Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pedestal Table: Curved Aprons

I've decided to make the curved aprons for this pedestal table the old-fashioned way. These days, aprons like these are often made from several laminations of bending plywood--a perfectly viable method--but I felt that the traditional approach would be more appropriate for this project.

The first step in making traditional curved aprons is to make a pattern for the outer and inner radiuses. I like to make the initial pattern a little oversize and then trace it onto stock that has been surfaced on two sides, as you see in the photo below.

It's important to know the circumference of the apron so that you can estimate the amount of stock you'll need. Once I've traced as many pieces as I'll need, I cut the boards into manageable sizes and begin sawing out the blanks.

As I cut out the blanks, I begin stacking them in their approximate final position on the roughed-out top. Notice how the seams in the aprons do not line up. That's the whole point of building aprons in this manner rather than just sawing some curves out of thick stock. By staggering the joints this way, you're overlapping the relatively long grain towards the centers of the curves with the shorter grain of the extremities. Short grain is very prone to breaking; by overlapping short and long grain, this tendency towards breaking easily is overcome.

The next steps will be to flush-trim each blank to an exact template, then assemble the aprons. After that, I'll veneer them with vertically-oriented quartersawn maple.


neil said...

Hi Tim.......really cook'in. Show'in some stuff on the apron for us. Could you go into laying the veneer in a vertical grain orientation on to the poplar apron. The veneer thickness you plan to use. Your approach to building up the apron is real effective use of the poplar. Limited waste.....I need to make a note of that. Very curious about shaping your brick-lay after gluing.

Really neet following the build, Tim.

Do you have new business cards for your new LLC???


PS.....Tim I don't need an answer about the veneer here, just when you get there posting, you could mention your methods. No need going backward.

Tim McCready said...

Hey Neil!

I will absolutely post about the veneering process over the next few days! Thanks for stopping by so often; I really appreciate it.

I do have new business cards--would you like some?

-- Tim