Last month I took a 5 day weekend for the sole purpose of getting in the woodshop. The first project was making a top for a small machine treadle I had stumbled up on. I had decided this would make a nice chairside table in my office and would go with my desk, which is an oak butcher block top on a cast iron lathe base from the late 1800’s. The top has 2 layers, so that my laptop can go underneath. This was a simple “warmup” project:

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Next up on Day 1 was small chairside table for Peggy. She wanted something small so as to not take up a lot of floor space, and fit between the arm of her recliner and the wall. “Make it funky” she said. The top and base are cherry, the 4 legs are hard rock maple.

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There is no metal (nails or screws) in it anywhere. It is all tight fitted mortise and tenon joints, held together by friction.

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Then she says “You need one, but make it more masculine”. This took me into day 3.

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It is white oak.

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Day 4 saw work on bedside tables for the guest room. After much discussion we decided one should be feminine and delicate, the other more masculine. The feminine one came first:

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The tapered legs and apron are cherry, the top is a stunning piece of Tiger Maple

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The masculine table is a Shaker trestle design, but proportioned for bedside use.

It is also all mortise and tenon joinery, pegged to keep the joints tight through the seasons.

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It is also maple and cherry, but opposite of the other side table with cherry top and tiger maple legs.

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The top is “lace grained” cherry, a rather rare natural occurrance. This particular piece of cherry was cut and milled in the 1950’s.

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5 days of personal rejuvenation!

 

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I love making little things- it is easy to get creative with very little material invested!

Christmas 1987 was very tough. Our first child was due the week after Christmas, I had just graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle!) and started a new job, all of which meant there was NO money for Christmas presents. We had a large construction project going on at work, and I scavenged as many shipping crates and other materials as I could for making things. Peggy understood what our financial situation was and all she asked for that year was a button box. I knew that she meant a box to put buttons in, but I took the idea of a “button box” a bit literally, and using scavenged packing crates, and yellow and red paint scavenged by draining cans the painters at work considered empty, I came up with this:

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For her birthday the next spring I decided to replace the plastic butter tub she was using to hold straight pins with something else. The little pin bowl and lid were made from a cherry tree which broke and fell down in the big ice storm of January 1988. The tape measure gives perspective:

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In 1989 I made 3 miniature chest of drawers- a 2 drawer, a 3 drawer, and a 4 drawer. Peggy wound up with the 3 drawer, her grandmother the 2 drawer, and one of my aunts the 4 drawer. Peggy’s grandmother still has hers in the assisted living facility she lives in, and Peggy still uses her 3 drawer chest for notions in her sewing room. The case is assembled with dovetail joints:

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I made this for my mother in 1990. It is a basic Shaker design assembled with dovetail construction, made from furniture grade pine. Not much to say, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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In 1989 my mother-in-law asked me to design a small table that would fit in a nook at the top of their stairs then fold out to make a card table sized surface. ¬†She wanted it to have a usable surface when collapsed and in it’s storage place so that she could display pictures and what-nots. The challenge was that on the left side there was only 6 inches from the wall to the door frame. What finally emerged was a triangular shape when folded up “in storage” with a hinged gate leg to support the large triangle shaped leaf and a simpler swing out support on the smaller rectangular leaf. The top is cherry and the legs/aprons are maple.

My in laws no longer live in the house for which the table was designed, but today it sits just inside the front door of their “new” house.

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This view shows the narrow end which originally fit between the wall and the door frame at the top of the stairs inn the old house

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Both leaves join to the stationary center piece utilizing rule joints- a cove on the drop leaf matches up to a beaded radius on the stationary piece

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The front apron is hinged in the middle so that the leg at the narrow end can swing out to support the larger triangular leaf when it is folded out

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The gate leg extended

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These 2 pictures show the fold out support for the smaller rectangular leaf folded in and extended

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The table fully extended. It has been used for various purposes when my mother in law was entertaining, as an auxiliary dining table when we are all together, and various other purposes.

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And my best customer (my wife Peggy) threw down the gauntlet! When one of the boys moved out and freed up one of the larger bedrooms, she took it over as a sewing studio. She has the sewing table/desk I made for her as a wedding gift, and it was made with a fold out leaf to make it usable as a cutting table as well. But now that she is sewing considerably more, and has a dedicated sewing room, she asked for a cutting table. The request was for a table taller than the desk so that she didn’t have to bend over as much to lay out the fabric, pin the pattern and cut. She also asked that it break down in some way to be stored out of the way, preferably small enough to go into the closet. I scratched my head for several weeks trying to come up with a design. I toyed with an accordian style support, but could not work that out to be small enough to go in the closet. I finally took inspiration from my radial arm saw table, which has 2 leaves supported by gate leg supports.

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But since the cutting table would be 36″ wide, instead of the 18″ of the saw table leaves, it would need 2 gate legs under each leaf. This is how it turned out:

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It is 73″” long and 36″ wide when completely unfolded, then collapses down to 36″ wide x 36″ high by 10″ deep when folded up for storage.

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It is mounted on soft urethane wheels so as to not scratch the newly refinished floor in her sewing room, and also makes it easy to move around, whether collapsed for storage or extended for use. It can be extended to its full 73″ length, or only one side extended to make it 36″ x 42″

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The gatelegs all fold up inside the center box when it is collapsed

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The top is covered with bright white laminate, for easy visibility and to not snag delicate fabrics.

I believe shop furniture should be well made and attractive. This is a cabinet I made for my drill press to sit on. It is made of oak using mortise and tenon joinery. There is not a nail in the entire piece! The only screws are holding the back and the top on.

The drawers in the drill press stand are constructed using mortise and tenon joinery.