The Champion Table Build, Part 5: Carving and Inlay


sanding and refining the shape of the legs


carving some details into the lower horizontal member of the leg assemblies


“C” for Champion


the lower leg joints, reinforced with screws, concealed by pegs


cut flush and sanded


the legs are finished, awaiting only final sanding immediately prior to finishing


refining the shape of the arc, the brace between the leg assemblies


one of many facet transitions and chamfers across the arc


another of those transitions, in this case, the arcs contribution to the connecting joint


adjusting the shoulder of the arc where it meets the walnut of the leg assembly


a lot of enjoyment watching the play of light and shadow


lets of test fitting of the base


my son roughing out a billet of walnut for some stubby spindles. The spindles will connect the arc to the top-central horizontal rail connecting the leg assemblies, preventing any propensity to rack along the length of the table


here are the spindles in place as well as a bit of carving on the side of the arc


another view of the arc, upside down, an enjoyable shape- part moon, part smile, part rainbow, part horns, it is one of my favorite parts of this table


beginning work on the table-top again- softening the edges with a block plane


after making paper versions, laying out some walnut shapes that will be inlayed into the table-top


re-sawing bits of highly figured walnut for all of the special details


along with the decorative inlays, being positioned here are some butterfly-keys, which help to stabilize the splits and inclusions in the walnut making up the table-top


after determining the composition and placement, all the parts get some double-sided carpet tape…


…and are then stuck in place so that they don’t shift when their outlines are being scribed into the top with a knife


after everything has been scribed, the majority of the cavity is established with a small spiral carbide bit in the electric router


the rest of the inlay cavity is cut out with sharp chisels. The scribe-line is particularly nice at this stage, giving a positive registration for the tip of the chisel


there was a place on one of the walnut planks that had a corner that couldn’t get reconciled in the flattening stages without making it too thin- the remedy was a patch of really pretty walnut


clamps were used on the top, where they could reach whatever was being inlayed


cleaning the floor and corners of one of the recesses for those butterfly keys


glue and clamp…


a little congregation of butterflies ready to be made flush with the top, the crack itself, will get filled with epoxy, after the bark has been removed


cutting out some of the inlay cavities for the central design


lots of chopping up to the line


there are a lot of pictures of me hunched over the top of this table, because I was hunched over the top of this table a lot


piece by piece, being tapped into place with my indispensable two-sided rubber mallet


planing the first round of inlays fush to the surface


glueing up some ebony for the next round of inlay work


the elements of the central design positioned and ready


a few more ebony details being cut out at the scroll saw


the slow process of accurately scribing every edge with an “Exacto” knife


clearing out as much as possible with the router, carefully to stay just shy of my lines


my life for a good portion of October


ofter hours of knife, chisel, and dental tool work, the inlay cavity for the crown of thorns is about ready for the ebony


a modified dental tool in action clearing out the acute corners of the cavities, somewhat appropriate


…still hunched over…


some of the inlay uses molten sulphur… being melted here in a spoon


molten sulphur is an eerie and beautiful thing, if not pungent to the point of being toxic


poured into carved voids it marks a lovely luminous contrast to black walnut


also very porous- not so good for a table top- an improved sulfur inlay was devised. First grinding some sulphur crystals with mortar and pestle…


the sulphur pigment is then introduced to some two-part epoxy


the resultant paste is pressed into the top layer of the earlier sulphur inlay, filling the pores and yielding a slightly tougher surface


the inlay work done and all the other voids being filled with epoxy, final sanding has begun


as the process goes, there are many flaws in my inlay work that need to be addressed. Out come the pigments and filler


it is an enjoyable process that takes me into the realms of another of my lines of work


then more sanding


this marks the end of this second to last post in the building of the Champion Table, I won’t reveal the finished piece until it’s new owners have had a chance to see it in person. Thank you all for offering your support and comments, or just following along silently. I remain immensely grateful for the kind encouragement which each represents, and I look forward to sharing the finished piece with you all as well.

Husbandry in Harvest

Sally In The Garden, traditional fiddle tune performed on banjo and fiddle
husbandry in harvest02 husbandry in harvest08 husbandry in harvest07 husbandry in harvest39 husbandry in harvest41 husbandry in harvest40 husbandry in harvest03 husbandry in harvest11 husbandry in harvest12 husbandry in harvest14 husbandry in harvest13 husbandry in harvest04 husbandry in harvest06 husbandry in harvest05 husbandry in harvest18 husbandry in harvest19 husbandry in harvest42 husbandry in harvest43 husbandry in harvest15 husbandry in harvest16 husbandry in harvest17 husbandry in harvest10 husbandry in harvest33 husbandry in harvest34 husbandry in harvest26 husbandry in harvest36 husbandry in harvest27 husbandry in harvest32 husbandry in harvest31 husbandry in harvest30 husbandry in harvest37 husbandry in harvest29 husbandry in harvest35 husbandry in harvest28 husbandry in harvest01 husbandry in harvest22 husbandry in harvest20 husbandry in harvest21 husbandry in harvest23 husbandry in harvest24 husbandry in harvest09 husbandry in harvest44 husbandry in harvest49 husbandry in harvest48 husbandry in harvest45 husbandry in harvest46 husbandry in harvest47 husbandry in harvest38 husbandry in harvest25

Champion Table Build, Part 4: Base & Arc

base arc01

preparing to fit the base to the leg assembly

base arc03

defining a semicircle with 3 saw cuts

base arc02

3 saw cuts get refined into facets with a paring chisel

base arc04

and again

base arc05

then shaped with a rasp

base arc06

the base of one of the leg assemblies after the 1/2 lap-tapered dado has been cut

base arc07

here, mated with the white oak leg

base arc09

a different piece of white oak being shaped with a rasp, one of three slats joining the top of the leg assemblies together and to the table top

base arc08

the slats also receive a long bevel

base arc10

the slats will rest in the notches being cut into the top of this leg section

base arc11

clearing out material from the notch with a 1″ chisel

base arc12

establishing the final depth with a router plane

base arc13

here the slats are temporarily in place

base arc14

an arsenal of shaping tools to begin sculpting the legs

base arc16

shaping inside-curves of the leg assembly with an aggressive rasp

base arc17

forming a radius where the legs meet the base

base arc18

the preliminary drawings had a horizontal stretcher connecting the two leg assemblies at floor level. Having rough-shaped the components and taking a look, I started visualizing an arc instead. PVC pipe (already bent from a previous life in some low garden tunnels) offered a quick prototype to help see how it would look.

base arc19

the arc made sense, so now setting about squaring up a white oak timber for re-sawing

base arc20

re-sawn white oak and a glue-lamination form ready to make an arc

base arc21

the glue lamination in the form- my 8 year old son was indispensable in this process, helping to roll glue, assemble, and clamp

base arc22

rhythm is in unity to woodwork

base arc23

the white oak timber, reconfigured as a messy arc

base arc24

work for the jack plane

base arc26

now the smoothing plane

base arc25

cutting the tapers along the length of the arc at the band saw

base arc28

marking the taper at the width

base arc29

cutting the taper at the width

base arc30

more elbow grease with the smoothing plane

base arc31

shaping the many curves and facets along the arc, first with a drawknife

base arc32

then with spokeshave

base arc33

establishing details with knife

base arc34

facets ease into curves

base arc35

test fitting- some refining-shaping to go yet

base arc36

setting the location of the chamfers on the leg-base

base arc38

shaving away rasp markings

base arc39

carving corner transitions

base arc37

so many details to bring together- here the leg base is about done.

That’s it for this round- next week there will be lots of sanding, also carving and inlay work as the table finally starts to become unified. Thank you to everyone for following along, and for your encouraging comments.

The Champion Table Build, Part 3: Leg Joinery

champion table 301

flattening walnut stock with a wooden joiner for the top rails of the leg assembly

champion table 302

using winding-sticks to make sure there is no twist in the board

champion table 303

finishing up with a #7 jack plane

champion table 304

squaring up the remaining edges and dimensioning the walnut on the bandsaw

champion table 307

layout lines

champion table 308

initial shaping of the curves on the top rail of the legs

champion table 309

testing it against the table-top

champion table 310

sawing lengths of white-oak for the vertical posts of the leg assembly

champion table 311

the white oak after squaring-up

champion table 312

testing the concept and a few angles before committing

champion table 316

laying out the leg joints

champion table 317

establishing the sliding dovetail angle with a knife

champion table 318

cutting the front of the sliding dovetail

champion table 319

all the bandsaw work done, now the hand-tools will finish

champion table 320

paring the back cheek of the tenon

champion table 321

the joint is most of the way there- the waste between the mortise and the dovetail is yet to be removed

champion table 322

the four white oak legs all cut

champion table 323

the arsenal of tools to accurately transfer the dimensions of the tenon/ dovetails onto the walnut rails

champion table 306


champion table 324

starting the cut for the sliding dovetail socket with a carcass saw

champion table 325

another view cutting sliding dovetail sockets

champion table 326

chopping out the waste in the socket

champion table 327

paring the sidewalls unreached by the saw

champion table 328

using a router plane to achieve an accurate floor of the joint- the leg on the cutter allows it to reach the angled corners

champion table 329

another view of the router-plane

champion table 330

starting the mortise with a 3/4 mortise chisel

champion table 331

the first row is delicate- just establishing the shape and protecting the corners

champion table 332

going the full depth of the mortise with an auger – you can see the round-topped sliding dovetail socket parallel to the mortise

champion table 333

squaring the mortise the rest of the way with the mortise chisel

champion table 336

cleaning the sidewalls with my extra-big paring chisel

champion table 334

thank God, they fit!

champion table 335

step one is successful- to get to this point took endless drawings and two complete practice joints and a lot of patience

champion table 313

marking the leg rails for some shaping/ sculpting cuts on the band saw

champion table 337

the top rails post rough-shaping, and the taper of one of the white-oak legs marked with blue tape

champion table 338

dry re-assembly just to make sure

champion table 339

the glue-up

champion table 340

next week will concern the joining of the bottom rail and the final shaping of the leg assemblies

Der Aufbau des Champion-Tisches, Teil 2: Rand

Champion Table Build Part219

surface preparation with a Stanley #80 scraper

Champion Table Build Part218

the swirly walnut grain is difficult to plane but the scraper is able to deal with it efficiently

Champion Table Build Part201

beginning to fit the side rails and bread-board ends

Champion Table Build Part203

marking the end cuts with a sharp knife

Champion Table Build Part202

then creating a shoulder along that line with a chisel assures a clean cut without tearing the grain

Champion Table Build Part204

cutting along the shoulder with a sharp crosscut saw

Champion Table Build Part206

a small array of saws to do this job

Champion Table Build Part205

cutting the central breadboard tenon

Champion Table Build Part207

coming up to the other side with a pull-saw

Champion Table Build Part208

both ends of the table are now cut

Champion Table Build Part209

cutting the base of the tenon “cheeks”

Champion Table Build Part210

really no other position to accurately make this cut

Champion Table Build Part211

cutting away the “cheeks”

Champion Table Build Part212

the finished tenon, and a groove has been cut to receive a floating tongue to align the breadboard

Champion Table Build Part213

laying out the positions of the mortise and tenons on the side rails and breadboards

Champion Table Build Part214

cutting the tenon on the side rails

Champion Table Build Part216

checking for a tight fit. the side rails are attached with glued tongue and groove joints, while the breadboards are “floating”, held in place by a tongue and groove joint and two “draw-bored” mortise and tenon joints, which will allow for expansion and contraction where the grain intersects perpendicular rather than parallel, yet holding the boards tight to the edge of the table. Two opposing corners are pinned miters and the other two are mortised.  imagine the table being able to expand in width along the length of the two boards left long to see the allowance for seasonal cross grain movement.

Champion Table Build Part220

treating the edges before the final assembly

Champion Table Build Part217

drilling for the dowels for the pinned miter joints where the live edges come together

Champion Table Build Part221

a brad point drill marks the center of the tenon inside

Champion Table Build Part222

re-marking the tenon with an offset so that the dowel pin will “draw” it tight to the edge of the table.  the holes will be elongated laterally to allow for joint movement.

Champion Table Build Part223

altering geometry with violence

Champion Table Build Part224

shaping the dowel pins by pounding the straight oak through a succession of smaller holes drilled in a steel plate until they are round and the size I need

Champion Table Build Part225

nearly there

Champion Table Build Part227

a batch of pins

Champion Table Build Part226

planing a taper

Champion Table Build Part228

the taper will allow the pin to engage the offset hole in the tenon and slowly pull it tight

Champion Table Build Part230

pounding the pins home for the final assembly

Champion Table Build Part229

a little help form a ratchet strap to pull the center tight

Champion Table Build Part232

cutting away the exposed ends with a saw

Champion Table Build Part233

a tightly pinned joint

Champion Table Build Part234

the top all joined. there will be a considerable amount of detail work on the top yet, but first the base


The Champion Table Build, Part 1: Compose, Scribe and Fit

Champion Table Scribe02

the beauty of God’s edge

Champion Table Scribe04

composing pieces

Champion Table Scribe01

flattening black walnut with a router and jig

Champion Table Scribe03

more looking, more composing

Champion Table Scribe05

smoothing and shaping edges

Champion Table Scribe07

smoothing and joining white oak

Champion Table Scribe06

assembling white oak panels

Champion Table Scribe08

white oak and black walnut adjusted and clamped for scribing

Champion Table Scribe09

knife scribing every curve

Champion Table Scribe10

the white oak panel marked and ready to cut

Champion Table Scribe12

rough cutting on the bandsaw, staying about 1/16th to 1/8th away from the scribed line

Champion Table Scribe13

cutting the line deeper

Champion Table Scribe14

paring away the waste to establish a shoulder along the scribe-line

Champion Table Scribe16

making the shoulders broad and deep

Champion Table Scribe17

chopping and paring right up to the line

Champion Table Scribe15

the shoulder becomes a jig to cut the rest of the piece right to the line using a pattern bit and router

Champion Table Scribe18

after cutting a slot for a floating tenon, dry-fitting pieces

Champion Table Scribe19

the floating tenons cut and laid out

Champion Table Scribe20

tenons glued in

Champion Table Scribe21

glued and clamped

Champion Table Scribe22

joining and smoothing the new edges

Champion Table Scribe23

on to the next step…

Holy, the Lesser Saints

holy, the lesser saints35

the lesser saints

holy, the lesser saints06

weave their quiet

holy, the lesser saints43

agile stories

holy, the lesser saints09

amongst the lives

holy, the lesser saints05

of greater lights

holy, the lesser saints27

holy, the lesser saints

holy, the lesser saints03

the color

holy, the lesser saints07

upon their brows

holy, the lesser saints48

they do not cry out

holy, the lesser saints04

they do not turn

holy, the lesser saints01

hearts raised like rafters

holy, the lesser saints02


holy, the lesser saints15

forever orbiting

holy, the lesser saints12

tireless in quest

holy, the lesser saints18

the sphere of your glory

holy, the lesser saints10

to enter and remain

holy, the lesser saints08

bring newer life

holy, the lesser saints29

from ancient tribes

holy, the lesser saints39

all in anticipation

holy, the lesser saints14

groaning in the yearning

holy, the lesser saints17

their own eternal ribbon voice

holy, the lesser saints22

those who have ears…

holy, the lesser saints26

let them hear

holy, the lesser saints11

holy, the lesser saints

holy, the lesser saints24

bring your longing

holy, the lesser saints20

bring your capacity

holy, the lesser saints28

for fullness

holy, the lesser saints40

in the life of the soil

holy, the lesser saints34

countless prophets

holy, the lesser saints45

behold and know

holy, the lesser saints33

see and have understanding

holy, the lesser saints21

awaken, members of wholeness

holy, the lesser saints23

you are provision

holy, the lesser saints25

you are appointed

holy, the lesser saints30

little lights, you are His

holy, the lesser saints32

lesser saints

holy, the lesser saints36

holding up mountains

holy, the lesser saints13

echoes of distant voice

holy, the lesser saints31

priests of the eternal present

holy, the lesser saints47

fierce and strange

holy, the lesser saints37

are the quiet ones

holy, the lesser saints42

in silent witness

holy, the lesser saints19

givers of the heart of God

holy, the lesser saints41

receiving and giving from the heart of God

holy, the lesser saints46

celebrating mystery in plain-ness

holy, the lesser saints44

in infinite variety and order

holy, the lesser saints49

teach the spiritual truths of rest and labor

holy, the lesser saints16

sweat and awe

holy, the lesser saints38

all from silent knees and horns

holy, the lesser saints50

in the unending world, glory will be known forever


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 479 other followers