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A notched, tenoned joint for stretchers of tables and chairs

As some readers will know, I’m working on a book about English Arts and Crafts furniture for the books division of Popular Woodworking. As the deadline gallops toward me, alternately provoking bouts of insomnia and hyperventilation, my work schedule has finally allowed me to start on the book’s final project, a hayrake table designed by Ernest Gimson in 1908. It’s a simple design with the usual parts: four legs, a stretcher system, an apron and a top. I was drawn to the table’s aesthetic, which combines the rustic allusion to the hayrake with sophisticated details such as stopped chamfers ending in lamb’s tongues and a chevron inlay. Gimson notes on the drawing that decorative gouging may be substituted for the inlay, at slightly lower cost. I’m going with the gouging, because I love the look.

Little did I know, when I blithely proposed to include this table in the book, that this would prove to be the most challenging project by far.

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