This weekend I started a reproduction of a Charles Limbert design #240 Lamp Table, the original was produced circa 1903. Unlike Gustav Stickley, Limbert was not concerned with humble simplicity of design, his furniture borrows heavily from the prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright and the designs of Charles Renee MacKintosh.
I really like Limbert's designs, I've made one of his large tables, the Double Oval Table, and two of his smaller tables, the #244, and the #238. I previously made this table for a friend, but I have always wanted to have one for myself and luckily, I had just enough quartersawn white oak to complete this table. When I was done with the rough cuts I only had 2 feet of 4/4 quartersawn white oak left.
The plan for this project came out of Robert Lang's More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture , these books are a great resource for anyone interested in making authentic Arts and Crafts style furniture. Robert includes a drawing of the sides with their irregular shapes in a grid that can be reproduced by creating a 1 inch by 1 inch grid on a sheet of posterboard and transferring the drawing to that. I used this posterboard pattern to create a template out of plywood for both the sides and the shelf.
Taking the panels out of the clamps this morning and scraping off the excess glue the first thing I did was to trace the patterns onto the panels. I then cut proud of the line on the bandsaw for both the shelf and the side panels.
I attched the pattern to the cut our of the shelf using a couple of screws making sure to attach it to the underside of the shelf. This lets me pattern route it on the router table without worrying about the pattern slipping as can happen using double sided tape.
I make sure to label all my templates, jigs, and patterns with not only the name, but any directions and dimensions for the project. The sides call for a taper on both sides and a bevel cut at just under 45 degrees. The trick to this, which Mr. Lang does not describe in his book, is to create two jigs to enable you to easily repeat the cuts on the table saw.
I created these jigs using the template for the side. For the first jig I placed the template top up on the plywood and aligned the right side with the edge. I then attached blocks to hold the stock in place around the template. I adjusted the fence so that the bevel cut would be at the correct location and ran the stock through for all four sides. I labeled the jig with the name and the stock dimensions as well as the settings for the blade angle and the fence.
The second jig is made by placing the top of the template to the other end and aligning the edge of the template with the edge of the plywood. Again attaching blocks to hold the stock in place. Adjusting the fence so the the width of the bottom of the side is 15 inches, I run the stock through, and repeated for the other sides. I labeled this jig just as I did the first one. When I was done I trimmed off the excess plywood at the bottom of both jigs to make future cuts easier.
With the cuts complete I traced the cutouts on the stock and using the bandsaw roughed them out. They will be finished on the router table like the shelf.
When routing a template make sure that you use a starter pin to keep from getting kickback when the stock comes in contact with the spinning bit. When possible router with the grain and not against it. If that is not possible, try to sneak up on the cuts against the grain and not cut into it all at once.
One trick I use if I have to cut against the grain is to take little bites out of the stock with the bit to create breaks so that the spinning bit will not cause too much tearout. I still find that I am left with tearout, but its contained and rather than ruin the piece I'm left with a small defect that can be cleaned up using a spokeshave and some sandpaper.
With the sides beveled and shaped I like to do my first dryfit before I get too far into sanding and trimming in case I need to make any changes. Luckily everything fit nicely.
I used a Ryoba saw and a chisel to clean up the round corners left by the router bit. I then sanded the shelf and sides down to 100 grit. I tilted the blade on the tablesaw 3 degrees and cut a bevel on the bottom of the sides so that they would sit flush on the bottom. I then did a second dryfit, this time including the shelf. I cut the top to its final size, 19 inches square and called it a day.
"If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine." ~Morris West