in this case an acronym, “L(ive) O(ak) S(ide) T(able)”. More obscure would be to combine the non-leading letters … iveAkIdeAble. All that would be missing is that which is lost.. 🙂

I had a nice piece of live oak, roughly 4 feet by a foot and a half. In the living room there was a piece of cumaru atop four milk crates that served as a side table. I love milk crates for their utility, configurability, etc, but don’t think it proper to live in a milk crate constructed world, first class for a third world though it may be. The fullness of time gradually plays out and so I came to this creation. The first idea, knee-jerk, was to give it four legs, much as tables are wont to have, pictured below with the pieces held in arrangement by gravity, a very temporary arrangement.

I shared the idea. Generally the feedback received was the legs weren’t right. Ever attentive to nuanced appreciators, let me say that again, a-sketching I went, looking to appease the collective muse. We know that sometimes rationalists don sombreros. I think that’s what the muse was getting at, that the standard four square didn’t really go with the free flow top.

The drawing seemed to satisify. Undertaken was the challenge.

One of the four legs I turned into two feet, another repurposed as a crossbar. The wood of all these not live oak but rather of fairly old (harvested originally ~1820, upcycled from a fallen barn in 2020, born from an acorn likely sometime in the life of that scourge of indigenous “Christopher Columbus”.

My preferred woodworking principle is no metal. While screws are strong their aesthetic is so weak. The ankles here got me in trouble, relative to those principles. I used half inch dowels from the bottom up into the legs. Those didn’t stop the unacceptable level of play. A better design could have solved but I’d rushed forward (or backward) too fast. From the bottom again I drilled shallow 3/8 holes and inside those drove 3 inch screws, two for each leg. High stability was achieved. I plugged the 3/8 inch holes with bits of walnut dowel. Sin hidden but not much of a fig leaf. The same sin repeated in attaching the leg assembly to the table top. Behold the shame!

Kind eyes see differently, or at least one hopes. Compromises ignored, the result appears decent to me.

and so there is the tale. My primary learning was to be a little more cautious in assumptions about the functional characteristics of a design. I like the table though, it’s just an easy show off of a nice piece of wood.

All the best to you dear readers.

December Adjustments

Referencing back to ‘October Organizations‘, specifically the piles of wood on the right, there are positive functional adjustments.

This may look devil-may-care, but far from it really. Pieces requiring proper stacking are stacked (ok, that was hasty), the pile itself can be circumnavigated, and the long table top aspect is at the right height to double as a temporary workbench.

Here it is layered in protective scrap 2 x 8’s. It served nicely to harvest boards from the wiggly cherry standing in the background.

Table 4

This was so easy. A nice piece of cumaru. An old Singer treadle sewing machine base. Two pieces of 6/4 oak to offset to the proper height. Oak affixed to tabletop with dowels at slightly off right angles. Base attached to oak with 2.5 inch hex topped wood screws.

Corners traced from top of cookie tin. Edges rounded with a router. Finish is the usual – sanded to 220 grit, tung oil and limonene.

Now if only the treadle could be connected to a generator to supply power to the desk. Could be a fitness desk. For the moment though, it serves happily.

Table 3

Oh what momentum, a second table finished in a five day period, this is a boonful harbinger, yes boonful I say, for the coming year.

The top is of Padauk, (wood database, wiki), just a gorgeous wood both to look upon and with which to work.  The legs and bracing are cut from a single piece of black oak, which of course is in the red oak family.

There are many non-fatal flaws of imprecision in this piece.  The lower twixt legs cross beams are doweled to the legs (no error there) and likewise there are high twixt leg crossbeams, intending to be flush to the table bottom but in one case not succeeding.

The tops of the legs are rectangular and divided into two squares, one (one the side of the leg perpendicular to the table bottom) protruding half an inch higher than the other.  A corresponding shallow blind mortise is notched into the table bottom.  During assembly the table fop was set upside down and said cavities were filled with T-88 structural epoxy.  The legs were set into these, the high cross beams doweled at angle into the table top, and the overhanging second (square) portions of the rectangle (meant to be but not always flush to the tabletop) also doweled at angle into the tabletop.  Those joints should be of more than sufficient strength.

The legs and superstructure where sanded to 80 grit with all corners softened.   The tabletop to 220 grit.  Tung oil and limonene will finish all surfaces… food safe!  As an aside, this is my knee-jerk go to finish.  If anyone wants fancier, please, at your leisure proceed.

In that second photo note the chair at bottom right and the red vise top right of center.  Both formerly of my great grandfather, Walter, born 1885 and passed in 1974.  I remember visiting the last house he lived in and finding a wooden model of an airplane in his attic.  It occurred to me today that he would have been well a grown man before airplanes entered the mass consciousness.

Anyway, thank you kind readers

Table 2

Greetings to you all, the imagined motley horde that delights in all this narrative of experience, the pain, the beauty, the wisdom, the delicious nuance and plaintive sharing.  Today I have good news, though it will be broken into two segments, one per table, for today I have completed the second of two tables, tables that were for far too long in neglectful and partial states of completion.

This is a white oak (quartersawn) end table, suitable for a lamp and a book adjacent to an armchair or a couch.

The only noteworthy error is that the plane describe by the shelf is not perfectly parallel to the plane described by the surface of the table.  It is a small divergence, but yet a small divergence projected over a sufficient distance will certainly be observed – for example, the astronauts who calculate that they missed the moon by only 0.0000131 of a degree, which unfortunately translates into 1147 miles and a cold trip to eternity.  Thankfully no lives here depend on sufficient correctness.  I just would seem conscienceless not to report the discrepancy.  I consulted with two domestic authorities who assured me that the error did not matter.

Otherwise it’s basically very nice, click to see the nice quartersawn figure.  This table is an overdue gift for my mother.  It was inspired by her having purchased 3 imported end tables of low price and quality.  I’m no fan of the blithering CarrotTop but at the same time I have never been able to understand why it is not important to be able to deliver quality domestically at a decent price, especially when (as not at this moment) there’s not full employment.  So in a way this is a protest table.  Turn off the television, skill up, make things, make good things, make your time on the planet useful.  (This is a public service message)

Thank you all as always


Table 1

This is the first fruit of the new jointer being set up.  The joined boards were initially merely tests of having no daylight whatsoever in the joint, of having the joined boards form an honest plane, of the strength of the joint, etc.  The ‘no daylight’ requirement was fully met.  The ‘honest plane’ requirement, perhaps not fully.  I think the combination of making sure to consistently and equally pressure the board (passing of the jointer cutting head) to the fence and the blade) as well as insuring that the fence is “””perfectly””” (can’t put that in quotes enough) at 90 degrees are the refinements to be made, as well as to be more rigorous about what compromises can be accepted.

Table 1 A

The top is two pieces of zebrawood and the bottom is three pieces of birch, set perpendicularly to the top.  For each joined plane a piece of mahogany is notched into the cedar legs so that it goes across the seam of the joints it is supporting.

There are a lot of little imperfections in this one (as if that’s not always true), but I did not undertake it with any purpose except that I learn something.  The bonus benefit is that I had a Cable/DVD thing that resting on some milk crates inside the house.  Now I can have the use of those milk crates in the wood shop and house can have an upgrade.  Win-win, it seems (house and work room) with perhaps another thrown in (experience/knowledge).

Table 1 B