Classic Shaker Side Table - Popular Woodworking Magazine

popularwoodworking.com

Classic Shaker Side Table - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Mark yourstart and stoppoints on apiece of tapeStopTo cut the mortise with the router, first mark outthe location on the end of a leg and line up the bitwith your layout lines as best you can.The stop determines the length of the mortise. Don’t forget to include the diameter of the bit whendetermining where the stop should go. Try to get it as close as you can when making a test cut.tise using just hand pressure. If you have to usea mallet, it’s too tight. If the tenon drops into themortise and wiggles, it’s too loose.If the tenon is too tight, don’t force it. You’lldestroy a fragile leg. If it’s too loose, you’re goingto have to beef up your tenon a bit. The best wayto do this is to glue hand-plane shavings (forsmall adjustments) or thicker scraps (for largeerrors) to the tenon. Once this extra wood is gluedin place, you might have to mill down the tenon abit again. Take your time when cutting your tenons– a little extra care saves you a lot of grief.When the tenons slide home in their mortises,you’re close to completing the joint. Now it’s justa matter of squaring the rounded end of the mortiseand either mitering or notching the tenons sothey fit together, if necessary.Getting the tenons to fit with each other is simplework with a backsaw. Really, there is nothingdifficult about this cut, and even if you messit up it will never show. If you like, you can cutwide of your line and then pare to your layoutline using a chisel.In small tables (and many large ones), it’s typicalfor the two mortises in a leg to meet at thecenter. This is easy to deal with; you’ll just haveto modify your tenons a bit to make them fit.There are two generally good solutions: You canmiter the end of each tenon to fit, or you can cutnotches on the ends so they interlock, as shownin the illustrations at right.Both solutions are simple work with a saw. Youdon’t need a perfect fit inside the leg because itwill never show. But they are both good ways toget some experience cutting with a hand saw ormaking a couple of miters.When your joint is ready to assemble, hereare a couple of tips: Don’t try to assemble yourtable base all at once. Glue up one side andMill the mortises in several passes to avoidstressing the bit. With your stop and fence inplace, the work proceeds quickly.WallsA dial caliper ensures that you will have lessfussing when you fit your joints. A perfectlycentered mortise will result in a table base that issquare and not a parallelogram. Check the twomortise walls. When they are equal in thickness,your mortise is centered.One option to deal with the point where thetenons meet is to miter the end of the tenons.If you don’t want to miter the tenons, you can cutnotches in the ends so they interlock.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 9

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