Sunday, August 3, 2008

Islands coffee table, Part 2

This weekend saw a marathon session of MDF pattern routing to finish the Islands Table. I had started with the islands to work on the process, I have to say that I am very pleased with the way they turned out. I started working on the main table this weekend and the process was a little bit different. The coast line extends around one side of the table but the design calls for only part of it to go all the way to the floor. What I did was to draw out the coastline on a sheet of posterboard and when I was happy with it I transferred it to a 1/2 inch sheet of MDF. After cleaning up the saw marks and fairing some of the curves I traced the pattern onto 3 pieces of 3/4 MDF. To save some weight I cut a rectangle out of the back of the pieces when I trimmed the waste away. Since the pattern is on the bottom I switched to a hand router to cut these three pieces. I then took a smaller piece of 1/2 inch MDF and traced the corner. I cut the waste on the bandsaw and temporarily attached it to the coast line and using the handheld router I cut it to match that part of the top. Now I have a pattern that will be the bottom of the leg. I traced the pattern onto 17 pieces of 3/4 inch MDF and proceeded to pattern route them on the routertable. When they were complete I needed a way to line up the top with the leg once it gets to its destination. I drilled three 1/4 inch holes about 1 inch deep into the bottom of the top ( ok that doesn't sound right but it makes sense to me) and used a couple dowel points to transfer the center marks to the leg. Then I inserted two dowels and put a dowel point into the third hole. Now when Dan gets it all he'll have to do is spread some glue on the leg and slide it onto the dowels.
The other 3 legs are square made from 3/4 inch MDF with a tenon made from 1/2 inch MDF, these are designed to slide into a mortise built up onto the top and sides. Again, just a little glue on the tenons and shoulders and slide them into the mortises.
I ripped some 3/4 inch MDF to 2 1/4 inch to match the hieght of the coast line. These were glued and pinned to the top with brad nails. I added a glue block to give extra support to the side where it met the coast here.

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the complete Islands coffee table, I think it turned out great considering we were working from just 2 pictures. I did some experimenting with some scrap pieces and it seems that vinyl spackle spread thinly over the edges then sanded smooth will leave a very smooth base for painting.
The blue tape is just to hold the leg into the mortise while it was on its side and I was inserting the other legs and turning it right side up.

I don't know if you can see it in the pictures but I used my small edge trimmer router and a camfering bit and gave it a 1/16th inch 45 degree camfer around the top and bottom to keep the edges from being pulled up. My work is done, its up to Dan now to make sure that it gets a good finish and a nice paint job.

'A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.'
Eleanor Roosevelt


DB said...

Brad, just got the two islands and they look fantastic! I stopped by the site here to see if you did anything else and much to my surprise the table is finished! It looks amazingly fantastic. I can't wait to get the rest of the table! I will be sure to give it a proper finish.

Thank you for all the hard work. We'll need to talk payment at some point.

DB said...

Brad, I was thinking of putting old maps on the top surface of the table and islands. What do you think of this idea? Any suggestions? I really like this old timey map:

What is the dimension of the table? I don't recall what the length and width are.

I bought some vinyl spackle for the sides to get a nice smooth surface. I was looking into some of the textured paints to give it a natural look on the side. There are some really nice subtle styles I saw at Lowes that involve a two part process (not the cheesy grit spray paint). They had some that looked like stone (sandstone, granite), leather, plastered walls, and a few others. The texture on them is real subtle and pretty realistic. Do you know of any way to make a fake woodgrain or get something like that? I saw people on some house decorating show once who had hired people who were painting a woodgrain on to something by hand and it was super expensive. I'd need a quicker consumer-type option. Send me your email address again please because I don't have yours.