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Seems my sister is at it again! Recently received an email from her Pastor about a request to make a "Communion Table" for their church.

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lew

Finishing Up The Top

With the base finished, all that was left to do was trim out the top with the walnut edge trim. Glue, clamps and some pin nails.

 

I forgot to take photos of the top to apron mounting system but this Sketchup drawing should explain what I did. These are simple wooden clips with their tabs captured in slots that run around the perimeter of the inside of the aprons. The slot is 1/4" wide by 3/8" deep. The clips are cut from 3/4" thick maple and the tabs sized of a snug fit in the slots. Screws are used to secure the clip to the top. The hole is slightly over-sized and the screws are the type used for pocket holes- nice large heads.

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The finished table is awaiting pickup-

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The church members are going to apply the finish. If they send a picture, I'll add it here.

 

Thanks for following along and the very kind comments that have been posted along the way.

lew

Once the legs were completed, I started on the aprons and stretchers. The stretchers are to be mortised and tenoned into the legs. The long stretcher needed to be securely fastened into the side stretcher but their thickness was only 3/4 ". That meant a very short tenon (1/2") on the ends of the long stretcher. I decided, mistakenly, to use a fox tenon and a dovetail style mortise, with tapered sides and wider at the bottom.

 

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It took a little work to get the mortises chopped. I even had to make a small measuring tool to determine the width of the bottom. My inside calipers were just a little too big.

 

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Next, I calculated the wedge size and then modified the tenons to accommodate the wedges.

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My mistake here was failing to take into consideration the amount of spreading vs. the hardness of the wood. Fortunately, I had the foresight to try a test piece and discovered as the tenons halves spread, they cracked at the shoulder. Insert a long string of Navy language here.

 

Back to the drawing board. Early on in the project I had considered using a sliding dovetail for this connection. Hindsight being what it is, that's what I ended up using.

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The other failure, at this stage was when I ripped the materials for some of the aprons. The wood was plenty dry but internal stresses caused the some warping and twisting of several pieces. Allowing the pieces to set for a couple of days only made matters worse.

 

I ended up ripping more pieces and then creating the tenons.

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Used a stop block/miter gauge to create to shoulder cuts

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Then the old Delta tenoning jig for the cheek cuts

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And finally nibbled away the remaining material to complete the apron and stretcher pieces.

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I cut all of the tenons a little over sized so I could trim them to get a really snug fit during assembly. The minister said this table would serve multiple duties. I wanted to be sure nothing would work loose over time.

 

All that's left for the base, I hope, is a final dry fit and then a glue up.

lew

Trim and Legs

For such a simple table, this thing has run me through the funnies big time.

Everything started out pretty good. The walnut trim, for the top, was made by multiple passes over several different router bits to get the desired profile.

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It'll take a little sanding to smooth things out but I am happy with the results.

 

Next I turned to the legs. I milled down some 1 3/4" maple into 1 3/8" square blanks. Then laid out the locations of all of the mortises for the aprons and stretchers. Cut an extra piece for testing, too. I was really please as to how straight the legs were off the saw. Usually there's some twisting/warping but these stayed straight.

 

Using the hollow chisel mortiser to create the openings

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Prepped the legs layout

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Punched out all of the holes-

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For me, it is so easy to get confused as to the orientation of parts. I need to label everything to make sure I don't mix them up.

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I thought I was on a roll at this point but fate had something else in store. From here everything went to "you-know-where" in a very big hand basket.

 

Next part- the failures.

lew

The Original Request

My sister's Pastor asked if I could make a communion table for their church. In the past, I've made a lectern/pulpit and a kitchen work table. This seemed like it should be an uncomplicated build.

 

The pastor supplied me with his original thoughts and an image-

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He picked this particular image for it's size/proportions, however, the "arts and craft" style was not his first choice. That style didn't really fit with their church's other furnishings. He said he didn't really want a drawer. He wanted the materials to be maple, walnut and birch to coordinate with other pieces of furniture.

 

My furniture building/designing experience is limited. Some research on the Internet lead me to believe that most all communion table designs lean towards the more massive proportions. When I mentioned this to the Pastor, he agreed but said their church is small and they felt a "lighter" piece would fit into their space.

 

We worked back and forth thru Sketchup making design changes. His original image morphed into more simple, final design-

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The base will be made from maple, the top from birch ply and the top trim created from walnut.

 

The top trim/banding will overlay the plywood slightly. The pastor supplied a profile of what he wanted-

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I think I'll start with the trim piece first.

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