Thursday: A Tray and a Table in Progress — Ethan

I finished the legs!

The first order of business today was to carefully clean up the third mortise after having glued it up over 2 nights and fit its leg into the joint. Then I moved on to the fourth and final tenon. This one was comparatively simple to shape and fit, and I think it’s how I’ll prefer to do mortise and tenon joints from now on.

See, how mortise and tenon joints are supposed to be done is the opposite way from my situation: the tenon is cut, typically with a dado blade (a wider version-blade of a table saw that doesn’t leave a vee in the wood it cuts), and then the mortise is cut with a chisel to match the dimensions of the tenon. Because I’m working on a table with pre-cut mortises, I had been working with the opposite logic, tailoring my tenons to match the mortises.

For this leg, however, I made even cuts off of all four sides of the leg — 11/32″ off each face along a 1 1/4″ length — and then did some fine chisel work to match the mortise to the tenon.

Here are the completed legs in their respective holes, along with a few other shots:

IMG_0783   IMG_0780



I’m very like my mom in the shop in that when I need something that requires 100% of my focus — planning dimensions to cut a tenon, for example — it can only be us in the shop. Because we had a double period of the upper school class as well as a middle school sculpture class in here today, I had lots of time for busywork. Today, that meant planing the glue off of the shelf (which had been glued up on Tuesday), power-sanding the top surface for about an hour, and filling checks and cracks in the wood with dark-drying wood glue.

IMG_0787     IMG_0788


The next day I’ll be in the shop will probably be Saturday, and next steps will be to square up the legs, make cuts on the legs and this tray, and taper the legs themselves.


One thought on “Thursday: A Tray and a Table in Progress — Ethan

  1. Julia

    Ethan, what beautiful work you’re doing! It’s precise and creative…I’m imagining you building beautiful scenery for college performances, an idea you once shared with me. And what a unique opportunity to spend time in the shop with your Mom! 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished product!

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