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 Shaker Sofa Table

This table was commissioned along with another piece to exactly fit behind a sofa near an entryway.  The companion piece is a bench with compartments for three wicker baskets for shoes and a cushioned seat.

Building the Table

I ordered enough cherry to complete both pieces.  I buy most of my wood locally, but my cherry comes from Lakeshore Hardwoods in Pulaski, NY.  They consistently have the best cherry I've seen; much better than FAS.  I don't hesitate ordering what I need sight unseen.  I know there will be almost no waste, since every board is clear on one face.  And the prices are not bad, either.

About 70 board feet of rough sawn cherry has arrived. 

The boards have been jointed, planed and ripped.  I've selected the boards that will become the table's aprons, top and shelf, and I've glued up an oversize panel.  The clamps have come off, and I'll let the panel sit overnight.

I'm cleaning up the glue joints and taking care of minor tearout with a card scraper.


These wormholes in the sapwood will be in a hidden part of the table.  I pack scraper shavings into the holes and saturate them with low viscosity cyanoacrylate glue.  They end up looking much like large sap pockets.

Using my router and two edge guides, I've cut the shallow full length mortise in the legs.


The double mortises are now complete.  The legs have been cut to final size.


The tenons for the rails have been cut slightly oversize with a dado blade on my table saw.


The completed tenons have been individually fitted to their matching leg mortises.


The first dry fit.  Good clean shoulders, and everything is looking pretty good.  I often chamfer the aprons where they meet the legs to create a shadow line.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do that for this table yet.

Those clamp pads are scraps of MDF stuck on with double sided carpet tape.  This makes clamping much easier than trying to juggle the clamps, the pads and the work all at the same time.


I've tapered the legs, made the mortises for the bottom shelf's breadboard ends.  You can see how I do this by clicking on the Nightstands button.  This dry fit will allow me to measure for the shelf itself.


The tongues are fitted to the grooves in the ends..


The holes in the center and rear of the tongue are elongated to allow for seasonal movement.


Then the pins are driven in.  When the glue dries, they'll be cut off  and planed flush.  They will only be visible on the bottom of the shelf.


Another dry fit to check the shelf.


The drawer guides are doweled to the front and rear aprons.


The glueup is complete, the top's edge treatment is done, but the top is not attached yet.

The drawer boxes have been fitted and the fronts attached.  Then its sand, sand and sand some more before I can begin applying the finish.  When that's all done, I'll apply the finish.

The first three applications of BLO/poly/MS wipe-on finish have been applied.  I've shellacked the drawers and stained the pulls with an oil-based walnut stain.  I'll probably need three more applications of finish, which will probably take 2 days.

All done, except for the final rubout with steel wool and wax.  I need to wait at least a few days for the finish to cure before I can do that though. That will make the finish glass smooth and will develop a nice, even sheen.