I brought my new coffee table home today, after we shot an “opener” image for the article on which I’m working…er…plan to start soon. As the picture above shows, it took Cleo about 15 seconds to jump on top; the other felines followed close behind. Perhaps I should have used a thick “bar top” finish. Or maybe I’ll investigate plate glass prices.
Most of the details will be in the article, but there are a few things that won’t make it in – things that I probably shouldn’t reveal – but challenges not unlike what most of us probably face while building (except of course for Chris, Glen and Bob, whose builds are like Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way).
Sloppy Finishing. Glen helped me spray the piece with two coats of shellac and a top coat of lacquer, but because the drawers go all the way through, we couldn’t spray the front dovetails in Glen’s preferred manner. That is, pull the drawer out to the scribe line as you’re spraying, and hit the joints with the finish. Why not? Well, on the other side, the drawer would be pushed in 3/4″, so you’d have to stop, wait for the coat on one side to dry, then spray the other…and that sounds like a recipe for run disaster. So, I painted the shellac on the joints up to my scribe line. And over it. More than once. Should have used blue tape at the line. But it doesn’t matter. I’m the only one who will ever see that…other than, now, all of you.
Ouch. I was working alone in the shop one evening, and decided I needed to move the table off the sawbenches on which it was resting. While it isn’t terribly heavy, I have short arms, and the dang thing slipped off one side of the benches before I had a good grip. I let most of it fall on me so as to avoid too much damage to the table (I won’t show you pictures of the bruises I suffered…we’re not that kind of magazine) but one drawer fell out and got badly dinged on a top side edge. It was a choice between planing/scraping out the damage and leaving a major divot, or just pulling off the loose bits and letting it be. I chose to let it be as a reminder to not be an idiot next time, and to wait for help. And anyway, most of the time, it’s inside the table and won’t show. The top also suffered a ding, but I sanded it out. As long as I don’t look at in raking light I can’t see it…and it’s now conveniently covered with a coaster. The dings are hidden away and no one will ever know…other than, now, all of you.
Not Quite Square. Do not adjust your dials – that slope from top to bottom of this drawer front is not an illusion. I’m not quite sure what went out of square; it could be either the table base or the drawer box. But the base was done months ago, and I didn’t want to make another drawer (I was out of nicely figured cherry, and I’m cheap). So, to make the top and bottom edges of the drawer line up with the opening, I had to plane a slope from top to bottom on the drawer front. Now, everything lines up perfectly and no one will ever know…other than, now, all of you.
Buttocks. I wanted a two-piece glue-up for the top, and in order to get the maximum width out of my piece of cherry, I had to go right to the edge of the white sapwood, so it shows a little on the bottom edge of the two long sides. I knew that was going to be the case, and I was OK with that. What I didn’t realize is that one of the short ends would look like a butt (click on the picture to enlarge it, and it’s obvious). Now, I have a lot of practice disguising a large posterior (eschew commenting please!) but I have no idea how to hide this fundament-al end. So I stuck it close to the wall – but everyone who visits will know; I won’t be able to refrain from showing my as…oops – we got in trouble the last time we used that word (see the cover of the April 2010 issue).