “Stop Blocks and Climb Cutting”. LOL
I’d had several options for joining the legs to the frame but eventually I decided to use the well established tusk mortise and tenon joinery. The stiles sit on straight shoulders under the mortise of the legs. The mortises are slightly bigger than the tenons and the upper end of the legs are 1mm lower than the upper edge of the stiles and the shoulders of the dovetailed rails allowing the wood to move freely in any direction.

Router surfacing had always been a pain in my workshop until I fitted my sled with dust collection fixture. Aaawww, what difference this made… Like my HBDT jig with dust collection. :) In addition I’ve learnt that lubricating the router base plate can make wonders when it comes in contact only with a jig. I think I could’ve moved that router beast even with my eyelashes.

The rest of the build was about templates and stop blocks for accuracy. You can see them in the video.
The table was done two days before we got married. That day was magical. Wonderful friends make wonderful days. Let it be a wedding or hiking in the mountains or getting together in our home talking about a bunch of interesting stuff.

As I see, these pieces of furniture gather us around them. The bed became our most used couch too. We often watch movies on the bed with our friends. Fortunately the bed is rock solid loaded even with the six of us. The table became also a gathering place in our home. And that’s the best part of making furniture.
Now it’s time to do some cabinetry without artificial fasteners…

Thanks for reading along,

-- What are those few hours of mine compared to those decades Mother Nature has put in it!

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4914 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 11:48 PM

A cool design,nice work.


View pintodeluxe's profile


6519 posts in 4150 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 12:07 AM

Nice table. I like the design and choice of materials!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 02:00 AM

Beautiful table and I love your “all wood” joinery. Great slide show of the process. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a top attached that way but I love it. Great job all around on this piece. Your precision is awe inspiring (LOTS of set up I assume is the answer).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Ken90712's profile


18099 posts in 4526 days

#4 posted 01-29-2013 05:05 AM

Great job it looks great!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3680 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 04:17 PM

nice job

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3513 days

#6 posted 01-29-2013 05:01 PM

Fantastic table! Like the wood grain, live edge and the amazing joinery. Great build!


View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4180 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 05:46 PM

Great challenge. Nice story. Like your theme and narritive ( philosophy) in your work. Looks like it’s working for you. Oh yeah really nice piece. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Ivan's profile


17138 posts in 4205 days

#8 posted 01-30-2013 04:43 AM

Outstanding process,beautiful table!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Ren's profile


22 posts in 3520 days

#9 posted 01-31-2013 09:32 AM

Beautiful this table!
But sorry for pointing to another fact: the carpet with the flowers…. is lovely too. ;)

View JohnnyStrawberry's profile


246 posts in 3656 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 09:46 AM

Thank you guys for the kind words.
Honey: You won. Someone commented on the carpet. And that person happened to be you… You’re cunning. The bet is over.

-- What are those few hours of mine compared to those decades Mother Nature has put in it!

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3764 days

#11 posted 03-25-2015 06:57 PM

I really like the part in your story ’ I have this hunger for accuracy’ Well it sure looks like that hunger was well and truly satisfied!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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