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How to Engineer an Expanding Tabletop

John Hartman, Ed Pirnik, and Gary Junken

When it comes to building an expanding table, there are several ways to get the job done. Butterfly tables store the leaves beneath the top. When the top is pulled apart, the leaves swing up and unfold. It’s a beautiful solution but difficult to build. Perhaps the most common method is a top that pulls apart to accept leaves which simply drop into place, but that means storing the leaves in a dusty closet until they’re required.

Furniture maker Tommy MacDonald conceived of a hybrid solution. Two expansion leaves, one under each end, are pulled out from under the top on angled rails. It’s a solution that’s easy to construct, and allows for all the parts to rest within the table. That means no more trips to the closet for those extra leaves when company arrives.

Learn how the mechanism works with this short animation.

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Published at Wed, 03 Dec 2014 21:16:23 +0000

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Build a Shaker Lap Desk

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This classic Shaker lap desk is made of white pine and features exposed dovetails, breadboard ends with cherry pegs, and a small inside drawer. The case is traditional dovetail construction, with dividers set into dadoes inside to form handy compartments, including a tiny inkwell drawer. The bottom extends beyond the case and has a quarter-round profile routed into all four edges. Lap desks were designed two centuries ago to function as  miniature traveling offices with room for paper, envelopes, pens, and ink. Today, their precise joinery and elegant design still proves popular, whether they are used for writing the old-fashioned way or as storage space for a laptop or tablet.

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Build a classic Shaker lap desk with this printed plan. Designed by veteran woodworker Christian Becksvoort, this charming traveling desk recreates the era when pen and ink reigned. To craft your own version, one that can house your laptop, start with a copy of the Shaker Lap Desk printed plan.

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Published at Wed, 13 May 2015 00:08:45 +0000

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Cherry Chest of Drawers

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Build a classic chest of drawers that features a variety of dovetail joinery and Shaker-inspired elements using this article with fold-out project plans. Fine Woodworking’s art director, Michael Pekovich, also an avid woodworker, shares his methods for cutting dovetails with a combination of hand and power tools, cutting sliding dovetail slots accurately, and attaching molding with dovetailed keys, a method that allows the chest to shrink and expand with changes in humidity. Careful grain-matching and graduated drawers accentuate the piece.

From Fine Woodworking #170

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Published at Tue, 06 Sep 2016 04:00:00 +0000

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The Modern Master: Allan Breed

Growing up in New Hampshire, Allan Breed began buying, repairing, and reselling antique furniture in his early teens, and before he was 20, he was serving an apprenticeship in conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In the decades since, he has worked as a consultant and conservator on some of the most prominent pieces of American period furniture, and has reproduced hundreds of pieces, including the famous Nicholas Brown Desk and Bookcase, and the Newport secretary built by John Goddard that sold at auction for $12.1 million. Prized by Sotheby’s and Christie’s as an expert on period craftsmanship, Al also teaches classes in carving and period furniture making in his New Hampshire shop.

Allan will be giving two presentations at Fine Woodworking Live 2017, Classic Furniture Carving, and Reviving Great American Furniture.

Classic Furniture Carving:
Master period furniture maker Allan Breed demonstrates the core techniques and tools used to carve the hollow shell and applied leaf-and-vine detail on the drawer front of a classic Philadelphia lowboy.

Reviving Great American Furniture – Highlights and Insights from a Storied Career:
A furniture consultant to museums and major auction houses as well as a master furniture maker with four decades of experience in the shop, Breed has examined, restored, or reproduced some of the most famous pieces of American period furniture. In this talk, he selects a handful of the most interesting pieces he’s worked on and describes the craftsmanship and style, materials, tools, and techniques that went into them, and the people who made and owned them.

Go to FineWoodworkingLive.com to find out more about all of the presenters this year.

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Published at Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:35:51 +0000

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Display Cabinet on a Stand

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Joinery takes center stage in this cabinet-on-stand. The base and case are made with contrasting woods, but the straight grain of the riftsawn stock unifies the two. An apron and rail on each side of the case make for a strong, light-looking base. A wide upper front apron paired with a narrow lower rail accomplishes the same objective. The base is joined with through-mortise-and-tenons, lightened with tapers and curves. Latticework on the front door dresses up the dovetailed cabinet on top.

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Printed and digital plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.

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Published at Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:51:02 +0000

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Weekend Project: Build an Arts and Crafts Bookcase

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Of the many qualities that help define the Arts and Crafts style, perhaps the most apparent is straightforward and honest joinery. Wedged joints and through-tenons show the world how a piece was made. Quartersawn white oak, the quintessential Arts and Crafts material, was clearly the wood of choice for this bookcase.

Mortise-and-tenon joinery usually requires precise fitting; however, these long through-tenons need to be a bit loose to fit easily through the mortises. The wedges provide holding power at three locations. The back of the wedge pushes against the outside face of the side. This does nothing until the angled front of the wedge starts to press against the angled slot cut into the tenon. Then the wedge pulls the tenon through the joint until the tenon shoulders lock against the inside face of the case side.

Cut Mortises With a Plunge Router and Template
I cut the mortises using a plunge router, a 5/8-in. straight bit, a 3/4-in. template guide, and a mortising template . The template, made of 1/2-in. medium-density fiberboard (MDF), is milled as wide as my case side and with perfectly square ends.

With the template made of MDF (left photo), you don’t have to mark mortises on the case sides, just centerlines. Use a folded index card (right photo) to set your router depth so that the bit won’t blow out the opposite face. Pop out the thin waste with a chisel.

First mark the centerline of the template. On this centerline, lay out the mortises. Cut the mortises with a 3/4-in. straight bit on the router table, using a fence with stops clamped onto it. Cut the two outer mortises using the same stops and fence setting; flip the board over to cut the second one. For the center mortise, simply move the stops over to the proper position. If the template is square, the mortises will locate properly and be the same size. Finally, glue and screw a fence onto one end of the template.

Only the centerlines of the mortises need to be laid out on the case sides. Clamp a side to the bench, align the centerlines on the template with the centerlines on the side and clamp the template in place. Next, set the bit depth. Put a folded index card on the benchtop and rest your router on the edge of the case. Then zero the bit down to the card and set the turret stop on the router to its lowest depth. This setting will allow you to rout almost through the case side but without blowing out the mortise or marring your benchtop. Then set another turret stop for the center mortises, which aren’t through-mortises.

After routing, chop the mortise corners square with a chisel. I use a block of wood as wide as my mortises to check each for consistency. I also bevel the edges of the mortise with my chisel to prevent tearout when fitting the tenons.

Cut Tenons and Wedges to Fit Easily
Cut the cheeks and shoulders of the tenons with a plunge router and a straight fence. The fence rides tightly against the end of the board to locate the tenon shoulder. Cut one face of all of the boards about 1⁄16 in. deep and back to the tenon depth, then cut the second face so that the tenons will fit easily into the mortises. Next, on the bandsaw, rough out the waste between each of the tenons. Then reset your router bit to the full depth of the board and, in several passes, cut the shoulders between the tenons.

Router with a fence (left photo) cuts clean shoulders between tenons and an angled block (right photo) sets the bevel. First, bandsaw the waste between the tenons. Then with the template tipped 7 degrees, the router will automatically bevel the slot in the through-tenon to accept a tapered wedge.

I set up the router table with a fence to finish-cut the roughed-out edges of the tenons so that they slide easily through the mortises. Use a rabbeting plane to pare the tenons down on both their faces and edges. Work one tenon at a time until you can push all of the joints home by hand.

Dry-assemble the case, then mark the outside face of the case side onto each tenon. Be sure to locate the end of the slot for the wedges 1/8 in. in from this line so that part of the slot lies inside the face of the case side. If you cut the slot flush with the case side, the inside face of the slot will push against the wedge, preventing it from providing a totally snug fit.

Next, make a mortising template to router-cut the wedge slots in the tenons. The slot needs to be angled on its front edge, so glue a 7° angled block to the bottom of the template. Your plunge router will then rout at that angle. Rout each wedge slot with a 1/4-in. straight bit and a 5⁄16-in. o.d. template guide, and chop its corners square with a chisel.

To make all of the wedges the same size and angle, you’ll need to make a simple tapering jig for the bandsaw. Cutting out the triangular shape of the wedges on a 3-in. by 5-in. piece of 1/4-in.-thick scrap ply gives you a place in which to hold your wedge stock as you pass it by the blade. Move the fence over to the proper spot and cut all of the wedges. Next, plane each wedge edge until the wedge fits easily through the mortise. Then clean up the angled face until it just starts to snug up when it’s about 1 in. above the top face of the tenon.

Have a Plan Before Assembly and Glue-Up
The top rail doesn’t need the strength of a tongue-and-groove joint, so after the case is together, glue the rail onto the top with biscuits. To keep it from twisting, add two dowels to the case sides. These dowels fit slots cut into the ends of the top rail. For easy assembly, use the offcuts from the top rail and toe kick as clamping blocks when gluing up these two curved rails.

Shape the bottom of the case sides on the bandsaw and finish with a template router. Rabbet the case sides for the back on a router table. For a long-grain cut like this, a climb cut—one made with the rotation of the router bit—can help avoid tearout. File the shaped edges slightly round, then scrape and sand the entire case with 180-grit paper. Raise the grain with a damp rag and resand to get rid of any puffed fibers.

Glue up one side at a time. With one side in place but unglued, apply glue to the tenons of the other side, gluing only the long grain. Don’t over-glue these joints or you’ll have a mess to clean up.

After clamping, place the wedges and bang them home. I use a metal hammer for this because the sound it makes will change when the wedge is in far enough. Do not bang the wedge past this point. You’ll bust out the short-grain end of the tenon. This is why I left the tenon ends poking through the case sides at a relatively long 2 in. This much wood provides enough room to put in the wedges safely.

Excerpted from:
Shelves, Cabinets & Bookcases
Editors of Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking

In just about any room in the house, it’s great to have some extra storage space to keep things organized and uncluttered. Whether you want to make a simple built-in or a high style bookcase, kitchen cabinets or a media center, you’ll find every last detail is here — with clear, step-by-step instructions and useful graphics.

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Published at Fri, 26 Sep 2008 04:00:00 +0000

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Uncommon Arts & Crafts

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There is a wealth of amazing Arts and Crafts design to be found outside the mainstream—away from the well-known and much-heralded pieces by the likes of the Greene brothers, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. During the heyday of the Arts and Crafts movement, makers in shops throughout America and Europe drew on the philosophy of that movement to produce furniture that was personal, adventuresome, and distinctive. Here is a look at some of those pieces.

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Published at Wed, 05 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000

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A Short History of Built-in Furniture

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Although strictly an oxymoron, since by definition “furniture” in the woodworking sense is generally understood to refer to movable pieces, the term built-in furniture may be taken to mean fixed architectural elements that provide the same function as their movable namesakes. Sometimes, indeed, the term may refer to a separate piece of furniture that has been fixed in place and which now employs part of the surrounding architecture as an integral part of its construction, such as a wall that forms the back of a built-in cabinet.

The concept is not new, the earliest examples being wall benches, settles, and aumbries that date back to the Middle Ages, all originally built as architectural features, but which subsequently developed into stand-alone pieces of furniture.

Examples of contemporary furniture that may be usefully designed as built-in furniture include various shelving (see Cupboards), beds, benches, bookcases, cabinets, mirrors, and entertainment centers. Fireplace mantels can also be categorized as built-in furniture, in the sense that these can be constructed with the same joinery and tool techniques as a free-standing piece of furniture.

Note that some built-in furniture can by definition only exist as such, for example, window seats and closets.

Graham Blackburn is a furniture maker, author, and illustrator, and publisher of Blackburn Books (www.blackburnbooks.com) in Bearsville, N.Y.

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Published at Mon, 12 Sep 2005 04:00:00 +0000

Lateralus

Product Description
Everything about Tool’s fourth album (2001) is an experience, starting with the packaging, which consists of liner credits printed on a translucent plastic sleeve over the CD and a booklet that layers anatomical representations atop one another–the first page pictures musculature and blood vessels; the next, bones; the third, internal organs; and so on. It’s worth describing the packaging of Lateralus because it says much about the astonishing music within. Maynard James Keenan and company understand the expectations riding on this much-anticipated release and they’ve delivered the goods! While it remains in the Tool tradition of trance-inducing progressive metal, Lateralus is tighter, clearer, crisper, and all around a notch above their admirable previous releases. Aenima was marred by muddy production and a certain predictability. Undertow had a cleaner sound but wasn’t as confident or adventurous. With Lateralus, Tool have raised an already lofty bar still higher by coming up with a collection that kicks major ass.

Amazon.com
Everything about Tool’s fourth album is an experience, starting with the packaging, which consists of liner credits printed on a translucent plastic sleeve over the CD and a booklet that layers anatomical representations atop one another–the first page pictures musculature and blood vessels; the next, bones; the third, internal organs; and so on. It’s worth describing the packaging of Lateralus because it says much about the astonishing music within. Maynard James Keenan and company understand the expectations riding on this much-anticipated release and they’ve delivered the goods! While it remains in the Tool tradition of trance-inducing progressive metal, Lateralus is tighter, clearer, crisper, and all around a notch above their admirable previous releases. Aenima was marred by muddy production and a certain predictability. Undertow had a cleaner sound but wasn’t as confident or adventurous. With Lateralus, Tool have raised an already lofty bar still higher by coming up with a collection that kicks major ass. –Genevieve Williams

Price: $9.83

  • Artist: TOOL
  • genre: Popular Music
  • product type: Compact Disc
  • Release Date: 15-MAY-2001
  • Returns Accepted?: Yes
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Tables & Chairs

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Tables and chairs of all kinds—hall tables, dining tables, coffee tables, side tables, benches, dining chairs, Adirondack chairs—are a central part of our homes and our lives. Fine Woodworking’s Tables and Chairs is designed to inspire you and help you build them. This special collection features 12 projects you can build, with advice from experts such as Christian Becksvoort, Kevin Rodel, Michael Pekovich, and more. 

In addition to the furniture projects, you’ll get tips on finishing, dealing with wood movement, working with curves and angles, and a gallery of inspiring pieces. Be sure to consult our list of videos and step-by-step video workshops that make it even easier to build your next table or chair.

  Purchase your copy  of our Tables & Chairs special issue today.

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Published at Wed, 30 Dec 2015 05:00:00 +0000

Walnut Hollow Basswood Country Plank Extra Long, 23-inches for Woodburning, Home Décor and Rustic Weddings

Product Description
Made from Basswood, this long version of the Country Plank measures 23-Inch. The rustic, natural bark is very popular in home decor settings. Use for sign making, woodburning and woodcarving techniques. Made in the USA.

Price: $13.99

  • Width between 7.00-9.00 inches
  • Solid Basswood
  • Retains the natural bark
  • Ideal for wood burning, carving or routing
  • Made in USA
  • Width between 7.00-9.00-Inch
  • Ideal for wood burning, carving or routing