Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Limbert #244 Fern Stand plan

I previously describe making this table in a series of posts starting with I had made my own plans from pictures of the antique original and dimensions taken from the original catalogs and antique auction sites.
Playing with Google Sketchup lately I decided to create a plan for this fun little table in case anyone wanted to make one.

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Limbert #240 Lamp Table part 2

While I am a huge fan of Robert Lang's Shop Drawings series of books I have found that there can be differences in his shop drawings and some photos of the antiques that I find on the Internet. These differences may well be design or process changes between runs of the furniture. As an avid searcher for pictures of details or original Arts and Crafts furniture I often find details that I prefer better than the one described in Mr. Lang's books. One of these differences is the top cross piece on this table. To your left is a photo I found of an original Limbert #240 Lamp Table, notice the cross braces holding on the top. In Mr. Lang's More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture he calls for four small corbels that match the end of these cross braces. While certainly adequate to hold the top in place I found when I previously built this piece a few years ago that I was less than happy with the final result. I found this picture on EBay where it was listed as an original and indeed had the original stamp of Limbert. Most pictures I've found on antique auction sites show the table from the front and top not showing any of the details. While this may be great for selling the piece it isn't as satisfying for a woodworker that wants to turn it over and see how its made. That is what makes this on of my favorite pictures, apart for the beautiful antique sitting on gravel and leaning on a concrete curb, yikes!
As a result I measured out and made these cross braces for my version of the table. The ends match the curve drawn out by Mr. Lang. I cut 2 pieces of 7/8 inch thick stock 2 inches wide and 18 inches long. After cutting a halflap joint in both pieces I transferred the template of the curve to the wood and cut it out on the bandsaw, I cleaned it up on the oscillating spindle sander and by hand. I then went to the dryfit of the sides and measured the exact distance across the top where the braces will sit. I then transferred the angle of the sides to the stock and cut out the dado on the tablesaw by adjusting the miter gauge, in this case 3 degrees, and sneaking up on the lines then nibbling away at the dado while checking fit with a scrap block. After making all the cuts I could at this angle I moved the miter gauge to the other side of zero to 3 degrees and repeated on the other dados. I tested the fit on the dryfit sides. To my great surprise everything fit and lined up, with just a few light taps with a deadblow the cross braces locked into place on the top of the table.
I cut the tabletop to 20 inches square and marked out 3 inch radius rounds on the corners. I cut the corners on the bandsaw and cleaned it up on the disc sander. Taking everything apart I sanded all the parts to 150 grit and left it for the weekend.
This week while stuck in a hotel overnight for work I pulled up Sketchup and decided to give drawing this table a shot. I have been working on learning Sketchup but it has been a slow process, one reason is that I don't work on it very often, the other is that I'm working on my laptop and had not been using a mouse. I picked up a wireless wheel mouse as recommended to me by many Sketchup guru's and success. Here is a model of this table that I have posted on The WoodWhisperer forum. I did this from memory not having the book with me but after making the jigs, templates and pieces I was very familiar with the measurements. I would suggest using the model to see how it goes together and not for the exact measurements, for that pick up Robert Lang's book More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture.
The project is sitting on my assembly table waiting to be glued up this week and start the finishing process this weekend. This is a really fun project, and while there are no tenons or ebony plugs its beautiful in its lines and curves. Use the sketchup model to take it apart and see how everything goes together, you can learn a lot about how to make a piece by doing this. I'll still do my designing with paper and pencil as it is faster for me and I can let my ideas flow and work them out in my head, but for complicated designs like this one I'll virtually build it and refine it on the computer. Besides, it gives me something to do when stuck out of town in a hotel.
"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Limbert #240 Lamp Table part 1

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

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hummingbird Inlayed Jewelrybox

I've been practicing lately with double bevel marquetry because like many woodworking techniques you need to work on it to have any kind of success with it. One of my favorite subjects to work on is hummingbirds, they are very colorful and have an interesting shape. This image you see at the left is one I made for this jewelry box, its set into a nice piece of Walnut veneer that I cut. I used Mahagony, Maple, Wenge, Lignum Vitae, Cherry, and Zebrawood. I cut some of the Mahagony along the endgrain to get the figure that I used in the flower.
After all the marquetry was complete I flattened it with a hand scraper and then applied a few coats of Watco Danish oil to bring out the grain of the different woods. I glued the veneer onto a substrate of 1/4 inch Baltic Birch plywood.

The box is made out of Bolivian Rosewood milled to 1/2 inch thick and simply mitered with a few 23 guage pins to reinforce the corners. After sanding I cut the top off on the tablesaw leaving a very thin piece of wood to be removed with a handsaw. I cleaned up the remaining wood with a block plane and some sanding. I then went on to route in the hinges and attach them. A few coats of Danish oil and some dark wax finished off the outside of the box.
Inside the box I used a wine colored flocking to cover the plywood inside the top and bottom of the box, leaving the sides uncovered. I've made a few little boxes but they are not my strong suit, the tollerances are much higher and any little defect shows right up, but this was a gift and I think it turned out great.

"The child is in me still...and sometimes not so still." ~Mr. Rogers