Olivia’s Bed – Delivery Day

Today, we delivered and set up Olivia’s bed and dresser.  There was some final assembly work and alignment of the drawers in the pedestal.  She was also taken with the idea of the cubby spaces underneath being the “lower bunks” for her stuffed critters.

The new pulls match on the dresser and the bed drawers. They are a sort of ’50s look.

 I think she is pleased.

 

Finishing Olivia’s Bed and Dresser

Finished footboard

This finishing schedule is my go-to when I need robust color. I learned the basic technique a number of years ago in a class that was put on by the Wisconsin Woodworker’s Guild featuring Jeff Jewitt. Jeff also runs Homestead Finishing.

I wanted the bed and dresser to look like they belonged together, however the bed is red oak and the dresser is cherry so an exact match is not feasible.  The dresser had been my Dad’s and was a mid-century brownish grey color. When I scraped and sanded the old finish off the dresser, the cherry had wide swaths of sapwood in the top and drawer fronts. This was too jarring for my taste. So after removing the top, I sanded the underside of it to match how the top would be and made some tests with dye and stain. This proved my theory, that dye and stain could even out the sapwood -heartwood variation nicely.

Underside of top with wiped on dye and stain
Finished top – flipped but in same orientation as the underside shot

The original finished was scraped and sanded off down to bare wood.
The colors of the cherry then showed through. However there was a lot hf difference between heartwood and sapwood. This may be why the factory finish was so opaque.

Finish schedule

  • 2x Light spray coats of Transtint medium brown dye in alcohol per label instructions.
  • 2x wash coats of 2lb cut blonde shellac also sprayed on.  These must be light coats or the shellac with dissolved dye will bleed back out of the pores resulting in “pimples”. This can be severe on the Oak
  • Scuff sand with green Scotch Brite pad. This is roughly equivalent of 220 grit sandpaper.
  • General Finishes Nutmeg gel stain . Wiped on liberally and wiped off after 10 minutes.
  • Allow to dry for one week as the oil based stain would otherwise cause adhesion problems for the following finish coats
  • 2-3x coats of General Finishes water based polyurethane – matte lustre . These were sprayed on for the head and foot-boards of the bed, brushed on all other pieces. Each coat consisting of a tack coat and flow coat from opposite edges of the pieces.  On other pieces I have used the General Finishes Endurovar or Precat Lacquer. However this was done mid-winter and this was the least obnoxious finish for indoor application (and without risk of explosion).
  • Dresser top was also rubbed down with 0000 steel wool to eliminate the last brush marks.

Progress photos

View of the headboard after the dye and shellac has been applied and the gel stain is half applied.

Headboard with dye and wash coat of shellac and half of the gel stain applied.

The headboard and footboard had plywood scraps attached to the bottoms of the legs this mad handling of them MUCH easier with no worries of tip-overs.

Pedestal drawer fronts
Dresser drawers and top
Bed base with platform and drawers
Dresser ready for hardware

 

Clamp racks

Completed F clamp racks

Clamp racks are an easy project with the CNC router. They are a good way to use up the ever increasing pile of plywood scraps.

Old F clamp rack

I had an old and very simple rack for F clamps above the bench by the radial arm saws. However, it is not very convenient requiring a long reach to pull the clamps and some of the import clamps do not fit over the bar very well.

 

Pile of pipe clamps

Another problem is that the pipe clamps are just piled in a corner by the patio door. THey were hard to get to and I was afraid of cracking the glass.

So, with some downtime from larger projects required due to recent Cubital Tunnel release surgery and a pile of plywood scraps left over from Olivia’s bed, I decided to make new clamp racks. The idea was triggered by the new Lee Valley catalog which has single row racks for sale.

The design goals were to:

  • Allow for hanging from the walls or overhead floor joists maximizing flexibility of location.
  • Provide space for multiple (4-6) clamps per row for either F clamps or pipe clamps
  • Use up the existing plywood scraps without creating more.

This meant that the dimensions had to be flexible to adapt to the scraps on hand  without cutting into a new sheet and the “back boards” needed to be a bit tall to allow for hanging from the upstairs floor joists.

Back board for F clamps – right most slots squared up

Layout for the backs was done in V-Carve Pro. The slots are 3″ high by 0.47″ wide. The mortises are then squared up with a chisel. This ended up being faster and easier than rounding the bracket tenons. You could do this with a regular router and fence as well, but remember to use 1/4 or 3/8″ bit as the slots need to be less than 1/2″ wide for a good grip on the brackets.

The brackets are 3.25″ tall. This was the width of several strips of baltic birch plywood that I had left over from making dresser drawers. The lengths were 7 to 8 ” depending on the rack.  The bottom edge is sloped at about 12 degrees – I thought it looked better than simply leaving them square. The notches at the ends are 0.7″ tall by 1/8″ wide.  This gives just enough shoulder so that the brackets are self aligning when driven home and the tenon is very slightly recessed when viewed from the back.

Apply glue to the slots and drive the brackets in with a large mallet.   They are basically self clamping.

Back of the clamp bracket

1″ screws and fender washers are added to the back for added clamping pressure and to ensure the brackets cannot pull out under load. The screws and washers had been waiting for this occasion. I had not used them previously due to bits of epoxy and the washers being stuck on the screws. They were left over from doing the deck strips of the boat.

Pipe clamp rack

Now the clamp racks are hung and the clamps are much neater and more accessible. Next I will need to rearrange the various jigs and other items on the back wall since they are easier to get to with the new racks.

F clamp racks with the light back in place

Finish is a couple of coats of shellac. This  was another left over and I need to mix up a fresh batch for the bed.

If I were doing it again I would make both racks with the jaws facing the back wall as this provides more clearance in front of the peg board.

Joinery Techniques and Minimizing Error

With each cut in a given piece of wood, it becomes “more expensive”.   In some cases, simply making a few spares for test cuts and to replace a damaged piece will work. In other cases, such as this bed, there are not good substitutes, are the pieces were chosen to have matching grain and in most cases, a given set of components were sawn from single planks of wood (arches, legs, stretchers).   This set of tips concentrates on minimizing the chance for errors destroying a partially completed piece

Centered Dadoes

The bed panels are placed in 1/2″ deep dadoes in the components (legs, stretchers, vertical dividers).  The pieces were of 3 different thicknesses to add reveals and avoid flush sanding.  As I laid it out, the components were all centered, including the dadoes.  So, this simplifies the layout but does require that all of the mortises, tenons and dadoes align perfectly in order for the panels to fit well.

I find that it is easiest to make half of the dado or mortise from one side flip the piece and complete it from the other side. This way the cuts are centered.  However, it is abit more finicky to set for width as every change that is made to the fence is doubled in the cut.   Additionally, the stock I have is not perfectly straight, with the stretchers across the headboard ending up with almost 1/8″ of bow as the wood relaxed after cutting.   While this in of itself, will not be visible in the finished piece, it does make cutting the dado  more difficult and highlights one of the choices for setup.

When cutting the centered dadoes, the blade should be cutting on the side AWAY from the fence as shown above. This way, if the stock bows slightly or the operator lurches and lets the stock move away from the fence, the error in the cut is directed towards the center of the dado rather than making an unsightly gouge on the outer edge.  This allows for a second (or third) pass, to clean up the joint or to use a hand plane to do the final adjustments as shown below.  When cutting the dadoes I typically use a single blade for 1/4″ grooves and a dado blade (wobbler or stack) for wider grooves. Just be sure to set the width of the cut to only about 2/3 of the width of the final groove width to allow for the 2nd cut to make the centered groove and leave room for errors without gouging the cut too wide.

I really like the Veritas Side Rabbet Plane shown above. It is far superior to the other two that I own (a Stanley and a Wood River).

Routed dadoes for decorative spindles

The spindles on the headboard arches are made from stock that was leftover  from Isla’s crib.  They are 1 3/4″ wide and 1/2″ thick.  They fit into plunge cut dadoes in the arches. A 1/2″ solid carbide end mill was used to make the cuts. The router is guided by a fence.  When routing with a fence you want the router cut to pull the fence tight against the work piece, so that you are not fighting the tool and risking an errant cut.  So with the fence on the side towards you, the cut progresses left to right.

Knowing where to stop the cut, is the hardest part, as the marks are obscured by sawdust and often some smoke. 

To make the start and stop points more visible, I use green masking tape, which is made for striping. It is thinner and stickier than the blue tape. The color also provides a lot of contrast against the wood. The next trick, is to plunge the start and end of the cut straight down. This makes for an easy start and stop for the successive passes.   Each pass should be half of the diameter of the bit or less. This is a general rule I learned when calculating feeds and speeds for the CNC router.  With the ends of the cut defined you don’t have to try to start and stop exactly on the line, which takes a lot of the stress out of the cuts.

Biscuits in small close quarters

The stock width for the legs and arches does not allow much room for error with the biscuits.  There are #0 biscuits on the tops of the legs and # 10 on the sides. There is <1/8″ of width left over on the cuts, so any slippage will show. Additionally, the ends of the pieces are too narrow for the retractable pins of the biscuit jointer to grab hold.  So, my cure was to clamp the piece down firmly so it does not move and then clamp the biscuit jointer fence to the piece prior to plunging in.  This took the risk and suspense out of the cuts.  It just took ~30 seconds longer to set up for each cut.

Biscuits for the plywood boxes

The base of the bed is made from plywood and biscuited together. To have good alignment of the parts requires that a fence be clamped to the parts prior to cutting and the measurements for the middle dividers be made consistently from one end (foot end was my choice).

Clamps as squares

The boxes for the drawers under the bed need to be square.  The easy way to achieve this (other than good square cuts) is to use the clamps as part of the jigs to square up the box. By placing the end clamps tight up against the box sides, they cause the box to self align. Note that you need large parallel face clamps like the Bessey K-body or Jorgensen Cabinet Master or Revo . Ordinary F clamps or pipe clamps will not work for this trick.

Olivia’s Bed – Headboard and Footboard

The head and footboard are constructed from solid 8/4 red oak for the legs and arches. The cross bars are 6/4 thickness.  The panels are nominally 1/2″ thick.

Panels

The panels in each are laminated form 2 sheets of nominal 1/4″ plywood. The pretty quarter sawn oak plywood is only 1/4″ thick and I was afraid that eventually the kids would put a foot through it so I laminated a lesser grade of oak plywood onto  it for the sides that are not readily seen (facing the mattress and the wall behind the headboard).

Panel with glue applied

The panel pieces are 26.5″ wide and 13-17″ tall. The pieces are rough cut to size and glued with Titebond Cold Press glue. This glue is designed for vacuum pressing of veneers.  On the work surface, I have piled multiple layers of scrap kraft packing paper. This way I can pull off a sheet after glueing up each panel. This avoids accidentally getting glue drips on the veneer faces and either having a splotch or inadvertently gluing the stacked panels together. I use a notched spreader with its finest v-notches for spreading the glue (barely visible in the lower right corner).  The front and back of each piece are taped together with some blue masking tape.

Next, the pieces are placed in the vacuum bag. Given that I am using a 4×4′ bag I need to stack the pieces, otherwise there is not enough room in a single pressing for all of them. I place the pairs with the lesser quality veneers facing each other. I usually also place a piece of paper between the pieces so they don’t get stuck together and pull of bits of veneer (and I forgot this time). This is a budget vacuum bagging setup with home made bag and used surplus vacuum pump (and the rig is due for an upgrade) .

Side rabbet plane in use

With the panels glued up and trimmed to size the footboard can be assembled. There was a bit of trimming of the dadoes that the panels fit in. The plane shown is made just for this task.   This is my 3rd one (Veritas Side Rabbet Plane) and works FAR FAR better than my old Stanley (very had to adjust and would not hold) or the Woodcraft / Wood River (crappy blades).   This is a particular tool where going for a good one saves a LOT of frustration.  Trimming the sides of the dadoes is never easy but this tool does it well.

Footboard Assembly

Once everything is dry fitted, the parts are sanded to 220 grit. Note that as I designed this, there are offsets or reveals at every joint. This means no having to plane and sand the joints flush. This is a big time savings and I think it also adds visual interest.  It is also a necessity if using a finish first / glue second technique as I have done on other beds and Isla’s crib.  This bed is conventionally done assemble first and finish second as I wanted the arches for the headboard to be the same thickness as the legs.

 

 

Footboard clamped up

The footboard assembly is pretty straightforward.The full size footboard can be clamped using a combination of the workbench end vise and pipe clamps. It also needed the diagonal clamp to square it up. Even though the joints looked tight it was about 1/8″ off top to bottom.

Headboard panels

The headboard panels need to be trimmed to fit. The arches were marked out with a batten so there is no template. The easiest thing to do is to use the arch to scribe the cut line.  A fence was set along the bottom edge of the panel at twice the dado depth. This way the arch edge could be traced onto the panel from underneath.

Headboard panel ready for tracing
Traced arch outline on panel

The arch was then cut on the 12″ bandsaw with a 1/4″ skip tooth blade.  There was a bit of fitting to do for the panels.

Headboard assembly

The headboard was then glued up starting with Titebond 3 for the stretcher tenons and the dadoes for the panels. Once the stretchers were loosely assembled the panels were inserted. For the arches,  tinted and thickened epoxy for the arches.  The epoxy was used to gain some extra strength and make up for some slop in a couple of the biscuit slots.  The top 3 decorative spacers are simply set in their (tight) slots with no glue.  This was a 2 person job with Teal helping as the gluing assistant.

While this was curing, I glued up the first of the base cabinets. There are 2 of these and they are primarily held together with biscuits per the FWW article.  

There was a bit of clean up on the headboard arch joints. The ends of the top arch were purposely about 1/16″ long and needed to be planed flush with the legs. The bottom arch needed a slight amount of planing for a perfect match to the leg posts.

 

Olivia’s Bed – First Cuts

Some cuts, such as the legs and horizontal rails are quite straight forward.  However, the headboard top arches are not, requiring a specific sequence of cuts to not waste material and get good crisp joints. When I was purchasing the wood, one piece stood out as a perfect candidate for the top arches. However, it had little extra width to spare. This ruled out cutting the arches on the CNC router, as I could not spare the extra half inch for the router bit.

The sketch below from my notebook, shows the sequence of cuts but the upper edge is not shown (and it must be parallel to the bottom edge as it is the reference in cuts 7 and 8.  The layout of the arches was done with a wooden batten board about 3/8″ thick. Unfortunately, I did not have enough hands or enough patience to get photos of that part of the process.

Arches cut sequence

The ends (cuts 1&2) were made to overhang the leg posts by ~1/16″ on each end. I figured it would be easier to trim the ends of the top arch rather than the whole of the length of the legs to fit. Cut 3 frees up the top arch and then with the table saw fence set, cuts 5 and 6 are made. Be sure to make them on the “top side” of the line so that when you clean up the underside of the top arch, you do not intrude on the joints.  Some may say that my cuts (4&5) were excessively conservative in this regard (oh well – learn  from my mistakes).  When making large radius cuts like these, use a wide blade. I had a 3/4″ blade in my 24″ 7.5HP bandsaw for this. Yes, a 12-14″ bandsaw with a 1/2″ 3 TPI skip tooth blade would work great for these cuts. The ripples you see in the cuts are due to the blade having been previously kinked and then pounded out sort of flat due to a free hand log bandsawing missile mishap a few years ago (another story for another time).

After Cut 3 which separates the upper and lower arches, you can do 4&5 which set the bottom of the top arch square. Cuts 7&8 set the width of the headboard. So these are critical to get right. These cuts are referenced to the “bottom” of the board and shown above.

After the lower arch is cut out, and the bottom of the top arch (cuts 4&5) are made it is time for a dry fit up to see if things are aligning properly. As you can see above, the joints line up nicely. Now I can proceed with the final arch cuts.

Once the arches are cut out, it is time to do the final shaping and smoothing. This requires a spokeshave for the concave surfaces, a hand plane for the convex and a large sanding block with 60, 80, 120 grit sanding belt stock (yes there is a second life for broken sanding belts).  A card scraper works over select sections that need help.

As you can see in the photo above, the legs have mortises for the horizontal cross rails.  I like to cut the tenons for long pieces like the cross rails on the radial arm saw, equipped with a stacked dado blade set. 

The arches are joined with biscuits. Two #0 biscuits are used for each joint.  The headboard also gains strength from the large  (1×1.5×1″) tenons on the cross rails , one of which you can see being cut above.

The biscuit slots in the leg and top arch are shown below. Close-up of the initial fit up of the head board arches.

This is the headboard first dry fit assembly    Next will be the panels and dividers.

 

 

 

 

 

A Bed for Olivia

With another child on the way, my grand-daughter Olivia will need to give up her old crib / bed for the new child in a few months.   So it is time to make her a bed that will last for a few generations.

Kelly and David wanted one with storage underneath. We sent photos of various options back and forth. The lofted ones were discarded. The one closest to what they wanted had an arched headboard and low footboard. They did not want a very tall headboard, so that it could be placed in front of the window.  I did some more digging and ran across an article on Fine Woodworking for a storage under a bed.   David and Kelly did not care for that bed design but liked the storage.   So now it was time to rough out the design in Sketchup.

 Each side would have 2 drawers and a cubby at the headboard end. This allows for placing nightstands alongside without obstructing the storage. The drawers will run on undermount drawer slides.  The flat panels in the head and footboards are not terribly large and as luck would have it, I can use a beautiful piece of quarter sawn oak plywood left over from the last Dresser Project end panels for the forward facing sides!

The drawer faces will be inset slightly from the dividers. As I modeled overlay drawers, they just did not look right next to the cubby. We can play with the amount of inset, 3/4″ is shown in the rendered image.

I often have some extra days off around the Christmas and New Year and there is generally a furniture project that takes up much of that time . This year it is Olivia’s bed.

Now it was time to run to the local lumber mill – Kettle Moraine Hardwoods for the solid stock.  I found some beautiful 8/4 Red Oak for the posts and arches and 6/4 for the horizontal rails. There was a good selection of 4/4 #1 Common that really would have been Select if it was longer.  I came back with easily twice what I needed for the project (always build back stock).  A few days later, David and I made a trip to Menards for the rest of the plywood. I did not need any “fancy plywood” as most of it will be hidden, so I could not justify a trip up to Alpine Plywood (which is where the quarter sawn oak plywood came from).

Next:

Basement sink area remodel

When we built the house I had a utility sink put in the basement shop. It has served well over the years but the lack of a counter-top and ugly old file cabinets for tool storage coupled with being a cold area in the winter due to the walls being half exposed, it was time for a remodel.   This area is under our dinette. The space is also used for paint / finish storage, metal lathe and some lumber storage.

The new area had to have a large sink – big enough for brew kettles, fermenters and kegs.  Dual faucets – one high reach for cleaning and a second with garden hose connection for an immersion cooler for brewing.  Solid surface counter top and storage that looks nice were also required.

First step was to pull the sink, remove the old file cabinets and storage shelves. Next the two walls were covered with plastic vapor barrier, framed in, electrical roughed in, plumbing roughed in with the valves installed (needed to have the water back on), insulation installed and the dry wall done.  Pretty basic stuff.

Now the fun began. The starting point was the sink, a 36″ Ruvati farm house stainless was ordered. A high arch Kohler faucet was found on sale and the Kohly utility sink faucet was ordered. FOr utility faucets, you need to check that they are NSF approved for drinking water – many are not.    A trip to the Baraboo Habitat for Humanity Restore provided the quartz counter top pieces.  Birch plywood was procured for the cabinetry and I had some maple lumber already on hand for the face frame and the edges of the planned shaker style doors and drawer faces.

Cabinet walls are 3/4 ” birch plywood. These were screwed and shimmed to the end walls and the intermediate pieces were placed to allow for a 5-6″ counter lip to the left of the sink and approximately equal sized ranks of drawers to the right of the sink.

Using pocket screws the assembly goes quickly. I just have the Kreg mini jig and their clamp (which is very nice). A few of the pocket holes had to be done with the jig held by hand. Using double stick carpet tape on the back of the jig helps tremendously.

First test with the sink.   The braces need to be moved so that the sink ends up 1/4″ or so under the counter top to allow the top to be installed and pieces epoxied together. The braces are held up by blocks screwed to the cabinet sides. This allows for easy adjustment and is very secure without the need for fancy joinery. The braces rest on the blocks and have a couple of pocket screws to prevent twisting under load

The day I had to cut and polish the top and edges was miserable: 35 dropping to 31 degrees, drizzle turned to rain and then snow as I was outside wet sawing and wet grinding and polishing the edges. I came afterwards in a soaked and frozen popsicle.  Paul came and helped lift the larger piece into place.  The faucet and soap dispenser holes were cut in the back piece prior to installation.  The 3 pieces were glued with thick 30 minute epoxy.  Below you can see the counter top installed, glued in place. Next the top joints were ground and polished flush.

Next the sink was inserted (I could have left a bit more room). Clear silicone was applied to the top lip of the sink and then it was wedged upwards into position. The backsplash is made of marble mosaic tiles (another close out special). Marble has the advantage of having finished edges unlike many mosaic tiles.

The drawers are simple plywood boxes with drawer lock joints. This is a fast, strong and easy way to make the drawers and all you need is a table saw.  Below is a close up of one of the joints.  

The drawers are mounted to full extension K&V slides. I added spacer blocks on the inside of the cabinet so the slides would clear the face frame. This was far less expensive than the special face frame brackets for the slides would have been, plus I did not have a plywood back on the cabinets which is needed for the rear brackets if they are used.  Drawers are  8, 10 and 11″ tall allowing room for power tool storage.

Shaker style doors are easy to make on the table saw. All of the pieces get a 3/8″ deep dado and the rails get 3/8″ tenons on the ends. The plywood panels are also glued in place in a few spots adding to the rigidity. 

Finish is 3 coats of satin water based polyurethane that was brushed on.   Tools are in the drawers and the space is ready for the next batch of beer.

 

Cutting and polishing countertops

We have wanted to replace a couple of the bathroom countertops for some time. I saw some nice pieces for very reasonable prices at a Habitat ReStore. So I did some research on Youtube and was convinced I could do it myself. I needed a couple more tools:

  • Diamond wet saw: DEWALT DWC860W 4-3/8-Inch Wet/Dry Masonry Saw
  • Wet grinder / polisher: Stadea SWP103K Variable Speed Wet Polisher Grinder Electric Wet Sander – Granite Countertop Polishing Kit
  • A few 4.5″ Turbo Diamond blades were needed for the saw and my angle grinder.
  • A 1 3/8″ diameter diamond core drill was needed for the faucet holes.

Now I purchased a couple of pieces of granite and one of quartz . IT was on 2 trips to the Restore as once I started and saw how easy it actually is, we accelerated the timing of the master bath upgrade. These are all 3cm thick.

Aside from unloading from the truck and final placement, I was able to move the slaps by myself, walking them into place and laying them on the 2x4s that were the work surface.

When doing the cutting and polishing a good dusk mask, glasses and hearing protection are required.   There can be a LOT of dust and little chips are constantly flying off.

A metal straight edge is used to guide the saw.  Given that I am working on the floor without enough height for clamps, I used double stick carpet tape on the bottom of the guide and spring clamps

For each cut, start by back cutting a bit at the end. This is to prevent uneven chip out. You just need to go back a few inches.  Then start with the main cut.   Here you can also see one mistake. I used a Sharpie on the quartz for my marks. This did not come off even with Xylol and the marks had to be polished out (800-3000 grit)!

 

Even angle cuts are easily made.

 

The corner radius is done with the polisher. A 50 grit pad works quickly. You just need to always keep moving. Then work yup through the grits and don’t skip any . To polish the entire end took <20 minutes to sequence through all of the grits up to 3000. I had a Workmate to hold the end of the piece so it stayed vertical.

The sink cut outs were a bit daunting as there are no straight lines for the 2 we chose.  Position the template, tape down one edge then lift it to put some contrasting vinyl or duct tape under the cut lines. Check for overlap and then cut through the template and the tape with a razor knife.

Remove the template and peel the inner pieces of the tape off and this is ready to cut.

Start with diagonal slices for the corners   You can also cut across the center.  However that is not really necessary

Next do the sides. At this point the piece will not drop out as there are still arcs on the bottom that are not cut through.

Make a few more angled cuts . Break out the narrow wedges with a large screwdriver and then it just drops out.

Make a few more nibbling cuts with the wet saw and switch to the angle grinder.

Ready to test fit.

It does fit – first try. I did put green masking tape on the back  to avoid scratching the blue paint.

Same in granite.

The diamond blade for the saw took a bit of beating but is still cutting reasonably well. The polishing pads have hardly any wear.  I had bought a spare set but I am really impressed with these Stadea D series grinding / polishing pads. I also really like the grinder. Nice soft start /stop and rugged construction.

 

Entryway bench

Teal has wanted a bench by the front door to use when putting on shoes. This would be better than sitting on the stairs.

Last time we were at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods, the local lumber mill, we came across an interesting Elm slab that was about the right size. So it went in the truck with the rest of the lumber.  Our floors are Red Elm, so this complements them nicely.

The slab had cracks in it due to the knots. The largest cracks was filled with some  matching fine sawdust. All of the cracks were then flooded a few times with thin Cyanoacrylate glue.   The slab was then planned and belt sanded.

Teal wanted the front edge left as a live edge, but it still needed some clean up.   This was done with spokeshaves and sandpaper. The edges were rounded over with a block plane.

The top was finished with: two coats of Bona DTS sealer, lightly scraped between coats to get rid of the raised grain fibers, and then sanded with 220 grit. Then, two coats of General Finishes Enduovar Polyurethane Matte lustre finish were applied.  These were all brushed on as this small surface area did not justify breaking out the sprayer.

The legs were a bit of a problem as there is a heating duct coming up right were one of the legs should go.  This lead to an unconventional design idea. The legs would be curved, and support it in the front and a ledger bar screwed to the wall in the back.

The legs are made from two 1/8″ sheets of steel. The template was made fr0m 1/8″ hardboard. The curves were made with the aid of a thin batten (wood strip)  that was bent to shape and traced.  The template was cut out on the bandsaw and the edges sanded smooth.  The steel sheets were stacked and the template clamped to them and the pieces were then cut with the plasma cutter (and it was snowing again that day).

The edges of the steel were ground clean. It is very hard to weld through the plasma cut edge as is as the steel forms a nitride / oxide coating during the plasma cutting.

The bottom end of the “Y” was also spaced apart. This gives the legs a bit of a flair. 1 small scrap of 1/8″ steel was placed in for the first 3 inches or so.

The edges were then TIG welded shut and ground to a nice curve.

The top of the legs is a piece of 1/8×1″ steel  and the feet are 1/4x1x3″ steel. These had the corners rounded, holes drilled in the top pieces and then were also TIG welded onto the legs.

Given that I am new to TIG welding, through the process I stuck the tungsten tip more than once. The TIG welding process has a bit of learning curve, especially for someone that does not chew gum, as that would preclude walking for me.  Managing the torch and then adding the filler rod without getting the electrode contaminated is a bit of a trick and I also roasted my fingers a few times in the process. Once the electrode is contaminated, definitely stop and change it out, trying to make do, just makes a mess and things get way too hot.  I can safely say my tungsten grinding skills are now quite good. Welding will take more practice, but I did get a few really nice beads along the way. I think getting a really nice bead now and then helps suck  you in and makes you forget the frustrations of the learning process.

Afterwards the legs were given one more pass with an 80 grit flap disk and were ready for painting.  One coat of primer and 2 coats of satin black. I like the Rustoleum Pro spray paints for this.  They dry fast and hard and have a decent re-coat window. I have used these for most of my tool  builds & rebuilds.