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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Drop Leaf Cherry Table - Install Hinges and Miter the Drop Leaves

Well I have had an interesting few days with this table.   Installing the hinges was no big deal but once I installed two of the drop leaves, I could see where the design error occurred.

One of my Youtube followers Ross Hastings made the comment after the last video, that he could not see how the drop leaves would work.  He was correct and I did not see it.

I have been following the design and details of a table in the Met Museum and I assumed that it would work.  Although, I did not see it when I was there.  I am now convinced that the table leaves on the work that is in the museum would not drop to hang at 90 degrees to the top.  At least what I can see from the photos.

I will start with putting on the hinges.  I decided to put them 4 inches from the edge.  I used the measurements from the practice hinges that I did earlier.

I marked them all out and then clamped the work pieces on the work bench so I could use my router plane. I used a bench chisel to set in the markings on the board so they acted as stops for the router plane.

Using the router plane makes nice flat bottomed mortises but it is slow since you can only take off a little at a time.  It is still much better than chopping them out with a bench chisel. I am doing both the top and the drop leaf at the same time since they need to be the same depth.

Since it is cross grain planing I need to pick out some of the chips.

All done with the mortises, I tape the drop leaf where I want it, I leave a 1/32 inch gap to allow for expansion.  Then I turn it over and mount the hinges.

I use a vix bit for self centering in the small screw holes in the hinges.

I put wax on the screws and used my screw gun to insert the screws.  I have the torque setting on 1 which is the least. These are 5/8 inch brass screws.

Testing the drop leaf to see that it moves freely.  I still don't notice that two leaves can not go down at  the same time.

After I put on the second leaf, I put the top on the base and check to see how they move.  Surprise!
They bump into each other.  I should have seen that coming a long time ago.

At this point I go back to the original pictures and see if I missed something. I blew up the section where the drop leaf meets and it does not seem to be correct.  Which means this top will not work correctly.  Not sure whether this is the original or a replacement top and leaves.  But I can not see it working as it is presented... Oh well live and learn.

I made a half of a drop leaf from poplar. Doug Moulder came over to the shop and assisted in figuring out that it is a 30 degree miter right and left.  So this is how it will look.

The only other alternative is to make the top smaller and include the top in the circle.  Doug Moulder researched it looking for alternative methods and came up with this.

You can see that the table top triangle is included in the circle and that about 1 1/2 inch is in the cut off, leaving enough room for the leaves to drop.   This could be done with my top and drop leaves but it would be quite a bit smaller.  I would also have to make the base smaller as well.

I decided not to do that but miter the corners as I have done in the test pieces.
So I mitered the corners and this is what I got.

Doesn't look bad to me. So now I am going to work on the support mechanism.

Here is today's video:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Drop Leaf Cherry Table Making the Stringing and Drop Leaf Joints - Step 5

I have been busy the last two days in the shop.  The top has been more work than I thought but it is coming along well.

After gluing up the top, the joints were not close enough to be acceptable so Doug Moulder suggested that I hide these joints with some inlay stringing.

I have some left over tiger maple from a previous project that should make a nice contrasting decorative inlay string.

I cut it into 1/16 inch strips and then cut the 1/16 inch strips into 1/8 inch wide strips on my table saw with a zero clearance throat plate.

I used 1/8 inch router bit in some scrap cherry to test the width of the stringing.  It is just slightly wider than the slot.  I'll trim the stringing to fit in the slot later.

I made a measuring board which is half the width of the router base so I can set up the clamping boards to route the groove for the stringing.  I test the set up here on a piece of scrap plywood.

Looks like this set up will work.  So, I set it up on the table top. Here it is ready to go, notice that I have marked the center where the three will meet.  I don't want to go too far, so I stopped short of the center and cut them with a bench chisel.

Last one routed now.   Now I chisel out the center.

I made a simple jig to clamp the stringing in so I could trim the stringing to fit in the grooves. Just two pieces of scrap with a 1/8 inch groove between the two boards.  Three screws pinch the stringing between to hold it while I use my low angle block plane to trim it to size.

Good tight fit.

Stringing glued in after mitering the three in the center with a bench chisel. They have 30 degree points. 

Now I start to work on the drop leaves.  I milled the board that I selected earlier and used a circle template to trace the circle on to the milled board.  I free handed the circle cut on the band saw leaving myself about a 1//32 extra to be sanded off on the spindle sander.

Here are the three drop leaves next to the triangle top before I routed the rule joint on the two edges.
I matched the grain to the three sides as best I could.

After routing the rule joint, I had to miter the corners where the two drop leaves come together.  This is a 60 degree cut, so I set it up on a piece of MDF angled at 60 degrees and then used a guide to cut the 90 degree cut off by hand.

Here is how it goes together.  The top with the 5/8 inch round over with 1/8 in fillet, and the 5/8 inch hollow that I cut with the core box bit.

And now put together.  I will fill that small opening in the end of the top.

I also put an ogee edge on the out side of the drop leaves. 

So here it is altogether, ready for the hinges.  I am glad that is done.

Here is today's video:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Drop Leaf Cherry Table - Rule Joint and Making the Top - Step 4

I decided to tackle the rule joint for the drop leaves next.  I did some research found a couple of old articles in Fine Woodworking on how to make a rule joint.  I could use my hollows and rounds but as it happens I need a 5/8 inch round over with 1/8 fillet and a matching hollow.

 I just happen to have a 5/8 inch round over and matching core box router bit.  I used some scrap cherry that I had which I milled to 3/4 inch.

I made multiple passes to sneak up on the final size.  As you can see here there is 1/8 fillet before the round over and cove begin.
I had ordered hinges from Horton Brasses last week and they arrived on Monday.
So now I need to layout and cut the mortises for the hinges.

There is a long and short side to the hinge and of course a deeper area where the barrel of the hinge rests.

I used my Lee Valley router plane to cut these mortises.

I am cutting both mortises at the same time as I lower the blade of the router plane it makes it easier to get both of them to the same depth. After a little work I attached the hinge and placed it on the table frame.

One of the main reasons that I made the practice joint was to see that the 5/8 inch over hang was enough to allow the drop leaves to hang vertical.

Looks good. Now I can swing it horizontal.
I still have to design a support mechanism for the leaf but I do that later.  I am happy with the joint and hinge design.

Now I have to find material for the top.  It will be made from three pieces mitered in the center to make the 25 inches necessary to have long grain on the three sides.  They should come from the same board so the grain and color match.

I have three old cherry boards here which should work.  I need 7 1/4 inches by 25 inches for the top three pieces and 7 5/8 inches by 26 inches for the three drop leaves.  I want them to be all the same color.  Since the boards are triangles and curves I can work around defects in the boards.

After I mill the stock to 3/4 inch they look very good with a little quilting in the gain.  Should be a pretty top.

Cutting the top triangles is a real challenge for me.  I set up the radial arm saw at 30 degrees and made a template that I thought was perfect.  Then I used the template to set the saw angle with the teeth of the blade riding against the template.

Well two out of three isn't good enough.  The third one did not fit tight enough for me.

So I decided to scribe lines on to a new piece and hand saw the angles.

It worked pretty well but I still had to use a hand plane to finish the edges.

The gaps are closer but not perfect.

Now I added a groove on each of the joints which is 1/4 inch wide and 3/8 inch deep for a spline to hold things together.  As you can see when I will glue it there is a lot of end grain to end grain glue surface so a spline is required.

I built a frame with wedges to hold the triangle together as I glued up the three parts.

Even after I applied the wedges I couldn't get the joint lines as tight as I would like, so I am going to have to do something to make it look better.   Doug Moulder suggested that I put string inlay along the joint lines to fill them in.  I think it is a good idea.  I have to buy or make some contrasting stringing.

Next will be to put the rule joint on the edges when it dries.

Here is today's video: