Table and Top Cap
The spindles are attached to the table and the top cap using mortise-and-tenon joinery. Lay out the location of the 1/4″-wide x 1/2″-deep x 1″-long mortises on the table and top cap using the full-size drawing on the next page. Cut your mortises using a mortiser, drill press or chisel. When done, go ahead and cut the tenons to match on the spindles. I cut mine on the table saw. Dry-fit the spindles and make sure everything lines up. Take the assembly apart and set everything aside.
Legs and Notches
I attached the legs to the table using #20 biscuits. Cut the slots using a biscuit joiner and set the parts aside.
Now it’s time to make the most critical cut in the whole project: the notches in the table and top cap. These notches allow the table and top cap to squeeze inside the frame. You want the fit between these pieces to be nice and tight because it’s a highly visible area.
I cut the 5/8″ x 1/2″ notches using a dado stack in my table saw. Make several test cuts and shim the dado stack until you get just the right fit on the frame. Then, to make sure the height of the dado stack is correct, cut notches on a piece of scrap the same size as the table and see if it all fits.
Cut the notches on the sides, then cut the same size notches on the ends of the table to hold the two stops, which you’ll glue in later.
Sanding and Finishing
It’s best to sand all the parts, finish them and then assemble the project. Getting finish between the spindles would be no fun. Begin sanding with #100-grit paper and sand up to #180 grit. Now glue the stops into their notches, clamp and allow the glue to dry.
To prepare for finishing, cover all the tenons with masking tape and stuff packing peanuts into the mortises to keep finish off them.
A varnish, wiping varnish or oil/varnish blend will give the bare oak a nice warm tone that was typical of many of Wright’s pieces. Add as many coats as you need to get a nice sheen.
Begin assembly by gluing the feet to the table. Clamp and allow the glue to dry. Now place this assembly inside the frame, and glue the spindles between the table and top cap.
When the glue is dry, nail the table and top cap to the frame. Nail at an angle on the underside of the table and top cap. If any of your nail heads are sticking out when you are done, cut them off or sink them with a nail set.
Completing this project didn’t solve the historical mystery of what Wright’s print stand would actually have looked like, but it does solve the problem of where I can display my own collection of Asian prints. PW
Christopher Schwarz is editor of Popular Woodworking magazine.