Trestle Table – finish is finished

Not a ton of woodworking this weekend but I did get the finish on the table top.  4 coats of General Finishes high performance sanded with 320 in between.    Overall, it’s okay but there are a few defects that would have taken several more coats to clear out so it falls into “good enough”.


Final assembly and wax will happen next weekend in the meantime it will finish curing in the extra bedroom.

Trestle Table – finish for the top part 1

It was a surprisingly productive weekend; lots of stock prep for the next couple of projects and the table top received its first coat of finish.


The contractors finally finished their work so we were able to get the house put back together which meant I was able to dig out the table top and test how well it sits on the base in its final resting place.  The fit was good but there were a few minor gaps so I carried it down the stairs to the garage and spent some time with my number 8 and flattened the bottom.  I then squared up the ends with my low angle block plane and the edges received a chamfer to help minimize child damage.

To speed things up, we decided to drop the breadboard ends and I decided to do something I hate and pulled out the random orbit sander.  120 grit removed most of the tool marks and then I wiped it down with a damp cloth to ensure there were no glue spots.  220 followed and the top was smooth enough for oil. It lost the character but we need a new table.


The top received a nice soaking of BLO and then the residual was wiped away; this will sit for the rest of the week curing and next weekend it will receive a film finish (I’m off to New York City for work so it worked out well).

Friday and Saterday ended up being about stock prep.  All of the stock for my back stool is now S4S and I have the legs cut for my dining table bench.

The back piece (which will be steam bent) was fenangled out of one of the eucalyptus boards that self destructed.  One of the splits carried into the usable part of the board but luckily the planer took it out.  The plus side was that my hand plane revealed curly figure that should add some interest to the finished peice.


The other item was I finally broke down the last piece of the rotten tool box and found a few salvageable boards which will find their way into a project at some point.



This is the right hand board that was the bottom of the tool tote.  I’m assuming it’s redwood.

Trestle table base – first coat of finish

Over the weekend I focused on getting the trestle joints with the legs nice and tight and prepped it for finishing.  I used my smother on all surfaces and then used my chamfer shave and low angle block plane to bevel most of the edges on the parts.

Once I had the pins and wedges ready it was time to assemble.  I did not have any long enough clamps but the notch for the middle support gave me one clamping point and I combined two long ones for the bottom of the trestle.



The next day it was time to make the middle support, this went quite quickly since it is simply a smaller version of the other two supports.  The joint came out nice and right as well.  A dowel (drilled at an angle) and some glue hold it in place.


After letting everything dry overnight the pins and through tenons were sawn flush and smoothed with the freshly sharpened low angle block plane and a chisel. I then steamed out a couple of dents and used some 220 and 320 grit to clean up any noticeable defects.  I ended up putting some putty in the hole created by the blow out, it’s not perfect but this is a softwood table that will be dealing with kids for the force able future so perfection is not needed (years ago that would have been impossible for me).

Everything got a nice coat of BLO which was left for 10 minutes and then wiped off.  A few defects I missed became visible  with the oil but overall not bad.  I’ll inspect it tonight to see if another coat is needed otherwise it will have a few days to cure before finishing starts this weekend.


The top is going to be finished with water based polyurethane from General Finishes as toddles are a bit rough on tables.  I think I will go with spray can shellac for the base since it’s an easy to repair finish and non-toxic.  I can’t do laquer in my shop as the entire house smells of laquer thinner even when I do a small test sample and I won’t be able to get the the base into the backyard easily.

Hey look, its a table base.

I did not put in as much shop time this weekend as I should have but some good progress was made.  On Saturday I spent several hours adjusting the leg assemblies.  I sharpened my low angle block plane and shaved down all of the end grain portions, used my jointer plane to flush up all of the various parts, and adjusted the feet pads to bring both sides into square.

After that I snuck up on the fit for the first tenon and managed to get it into place.  My #10 Carriage Maker’s Rabbit Plane made this process much easier.

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The second tenon happened on Sunday and went much faster thanks to having the router plane dialed in and an existing tenon to use as a template; Though I still managed to make mangle the shoulder resulting in some pretty major gaps.  This week I will sharpen up my shoulder plane and get the shoulders sorted out before I fit the middle support

Since this was the first time putting the parts of the base together I wanted to take a look at how square everything looked but unfortunately, there are no flat floors in my workshop and my bench is not level (heavily sloped garage floor).  I carried the parts upstairs and dry fit them in the dinning room with favorable results.  My wife decided she liked the danish modern look so the planned milk paint will instead be clear finish.

The stretcher tenons.

Last night I decided to tackle the first stretcher tenon in the same manner as the lap joints.  Once I had smoothed out the transition between the corbels and the stretcher (with the expected tearout) I cut the shoulders and some relief cuts (I used my larger miter saw for this). I then defined the top shoulder of the tenon.

Next I rotated it in the vise and removed the waste block.


Now it was time to remove most of the waste with a chisel followed by the router plane.  I used the removed waste block to help support the router so when I do the other side I think I will remove it before I make the relief cuts.


Didn’t quite get finished up but it’s close.

Trestle table base – in the home stretch(er)

A lot of progress this weekend.  I finished assembling the second leg assembly and trimmed the wedges and pins.

I also milled the cross piece and cut it to length.  A couple of weeks ago I realized that the piece of construction lumber I had air drying in my garage was not going to work so I was forced to pick up a piece of kiln dried SVG from the hardware store lumber yard (this one board cost more than the rest of the base combined).

Unfortunately, the widest piece they had was a 2×6 and the design calls for a 6 inch wide board.  To make up the difference, I decided to add the corbels before cutting the tenons.  I lasted out the strips on the cutoff from the board and added 3 inches to make up for the tenon.

A little work with the draw knife, spoke-shave, and spindle sander gave me matching curves.  In the process I realized I had shaped the wrong end of one of the boards so the grain direction is the opposite of the stretcher… Oh well.

Tonight I will figure out how to cut a through tenon on a 5 foot long board.