Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oak Library Table

I'm sorry I've been away from the blog for so long, kind readers.  It's been a very busy time at the shop.  I've recently completed a suite of museum cases for our state capitol (more about that in another post soon), several stain-grade architectural projects, and a variety of smaller odds-and-ends.

Presently I'm working on the library table below.  It's in red oak which will be bleached and limed.  The photo shows the piece where I left it tonight.  Tomorrow I'll be refining some of the shapes a bit more and adding feet--almost more like big toes--to the ends of the bases.

For those of you who follow theses posts and wonder if I actually turned the big columns on my grandfather's old lathe, the answer is yes.

Here's a series of shots detailing the construction of the breadboard ends.  This first photo gives you a sense of the overall design.  A 3/8" stub tenon fits into a groove running the length of the breadboard.  Longer tenons are spaced along the tabletop's width.

During the penultimate dry fit I bore 17/64" holes through the breadboards and the tenons on the end of the top.  You'll see below how the outermost holes in the tenons are elongated to allow for the top's expansion and shrinkage.  In fact, only the two center tenons are glued for this same reason.  

Below you'll see the final joint with its pegs sheared flush with the top's surface.

Lastly, here's a shot of finish samples I'll FedEx to my client tomorrow morning!


jamie said...

Is there any structural advantage to the breadboard end? Or is it just for looks? Which came first, the breadboard method or the breadboard?

jbreau said...

hello, just a quick question... what does bleaching and liming do? i'm pretty sure i got the bleaching clear in my head, but the liming?

Tim McCready said...

Jamie: Breadboard ends are employed as an anti-cupping measure on wide tops. Because of the oversized mortises towards the outsides of the top, the piece can still expand and contract seasonally, but the strength of the breadboard end prevents cupping for the most part. I don't know where the name came from, although I'd bet that this method was once employed to keep kitchen work tables flat.

Tim McCready said...

jbreau: Limed oak is usually just oak with a light colored, thinned paint most of which is removed from the surface. It gives the look of a piece which was once painted then incompletely stripped. Normally, I'd complete the liming process without bleaching the wood, but in the case the client is looking for wood with virtually zero red tones in it.

You can find a good article about all of this in the December 1989 issue of "Fine Woodworking."