How to Make a Table: Episode 6
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We’re ready to cut the turnbuttons for fixing the tabletop to the base. Paul then shows how to plane the top of the frame without splitting out any end grain. To finish the construction process, the final step is to position the table frame on the table top and screw the turnbuttons in place. To round out the project, Paul applies a few coats of danish oil finish with a cloth. Then the table is ready for use.
I’m using Oak for my table.
Is it ok to use the same yellow finished steel screws or should they be Brass?
I know that Iron reacts with the Tannins in Oak leaving Black stains
People should buy Nitrile (usually blue) disposable gloves not common Latex ‘Examination Gloves’ for oil finishes and solvents – Latex gloves will Melt
(Marigold type kitchen gloves are Ok though)
It is standard advise not to use steel because the steel does react with the tannic acid naturally occurring in oak at higher levels than most woods. The steel rusts more quickly for one thong and especially if exposed to wet conditions and also the steel and tannin react to create a black stain in the wood. That said, in most cases no problem occurs at all. We might ten to avoid it because it because if we don’t know the conditions the chair is going into to live which could lead to problems. I own furniture I made decades ago and have had no problems.
Also, while we are here, plated steel screws offer little resistance to the tannic acid more because often the friction in inserting the screw burns and abrades off the coating. The choice which you do is yours. In times past I believe more projects were made that still had higher moisture contents than we might experience today because there was no kiln drying and living conditions had higher humidity in homes too.
Thank you master Paul.
I usually wipe off the excess varnish and oil with a paper towel. I noticed it doesn’t leave any marks.
Spontaneous combustion occurs with ‘drying oils’, esp boiled linseed oil.
The process of polymerization is exothermic, thus heat is generated by drying. Combustion usually does not occur in minutes (typically an hour or two in hot weather conditions). Rapid drying conditions are a risk factor, and lightly dampened rags are at higher risk than dripping wet ones.
Placing rags in a pile which prevents dissipation of heat is a risk factor for fire. Conversely, laying them out flat separately (not stacked or folded) reduces risk (eg laying them out flat on your driveway). Complete Immersion in a non-flammable (metal) bucket or can of water pretty much eliminates risk, and it is a good practice to place discarded rags laid out flat out of doors away from flammable materials to dry. Once completely dry, you will need a spark or heat source to get fire since a completely cured finish no longer generates heat.
I have a question concerning my tenons. One of my aprons is almost not quite a 1/32″ longer than the other after I’ve cut the shoulders for my tenons. and its allowing a gap in the joint. How do you take off the needed amount using hand tools. I know how to on the cabinet saw, but its such a small amount its hard to get a line scribed all the way around without the marking knife wanting to slip off the side of the shoulder. A shoulder plane, Still that’s hard without a line to work to. In my case here it’s actually a rail for a face frame of a cabinet Im building and I have a hard time getting the edge shoulders to line up with the face and back shoulders there always seems to be a gap there also, That’s another question altogether I know and I’m truly sorry but while I’ve got you on the phone thought I would ask. lol..
You know I’ve heard Paul mention this a thousand times about how the chisel compress’s the knife wall back some but I’ve never remember hearing him give us a fix for this problem. Do you try to compensate by making the knife wall a little less than the actual width of the opposing component? What’s up widat Mr. Doc Sellers?
Mark the correct shoulder position with a knifewall and pare down with a chisel.
From my experience with compression from chopping a knifewall versus sawing is that you need to be consistent.
The compression is an inevitable by product of chopping on a knifewall. Its not too much but its enough to move it a hair. The upside is you don’t have to pare and you have a clean wall of endgrain.
Sawing is slightly faster but you have to clean up with a chisel.
I get that part using the chisel after you have already used the saw to cut the shoulders. My problem in this case was that my measurement had gotten off somehow…. and after I had cleaned up the fuzzy bits , as Paul calls them. my rail shoulder needed another 32 nd taken off in order to make it the same length as my lower Rail. It wasnt quite a 32nd so when I tried to make a knife line the knife wanted to slip off the side of my tenon shoulder because it was slightly out of square as well.
So basically I was looking for a method to repairing that type of mistake. I finally got it last night using my shoulder Plane. But I know that everybody doesn’t have a shoulder plane so I was wondering if there was another method that Paul might have up in his trick of sleeves that never seem to be empty.lol and that could possibly give me another option in the event I didnt own a shoulder plane.
Truth be told last night was the first time I ever had success using a shoulder plane. I wouldn’t even embarrass myself and say what I thought that plane was used for.
Im one of those woodworkers who put the cart in front of the horse and bought the tools first. I knew that If I didn’t buy the tools while I still had some money that somebody in my Family would find another place for MY money to reside, So I had to act fast. One upside to doing that its like waking up to christmas morning all the time. lol. Thank you for helping that was nice of you.
The only reliable way I know is to be very careful to hold the square exactly in place when scribing the new knife wall. Also make sure that your knife is sharp. Other than that, there is no technique that I know of.
Concerning compression and the knifewall, the only way to avoid compression is to chisel some waste out to allow for the bevel of the chisel, so that it doesn’t have much or any sideways resistance when chopping. That is what we do for housing dadoes and in many other instances.
Hope that helps,
Some people think the greatest invention of the 20th century was the automobile, cell phone, or the Internet. I think it’s the cordless drill.
Thanks Paul, I enjoyed this series – it consolidated a lot of your table related teaching in one project.
I would love to see you follow up with a video detailing how you would scale this up as far as a dinning table (more detailed than the Q&A, but wouldn’t necessarily involve the construction).
Also, I would love to see you do a round table top, and some sliding dovetails in a project.
I think this was a great series. Sometimes I glean as much information from Paul’s responses to comments as I do from the actual video. and of course Phil’s responses too. Better give Phil a raise.
a squirt of water on the vice jaws gives a nice bit of friction to hold your workpiece.
Turnbuttons, finally we’re to something that I’ve not seen Paul do before, or done myself. Whoot. Thanks. Now I can build my tables. wp
What you say Paul about spontaneous combustion is without doubt possible, any oxidising oil can ignite on a celulose rag.
However, as a former glazier who used up to 20 gallons a week of BLO, usually mopped up with old hessian scrim or whatever rags were about then thrown in the raves of the van, over 45 years I never witnessed it in practice?
Neither have I felt any increase in temp in old oil soaked rags.
Maybe conditions have to be just right?
The rags kept in a sealed container perhaps?
Is there any way to make the absorption of finish on end grain more consistent with that of long grain? The difference in value due to the greater absorption of end grain is very bothersome to me.
@ORCASEA Sanding the end grain to a high grit can burnish the end grain and reduce how much stain or dye it absorbs. What you do depends upon the type of wood and the degree of end grain. Experiment with some scrap. I usually find that 320 or 600 gives a substantial change. The non- end grain would be sanded to something like 180 or 220. I usually stop at 180 other than on the end grain.
You may need to glue some paper onto a small paddle to give you enough control to hit just the end grain. Let me know how it works for you!
Thanks, Ed, great advice!
Next time I deal with that situation I will give it a try. It makes perfect sense!
Awesome video as always, Im very appreciative of Paul and the team demystifying so many aspects of woodworking/ joinery/ cabinet making. So thanks guys.
I have a question about the intention of the turn buttons;
Is the distance between the top of the mortise on the rails and the top of the rail intended to match exactly with the depth of the step down on the turn button? ie when the turn button is screwed and seated on the underside of the tabletop, it just kisses the inside of the mortise.
OR perhaps there is meant to be a slight undersizing to allow consolidation of the fibres and pull the tabletop down onto the top of the frame?
Thanks again guys, keep it all coming!
You want a very slight gap at the front edge nearest the mortise, to pull the tabletop down onto the base.
Thanks for the quick reply, I can cut me some turn buttons now!
That’s a great project, really fun to watch! How did you remove the queeze-out glue at the aprons? Did you leave it to dry and scrape it off or something like that or did you directly wipe it off after glueing it together? What is in general the best way to remove glue?
Thanks for your work, thanks for sharing your experience even for free! I really appreciate that!
When making a larger table, would the turnbuttons be sized up also?
Thanks for your your question.
No they would not.
How would the design change you wanted to use a recessed top? I have a small slab of marble that I’ve been wanting to use as a table top, but I’m not sure how to incorporate it into this design. My knee-jerk reaction would be to expand the buttons into slots that run closer to the full-length of the sides (and lower them so the top is flush with the sides) and then just allow gravity to keep the top in place. Am I on the right track?
Thank you for your comment, however there’s not enough information here for Paul to give an answer.
Would you mind expanding a bit and we’ll do our best to help!
I have a similar thing in mind, so if I understand you correctly, you are thinking of not using turn buttons, and to put a rabbet on the inside edge that will support the marble slab?
I was planning on putting a couple of cross braces in underneath my top, so that I could apply a couple of beads of silicone just to help secure the top in case children happened to the table.
Learned a lot from this series (and others as well). Thank you!
Does Paul recommend any specific type or brand of wood glue for the glueing up process?
Our sister site- Common Woodworking has in the consumables guide a write up on glue from Paul: https://commonwoodworking.com/consumables-guide/