Phase 4 : Legs

A few days ago I finally started on the base.  First up, cut­ting the rest of my lum­ber to size. This time around I hunted down a friend that I found out had a table saw.  After the top deba­cle I had no plans on try­ing to cut the entire base to size with a cir­cu­lar saw again.

Here are the results…

So yeah, a table saw pretty much kicks ass.  I'm kick­ing myself for not track­ing down one sooner.  I didn't even bother to plane the legs.  I just glued those suck­ers together.

Oh how my painfully jagged top would have appre­ci­ated a table saw.  Ah well. Live and learn.  I broke down and have a power hand planer arriv­ing today to try and deal with my top woes.  After hours of plan­ing it became clear my top would not get fixed by hand.

Sur­pris­ingly, the Porter-Cable was the only one that came with a dust bag.  Seems triv­ial but after using a router with­out dust col­lec­tion, no thanks.  Attempts to find a dust bag for the oth­ers either came up empty or expen­sive.  This one, with dust col­lec­tion, was sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper and got decent reviews.  Hope­fully it holds up.

And yes, I could have bought new lum­ber, bor­rowed my friends table saw, and redid my entire top with­out need for the power planer for a frac­tion of the cost.  But then I wouldn't have a cool new power tool.


Dog Hole Board

Towards the end of my plan­ing & glue up stage I chis­eled out my dog hole board.  I decided to go with square holes rather than just drilling in hole at the end, 1. because I think they look cooler, 2. see #1.

I decided to cut them to fit a dog that's 1" by 34".  I first cut out a "gold dog" to use as a bench­mark for each hole.

I set my holes 4" apart and tilted 2 degrees.  I used my gold dog to draw every­thing out.  They may not be exact, but they'll at least all be the same.  This metal pro­trac­tor from Home­De­pot worked great to mea­sure the angles.

Since I don't yet have a vice I used this lit­tle trick a num­ber of times.  Works quite well…

I locked my board down with a Ver­i­tas Won­der Dog.  This thing worked great.

On rec­om­men­da­tions from Wood­man I bought a Japan­ese hand saw for most of my cut­ting.  Another rec­om­men­da­tion that was spot on.  Cut down to my lines then used my chis­els to chop them out.

Once the major­ity of the waste was out I worked on mak­ing each hole fairly exact. I used my gold dog for ref­er­ence.

Only two left!

That took a fair amount of time.  I had it down to about 20 min­utes per hole in the end.  Though after the first 6 I took a few days off because of blis­ter my small chis­els worked up on the palm of my hand.

I tried to keep them as sharp as pos­si­ble with a water stone but flat­ten­ing chisel backs and  keep­ing a razor sharp edge was also a lesson in patience.


Phase 2 : Planing & Gluing

The next few months were mostly spent wrapped up in work, and trav­el­ing.  Even­tu­ally I got back to plan­ing and glu­ing.

I added some holes to my tem­po­rary work­bench, cre­ated some sim­ple dogs and went to town.

 They started out pretty bad:

After attempt­ing to square each board I'd glue it up.  The first two…

I used a piece of card­board to spread the glue nice and even.  Seemed to work pretty good.

Then more plan­ing…


I even­tu­ally glued up enough until I made it to the board where I wanted my dog holes.  I took a break from plan­ing & dove into some chis­el­ing.  Once my dog hole board was done that got glued up.  Unfor­tu­nately I needed one more clamp so I hacked this together:

A lit­tle sad but it did the job.  Need­less to say I ran out and bought a few more pipe clamps.

Finally, the top was all glued up.  The plan­ning def­i­nitely helped square the faces and keep the top rel­a­tively straight with out too many gaps.  Well, too many gaps for what I'm con­sid­er­ing accept­able.

The biggest issue is, as you can see, the hor­ri­bly dif­fer­ent sized widths.  I mostly focused on get­ting square faces for the glu­ing and less on fix­ing the width issues.  That's tomor­row Mike's prob­lem.

A word on my clamps…

I decided to use pipe clamps rather than the far more expen­sive F clamps you can get at Home­De­pot.  These where key and worked great.  I decided on 36" sil­ver gal­va­nized pipe with 34" Jor­gensen Pipe Clamp Fix­tures.  There's some debate about black pipe vs. gal­va­nized.  I decided on gal­va­nized based on some rec­om­men­da­tions, the fact I didn't want every­thing black, and it was cheaper.  The only issue I've noticed is they gouge where the clamp rests.  It doesn't seem to be a real prob­lem but it does make the springs fairly dif­fi­cult to dis­en­gage when you loosen the clamp.