The overall dimensions of the entryway table project built for this project instructions page are 16-1/2 inches wide by 55-1/4 inches long by 35 inches tall.
Step 1: Design of the Cabriole Legs Used to Build the Entryway Table Frame Assembly
Once I had finished the previous plant stand project, I found I was extremely pleased with the unique shape of the cabriole legs. At that juncture I gave some consideration to incorporating the design of the cabriole leg into the project build of the entryway table frame assembly.
Originally the plant stand was a kind of learning curve, particularly with respect to the laminations required to build the cabriole legs. For example, even a solid 2 inch thick timber would not have given sufficient material to shape the cabriole legs for the plant stand, consequently, even that design required a lamination. Laminations are only problematic in one sense: i.e. when cutting the shape on the band saw, if the blade is perpendicular to the lamination, the grain will still flow and the lamination will be virtually invisible. If, however, the band saw blade is parallel with the lamination when cutting the curvature, and crossing the lamination, the grain will show distortion at the interface.
With the new design of the entryway table, I will laminate and join two 2 inch timbers to build the entryway table leg work piece blocks, which are then milled to the dimensions of 3-1/16 x 3-1/16 x 34 inches long.
It is advisable to plan and shape the cabriole leg prior to milling and joining the lamination, this to ensure that when crossing the lamination in a parallel configuration, the grain distortion previously mentioned, will be located on the inside of the profile, and further, on one edge only.
The particular template I have designed, requires the lamination to be exactly 3-1/16 x 3-1/16. Again, this will entail crossing the interface of the laminate at 3 positions, all these on the inside edge and of these, showing on one face only.
Caution: ALWAYS THINK SAFETY!
Drill bits can shatter during use. Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools. Always disconnect power before changing drill bits.
Table Saw: 1/ Maintain concentration! 2/ Use a Riving Blade 3/ Use push sticks or feather boards 4/ Never place hands behind blade 5/ Wear goggles
Router or Radial Arm Saw: Always follow manufacturers safety guidelines.
Step 2: Cutting and Fairing the Laminations used to Build the Entryway Table Cabriole Legs
Once the lamination used to build the entryway table leg assembly has been roughly cut using the band saw, it will be noticed that the profile is rough and needs extensive fairing and sanding. Even a small plane is of little value here due to the extensive curvature. The best tool for the initial fairing is a spoke shave incorporating a flat blade. It will be found that the spoke shave will remove high spots fairly readily, leaving a clean surface ready for sanding. An excellent tool for this application.
I have an unusual method for the next step, which involves a belt sander. I secure the tool firmly in the vise and use the flat sanding surface together with the cylindrical belt guide to sand the various surfaces both flat and curved.
Following that process, I used a 6 inch orbital sander with flexible head, to remove any imperfections. The final fairing is by hand with final grit 220.
When using the orbital sander, check the wood surface continuously using your fingers long the full length of the piece. High spots should be obvious and these can be removed.
Step 3: Design of the Fascia Panel Used to Build the Entryway Table Frame Assembly Drawer Section
The overall dimensions of the front fascia used to build the entryway table frame assembly drawer section are 7 inches x 49 inches.
The top rail is 1 inch in width, and the bottom scalloped rail is 1 1/2 inches in width
The center panel used to build the inside section of the entryway table front fascia measures 3/4 inch x 4 1/2 inch. Leave marginally oversize since the center section will be cropped and will provide the front panel for the drawer.
Once cut, place the 3 center panels in the correct position, lightly clamp the center panel (drawer) and using a fine point pencil, draw the 4 reference lines.
In this particular case, the upper and lower rails used to build the outer section of the table front fascia are 1/8 inch wider than the center panels, the rear end being flush, therefore it is more prudent to reference from the rear rather than from the front as is normal.
Step 4: Design of the Panel used to Build the Entryway Table Frame Assembly Rear Section
External dimensions of the panel: 3/4 inch x 7 inch x 49 inch.
At this point we have a slight dilemma, which makes me rethink the design of the rear panel. It is a bit off the beaten track, and kind of unorthodox, but in my opinion it will work. The passage way where this entryway table will stand, is of normal width but will still place some restrictions on the width of the table so that it does not become an obstacle when transiting the entryway. Due to that factor, the depth of the central single drawer will be limited and I have found from experience that that creates problems with respect to fit and use. In order to gain an extra 2 to 3 inches in drawer depth (front to back measurement) I have decided to open up the rear panel or rail to accept the rear of the drawer when closed.
The external dimensions of the panel used to build the rear section of the entryway table frame assembly will be identical to the front fascia, however the opening will be an additional 1/16 inch all round to provide clearance.
Step 5: Design of the Left and Right Panels used to Build Entryway Table Frame Assembly End Sections
This is a small part of the design and it could be said I spent too much time on the design for that reason. However the outcome is so aesthetically pleasing that I am now glad I did spend the time and effort. Several ideas went through my mind and I considered a 7/8 x 7/8 x 10 1/2 inch raised panel arrangement. I used the Freud dual cutters, but once clamped together and in place between the cabriole legs, it was too fussy and busy. I then redesigned the arrangement to exclude the 2 routed end pieces (stiles) and used only the 10 1/4 inch long rails and extended the center bevel panels to build the revised entryway table frame assembly end sections.
Normally a design incorporating a drawer protruding through the rear plate would be considered unsightly, however due to the curvature of the rear legs, I have found it necessary to extend the depth at the rear of the table top to just clear the rear wall. The drawer projection will therefore be completely invisible.
Initially I was going to join the beveled mid section to the upper and lower rails, using dowels to reinforce the stub tenon arrangement, but eventually elected not to bother and not to glue the joints. The center panel provides little strength to the arrangement and once the rails are attached to the legs, the center panel will be held firmly in place.
NOTE: if the reader is following this design, it is important to realize that when routing the bevel on the center panel, the relative distance between router fence and router blade tip has to be identical for the beveled corners to become contiguous. Therefore, since the width of the center panel is increased by 3/4 inch to accommodate the stub tenon, the length of the center panel has to be increased by 3/4 inch to compensate for this disparity. Once the bevels are in place, the end stub tenons are severed, leaving the center panel at 10 1/4 inch length.
An alternative to this method would be to mill the center panel to the 10 1/4 inch length, then when routing the bevels, alter the router table fence by 3/8 inch to decrease the width of cut.
Step 6: Configuration of the Cabriole Leg to the End Panel Dowel Joints used to Build the Entryway Table Frame Assembly Corner Sections
Begin with the end panel, reference from the top and front, place reference mark. The rails are 7/8 inch thick and using the simple Dowelmax formula, we require a 1/16 inch spacer to center. Install the spacer between reference bracket and reference block. Install Dowelmax to align with the reference mark, drill through guides 1 & 2, set distance gauge at 2 1/32 (tip to head), install distance gauge in second bore, align and fasten Dowelmax and drill through guides 4 & 5.
The procedure for the cabriole leg to end panel dowel joint used to build the entryway table frame assembly is similar to that shown in the following video for the table front fascia to cabriole leg dowel joint.
To view destructive strength testing of these and other types of wood joints, click the following link:
Step 7: Positioning the Lower Rail used to Build the End Section of the Entryway Table Framework
With the top end dry fitted, measure down from the lower section of the routed end panel and scribe a mark at 18 inches on the inside of the cabriole leg
Position the tape measure on the exact same place on the opposite leg and carry out the same procedure.
Mill the rail (7/8 x 1 1/4 inch) and cut 1/2 inch oversize.
Due to the compound angles related to the legs, the landing surface for the lower transverse rail will not be square. A certain amount of trial and error is called for, since if viewed from a vertical point of view, the leg tapers inward at an angle approximating 3 degrees. At the same time, from a horizontal position, the leg tapers outwards approximately 1 to 2 degrees.
I angled the table saw blade and used the miter guide both set at approximately 2 degrees to achieve a good fit between the rail end and the leg face.
Material List for Entryway Table Frame Assembly:
VIDEO OF LOWER RAILS TO LEGS
Step 8: Design of the Three Panels used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Main Section
The thickness of the center section of the top assembly will be 3/4 inch, however the mitered routed trim will be 1 inch in thickness, the thicker portion overlapping the table framework.
When the top is not visible or readily visible, I usually do a straight plank system, however for our top which is visible, I like to design the top used to build the entryway table with a bit more interest, please refer to plan view. If preferred, straight planking can be used, but should be built with the three 1″ wide mitered rails.
The left, right and middle panels used to build the main section of the entryway table top assembly are edge joined from 2 – 5 3/8 inch wide pieces, and joined by 6 dowels, i.e. 4 near the outer edges and 2 in the center. The left and right panels are 12″ long and the middle panel is 20″ long.
For my design, the distance gauge was set at 6-9/16″, reference marks were applied, Dowelmax was aligned to the reference end, holes drilled through guide numbers 2 & 3, distance gauge placed in 2nd hole and with Dowelmax clamped, the procedure is repeated by drilling through 2 & 3 again. Repeat for the last 2 dowels.
Repeat the procedure for the 2 end panels, although these are shorter, still install 6 dowels at each joint. Mark the reference marks, reference to the top end, drill through guides 2 & 3, use the distance gauge set at 2-7/8″, drill through 2 & 3, use the distance gauge again and repeat process at the opposite end.
Cut the 3 center panels to the required length, however leave the widths slightly oversize to allow for trimming once joined to the 2 – 2 1/2 inch transverse rails.
Step 9: Design of the Two Transverse Rails Used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Main Section
To complete the transverse rails: to the left and right of the center panel, place these components together, mark the reference marks (in this case 3) on the 2 mating faces and 2 upper mating edges. Set the distance gauge at 1 3/4 inches, align and clamp Dowelmax as per the reference marks, and drill through guides 2 & 3. Use the distance gauge in the second bore and again drill through 2 & 3. Repeat the process for the last 2 bores.
Note: Prepare and fair the opposite edge of the transverse rail prior to gluing this component.
Glue the 2 – 2 1/2 inch transverse strips for the center panel, and take care not to damage the outer edges during the clamping procedures. Once glued and clamped, check the joined sections for truth using a straight edge. Use additional wedges or clamps as required to ensure structure is absolutely flat and true.
Once the 2 transverse (2 1/2 inch) transverse members have been installed and glued, begin the process again for the left and right panels. Always reference from the top, this to provide an even surface when trimming the edges on the table saw. Use the same spacing, i.e. 3 double rows. Refer to dry fit
When gluing, assembling and clamping, particularly in long assemblies like these, always ensure the faces are flat and true by using a suitable straight edge.
Once the first 5 components used to build the entryway table top assembly main section have been glued and cured, the reason for always referencing from the same edge will become apparent.
In other words you now have a fairly reasonable straight edge to begin trimming this part of the table top. Using that straight edge against the fence, trim a small (32nds of an inch) off the edge, then rotate the board and repeat the process at the opposite edge. Keep repeating this process until both edges are perfect and parallel.
I modified my fence on the Saw Stop table saw (the original was a disaster!) The new oak fence is absolutely true and square. This is essential for the type of procedure I am about to describe.
Step 10: Design of the Rail used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Rear Perimeter Section
The next step with respect to building the entryway table top assembly is to join the 3/4 inch x 3 1/16 inch x 49 inch rail to the rear of the table top main panel section.
I recently purchased a 6 inch jointer, however I prefer to return to the table saw for the 3 inch rail. Once again I trim a 1/64th off one edge, rotate the board and repeat the process. Keep doing this till a perfectly true edge is obtained. Align the mating faces on the center core and place reference marks and intersecting reference line as shown.
My recommendation is 10 dowels placed over the 49 inch span and while I would like a table or calculation to determine the required length of the extended distance gauge, I have discovered the problem is too complex and there are too many variables and permutations for that to be successful. It is therefore a case of trial and error. My setting on the extended distance gauge was 9 13/16 inch.
When using the distance gauge, make sure that the rod is parallel to the work piece and the point centerd on the guide block (small errors can become exaggerated along the board).
Dry fit the 10 dowel arrangement used to build the entryway table assembly rear perimeter section.
Step 11: Design of the Three Mitered Rails used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Front and Side Perimeter Sections
The 3 mitered boards used to build the entryway table top front and side perimeter sections will be designed to overlap the table frame assembly. The 7/8 inch thickness is border line, consequently I am adding a thinner section to be a more substantial edge. The finished board will be 1-1/8″ thick x 3 1/4″ in width.
To do this I took a 7/8 inch board, milled it to 3-1/4″ width, and then halved the board, again using the table saw, following which the 2 mating faces, i.e. 7/8″ x 3-1/4″ and 3/8″ x 3-1/4″ were milled on the jointer.
The area of the 2 mating faces is substantial, only a glue up is required and no screws or other fastenings.
Trimming the 2 extreme edges of the table top main panel section and rear rail assembly is a bit more problematic, with the approximate 13 1/2 inches in width. It is virtually impossible to do in the table saw. These 2 edges are required to be perfect for mating to the miter, therefore use of the chop saw is not an option in my opinion. It is therefore necessary to rig up a clamped fence arrangement and use the router with a straight carbide tipped bit.
For my set up, I needed the following:
Good quality straight edge (fence)
2 clamp pads
2 spacers (slightly less in width than the width of the table top)
1 good quality machinist’s square
It is important to ensure that the front face of the table top is absolutely perpendicular to the fence (note position of machinist square on photograph).
Step 12: Routing the Profile Edges of the Three Rails used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Forward and Side Perimeter Sections
The next step is to prepare the 3 perimeter rail boards for the decorative routed outer edge. See next photo for profile.
Before beginning the routing procedures, bear in mind that once the miters are cut, we want these profiles to match perfectly. It is essential therefore to ensure that the thickness of all 3 boards is identical. Take about 3 to 4 passes to complete each profile and ensure that when making the final cut, the router bit is at the same height for all 3 pieces.
In order to avoid wood discolouration, attempt to keep each cut continuous with no hesitation or stopping at mid section.
I am using the Dowelmax Router Lift. This is the most efficient system on the market and the steps for preparation of the cut are as follows.
(1) Insert router bit, no requirement to remove insert or move fence
(2) Raise router table with assist of twin gas springs
(3) Use wrench to lock router bit in place
(4) Sight router bit at 45 degree angle and adjust as necessary
(5) Lower table, adjust fence and begin cut as required
N.B. With lift in the open position, note easy access to shaft lock, hexagon nut, router body adjustments, speed control, power cable etc. etc.
The last and very important feature, with the lift in the open position, cleaning is simplified.
Step 13: Cutting the Mitered Ends of the Three Rails used to Build the Entryway Table Top Assembly Front and Side Perimeter Sections
Once the decorative routed edges on the 3 perimeter rails have been completed, I begin the preparation for cutting the corner miters.
Begin with the front long rail and allow for an extension of 3 1/4 inches each end to accommodate the miters.
Lightly clamp board in the proper position with even extensions on each end, (approx. 3 3/8″) then scribe a small fine line at one end at junction of the entryway table table top main section and perimeter rail assembly. This is now the reference mark for Dowelmax. Now, with this length of table top, the optimum number for dowels used to build the entryway table front perimeter section in my opinion, is 10, i.e. 5 groups of two, with the dowels at the extreme ends of the table top well clear of the edge. We use the extended distance gauge rod and we could do a calculation for spacing, however due to the numerous unknowns involved, it is better to proceed with trial and error. My distance gauge reading finished up at 9 7/8 inch. Please refer to video for procedure.
To see a condensed video demonstration of our method for doweling mitered rails to build solid wood table top assemblies, and other incredible joints click the following link:
Material List for the Entryway Table Top Assembly
Step 14: Alignment and Setup of the Longitudinal Tie Rail used to Build the Entryway Table Framework Lower Section
A slight unforeseen occurrence: After dry fitting the table assembly, I noticed that as a consequence of the leg curvature, the 2 small side rails (lower) were positioned at 3 degrees off the vertical. As a consequence I had to consider a 3 degree alteration on the long face of the adjacent decorative brackets that attach to the longitudinal rail used to build the lower section of the entryway table frame assembly. These had already been made, and since cutting the long edge on the table saw would be extremely hazardous, I made up an accurate doweled jig to accommodate this cut in the table saw. Note: wooden bracket is doweled to fence guide. Refer to photo
These 2 small decorative brackets were subsequently trimmed at the 3 degree angle and since these small brackets are directly attached to the inner part of the 2 lower end rails, I required a 3 degree shim in order to properly align Dowelmax. (It should be noted that although the dowel hole is required to be drilled into the decorative bracket at an angle of 3 degrees, a perpendicular hole is required on the adjacent lower transverse rail.
The steps to attach the decorative bracket (attaches to the lower longitudinal tie rail) are as follows:
- Scribe a line at the center of one lower transverse rail
- Measure out half of bracket width, i.e. 2 inches and draw vertical line
- Place the 2 rails together and align perfectly, use a set square to continue scribed line across both brackets. These lines indicate the reference point for Dowelmax
- The width of the small rail is 1 1/4 inch, and using the Dowelmax formula, half the width minus 3/8 inch, we require a 1/4 inch spacer to center on the rail
- With the various pieces in position, mark the relevant reference check marks or numbers.
- Align the Dowelmax guide body to the scribed line, drill 4 holes (miss guide #1 and drill through guides 2, 3, 4 & 5.
- Align Dowelmax to the appropriate end of the related bracket, miss guide #1 and drill through 2, 3, 4 & 5.
- Repeat the process for the opposite bracket.
At that juncture, dry fit the entire entryway table frame assembly using approximately 50% of the dowels and lightly clamp to ensure proper alignment. With the lower rails and brackets in place, determine the exact length of the longitudinal rail, cut to length, ensuring that both ends are cut square.
Insert rail between brackets, place check marks and drill to accept 3 dowels at each end.
Step 15: How to Build the Entryway Table Drawer Assembly
- The entryway table drawer design incorporates several features, and these are as follows:
- The two front drawer corners will be built using mitered dowel joints with no exposed laminates or wood grain,
- The rear wall will incorporate a butt joint with the rear wall butting against the inside face of the side walls,
- The bottom plate of the drawer will be recessed, again to ensure that no raw edges or laminations are visible when the drawer is open.
For the best results use test pieces for the cross cuts and miter cuts to ensure these are straight and true. Calibrate the table saw blade to be 90 degrees exactly to the bed plate and calibrate the sliding miter gauge to ensure 90 degree cross cuts.
The lower Baltic Birch plywood plate used to build the drawer is 1/2 inch thick and to reiterate, I want to recess the plate in order to hide laminations and/or raw edges. I also want to install 4 – 3/8 inch dowels to build each mitered drawer corner, therefore the recess at the lower edge of each wall would be too close to the adjacent dowel hole. For that reason, we have to recess not only the lower wall section of the drawer, but also the lower plate.
Using the router table, parallel router bit, recess the inner lower wall approximately 1/4 inch x 5 /16 inch (depth).
Dry fit the assembly and lightly clamp.
Invert drawer frame work and fit 1/2 inch drawer plate into recessed area.
Rotate drawer upright, mark section between drawer plate and inner face of drawer wall, then use router to recess plate to fully insert component.
I calculate the depth of the lower plate recess at approximately 5/32″.
Step 16: Staining and Finishing the Entryway Table Project
I may be wrong but I think that woodworkers normally assemble the project then stain and finish.
My method has evolved over the years and is without doubt, more time consuming and laborious, but in my opinion, it is by far the best method.
With the exception of a few minor assemblies, all table components are treated and stained prior to assembly.
I have built a wooden stand approximately 3 feet high, which contains adjustable centres into which all of the components can be supported and rotated during coating procedures.
On this occasion, I wanted to obtain a dark, rich finish, therefore rather than using my usual 3 parts methyl hydrate to 1 part amber shellac, I used 4 parts methyl hydrate to 1 part shellac. Brush on liberally with the grain, rub in and leave overnight.
The next step is an application of Dark Walnut gel stain. Begin by smoothing the surface using superfine steel wool. Remove all dust and steel wool particles with tack cloth, and then apply Dark Walnut stain using a brush or cloth depending on design recesses or decorative routing. The surface is by this time partially sealed; however some stain penetration will still occur. Once applied, I leave for approximately 60 seconds, then wipe off the excess and evenly rub in the stain.
After years of experimentation with cherry, I find the best results are achieved by a gradual darkening process. The next step is to apply equal amounts of Dark Walnut and Espresso gel stain, thoroughly mixed together. Proceed as the previous application and leave overnight. The final staining step is another application of gel Espresso stain, and again proceed as before.
The final step is application of the top coat which in my case is either a water based lacquer or a semi gloss polyurethane. The methods used can be spray gun or brush, I personally do not like the sponge brushes, and I have also found that the choice of a good quality brush is essential.