Walnut Timber Mantelpiece

The six and a half inch thick, 13 foot long walnut slab filled the shop as it came from the chainsaw mill.

Beam cutter on the old worm-drive

“rough-sawn” to the max

Using the “beam-cutter” to rip the slab into a six inch square timber

Pulling the saw at the end of the cut to save the last bit of slab for the corbels

Aluminum C-channel as a guide

start of the smoothing

a jack plane with a radius set to take heavy shavings

Now the joiner

pretty obvious

chopping out for a patch over a rotten knot

the same, fitted

filing the edges of a little copper butterfly template

bench-top with tools for making butterfly templates

variety of butterfly templates

Scribing the timber for butterflies to bind the main check

Routing out the waste

chopping the rest

right up to the knife line

ready for the joining

carving the corbels (my documentation fell off for most of this process)

mating the various natural edges of the corbels to the mantel

a little further back

fitting the opposite corbel

rough-cut cove on the left corbel

both corbels with coves-cut and awaiting final shaping

apply the final touches on the ends of the timber

“C” for the covenant

installed over the fire box, and the home-owner’s sandstone work.

I look forward to seeing it with the stone work done

Gallery

Carved Spoons

Husbandry in Harvest

Sally In The Garden, traditional fiddle tune performed on banjo and fiddle
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Champion Table Build, Part 4: Base & Arc

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preparing to fit the base to the leg assembly

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defining a semicircle with 3 saw cuts

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3 saw cuts get refined into facets with a paring chisel

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and again

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then shaped with a rasp

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

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here, mated with the white oak leg

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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

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the slats also receive a long bevel

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

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clearing out material from the notch with a 1″ chisel

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establishing the final depth with a router plane

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here the slats are temporarily in place

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an arsenal of shaping tools to begin sculpting the legs

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

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forming a radius where the legs meet the base

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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.

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

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

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

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rhythm is in unity to woodwork

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the white oak timber, reconfigured as a messy arc

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work for the jack plane

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now the smoothing plane

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

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marking the taper at the width

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cutting the taper at the width

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more elbow grease with the smoothing plane

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

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then with spokeshave

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establishing details with knife

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facets ease into curves

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test fitting- some refining-shaping to go yet

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setting the location of the chamfers on the leg-base

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shaving away rasp markings

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carving corner transitions

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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

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

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

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finishing up with a #7 jack plane

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

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layout lines

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

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testing it against the table-top

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

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the white oak after squaring-up

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testing the concept and a few angles before committing

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laying out the leg joints

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establishing the sliding dovetail angle with a knife

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cutting the front of the sliding dovetail

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

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paring the back cheek of the tenon

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

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the four white oak legs all cut

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

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marking

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

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another view cutting sliding dovetail sockets

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chopping out the waste in the socket

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paring the sidewalls unreached by the saw

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

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another view of the router-plane

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starting the mortise with a 3/4 mortise chisel

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

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

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

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cleaning the sidewalls with my extra-big paring chisel

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thank God, they fit!

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

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

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

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dry re-assembly just to make sure

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the glue-up

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