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Project Information

Wood And Materials Used
Mahogany, Maple
Tools Used
Hand tools specifically for final fit and finish
This project was something I started after finding a local Sash and Door Shop getting rid of a lot of kiln-dried mahogany cut-offs. So I picked up a truckload of cut offs and ventured down the road of making my first Mahogany project. There were a lot of "firsts" for me in this project. First hand cut half-blind dovetails on a final project, First table top glue up. First chance working with Mahogany and First Shellac finish.

Initially, this table was going to start off as a George Hepplewhite 18th Century Side table because that was always a form I really liked. This took on a more "shaker" feel after I decided to not do the beaded accents and Brass pull plates. soooo....shaker it was. Seeing a "shaker" table in a more exotic wood as opposed to a domestic wood will probably make some of the shaker purists cringe a bit but I liked the richness and depth that I was able to get with mahogany. ..and I owned a pile of it.

Where to Start? well, I decided to start with the carcass and frame. I started with Square stock labels and mortised the sides into the legs. The front stretchers were dovetailed into the top. seemed easy in my head but being newer to the traditional style of hand tool woodworking, I learned that the Sharpness of tools is key to performance. Needless to say, I had to make a few extra legs that I hadn't planned on making but learning along the way is part of the process. I dry fit the legs and sides. overall that process went pretty smoothly. The front frame and drawer front was cut out of the same board as I thought initially, the grain matching would be a nice feature but after finishing, I realized that I didn't need to go thru that much effort. Either way, it worked itself out.

Top? what about the top? Nah, skip that for now. let's work on the drawer case. Dovetails... half blind...ok better watch some Cosman videos....I marked them out with calipers and cut the tails first. The drawer front was made of Mahogany and the sides were made with Maple. I probably should have used a more traditional secondary wood but Maple was at hand, so maple it was. The drawer bottom was recessed into a datto and secured with a pin.

Tapering the legs. I had a saw jig all ready to go and then I decided to change my mind. I drew out the taper on the insides of the legs and grabbed my LN 5 12, and went to work . This proved to be pretty effective overall and didn't regret my change in decision.

The Top.... oh boy the top ....I found a few good wide boards that I needed to use for the top but they were like 10/4 thickness. (Door and sash shop doesn't mess around when it comes to thick stock) How am I going to thickness these? .... I grabbed my Big 28" 4.5 tooth rip panel saw and began cutting .... this was a decision I regretted almost instantly but once I started, I knew I had to complete the exercise....and exercise it was..... 3 panels later and I had the boards I needed. I glued the panels up using biscuits. I don't necessarily think they were necessary but I realized this after the fact. Perfect! Top done!..... left the shop for the weekend and went back the following weekend....The top looked like a roller coaster..... I didn't clamp a straight edge or beam to the board so I Instantly regretted that decision. I also made the top close to finishing thickness which was probably a mistake. I re- cut the boards and did it the right way. Clamped them down and glued them up. They stayed pretty straight after that.

All the pieces did and ready for glue-up! I knew I was going to use Powdered dye and alcohol to finish the mahogany but I worried that the dye would bleed over to the maple. So I mixed up a big batch of dye and Dyed up the front before gluing up the dovetails. Worked out ok and matched well. I finished the rest of the table and top with 2 coats of shellac. after the first coat, I used Grain filler to fill up the mahogany. It worked ...ok but I don't think I really noticed ...or I didn't do it right. Either or.... one more coat of shellac. I put 3 finish coats of Lacquer and sanded them back between coats. Buffed and waxed. and Id considers it complete.

As with each one of my "adventure" projects, I learned a ton. This now sits in my mother's house and is well cared for.



· Banned
18,919 Posts
a simple table but very well notch work on those dovetails. (y)

· Registered
4,593 Posts
A very well crafted table, with a great finish. You did well with the dovetails and the tapers. And it's even better that the wood was free, and you learned during the process.

Like the Plane Till in the background.

· Registered
1,403 Posts
I like the simple shaker lines but in the fancier wood. Well done.