Shaker End Table #3: Scary Sharp makes my day easier

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I spent yesterday afternoon sharpening 7 planes in preparation for processing the wood for the top, apron and legs.

I use water stones but I do have a Tormek that I have not used is many years. It had been so long that I forgot there was a leather stropping wheel on it. So I broke it out, put on the polishing compound and proceeded to polish every plane edge after the last water stone. Sweet!

First thing this morning was planing the two pieces for the top, flat, both had a little cupping and slight twist. I cut the top several inches oversized so I would have room for any mistakes. The #8 and #5 got a good workout, then the #4 & #4 1/2 to finish things off.

Sharp blades make this task sooooo much easier, love me a sharp blade :0)
After leveling the faces of the boards, I figured the best position for viewing pleasure, then clamped them side by side and leveled the edges at the same time. Then I planed in a sprung joint and glued up the panel.

While the top was drying, I moved onto the legs. I set up my measuring devices so they would be constant throughout the process. Also setup the two marking gauges so once set no changes would be necessary. I decided which legs would go where and marked the tops of each leg for its location. Next was to use the LV small double ended marking gauge to layout the lines for the 3/8" mortises. I decided to make the two back legs first.

I put a clamp on the leg, then clamped the leg to the bench top. I used a 3/8" mortising chisel and slowly worked my way to the desired depth.

Next, I moved onto the other side of the leg for the second mortise. You have to take it more slowly on the second leg mortise as there is not much material left when you finish the second mortise. No need to hurry here.

That is it for today. Plan on working the other back leg tomorrow. Once the second back leg mortises are completed, I will taper both of the back legs using hand planes. Then I will move onto the front two legs, which require a little different joinery. They will each only receive one apron mortise, then they get a dovetail socket on top for the top rail. And a small mortise to receive the bottom rail, then onto the apron tenons, drawer, etc…

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Thanks guys.
Brian, it took me a few years to finally settle on a system, then stick with it until I got good enough to get repeatable results. As with all things in woodworking, practice makes you better.

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