My goal for today was to get the Thorsen side table more or less constructed today, leaving the finishing to do at the same time as the “Thorsen Cabinet” I’m making. I think I’m at that point, although I may need to re-make the lower shelf. More about that in a bit.
Yesterday I got the joinery finished on the breadboard ends for the top. Picking up from there, the next job was to make all of the “mortises” for the ebony pegs. I picked up a set of the square punches the Lee Valley sells. Well, it was a father’s day gift from my wife. OK, actually my wife forgot to get me anything, so I got them for myself. So she wouldn’t feel bad. Right?
Anyway, these are very handy. They made short work of the Sapele. When I used them the first time on White Oak they didn’t bite as week as I thought they should, but on Sapele they did the trick without any hesitation. Not that they didn’t work well on the Oak, it just took a few more hits with the hammer than I expected. I’m using a pretty light hammer though.
I laid out all of the locations using a story stick to get the spacing even. I used a marking gauge to find the center of the edges (the breadboard ends are about 1/8″ thicker than the top), and then marked the location with an awl.
Then I drilled each pilot hole. Each punch uses a drill bit that is 3.32″ smaller than the punch size. With a brad point bit it was simple to drop it in the awl mark and drill about 3/8″ to 1/2″ deep.
Then I used the drill to locate the square chisel over the hole. I used a small square to get the chisel straight, then removed the drill bit and hammered the chisel in.
After pulling the square punch out of the hole I use a smaller chisel to break up the waste and clean the bottom of the hole. It only takes a minute to do one hole – it took longer to write this than to do the holes I think.
The other thing I had to do — which took way longer than the horses — was to shape the ends of the breadboard caps and sand everything smooth. I started with a 1/8″ round over bit, then 150 grit shop roll and a single cut file. Then lots of hand sanding to try to get organic-looking contours and make everything feel nice to the touch. Finally I wet the parts to raise the grain.
I used a little glue in the middle, and screwed through the breadboard end (in the square holes) to hold these together. I made the screw holes slightly oversized, hopefully enough to allow the wood to move.
I also notched the corners for the lower shelf and cut a rabbet on the back. Unfortunately, the lower shelf cupped pretty badly since I made it last weekend. With the middle sitting flat the ends are at least 3/16″ up off the bench. I’m hoping it will straighten itself out by laying it on the garage floor overnight. If not, I’ll have to make another part.
I like how the table looks at this stage, once I get the ebony plugs in and build up some color it should be a nice piece.
I have a boatload of ebony pegs to make, maybe one night this week I can get out in the shop can do that. Then the stained glass for the Thorsen cabinet, and finish.