A project design without a problem to solve is not much more than an impressionistic doodle in wood. You may get an interesting piece of furniture out of the effort, but where do you put it and how is it to be used? The problem to be solved in this case was to create a table and seating that would be used in a limited space, such as a kitchen or an urban loft. To that original constraint, editor in chief Rob Johnstone added that he thought the seating should be contained within the footprint of the table when not in use.
The resulting pieces, made from riftsawn longleaf pine (a subset of Southern yellow pine), offer a practical project which, because of its proportions, line and material, expresses strong graphic impressions.
Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not be a candidate to build this little project, but read on … because in one of your future projects, you may just make use of the construction methods as a solution to your design problem.
The design and making of these pieces has two things to teach a reader: making “angle-shaped” legs from flat stock, which is necessary for the screwed-together assembly; also, making the jigs required to hold the bench parts accurately and firmly in place while joining them.
Each component of the table is made of 1″-thick wood, and benches are from 3/4″-thick material. The straight grain pattern on all four faces of the stock is the result of being riftsawn. The simple lines show off the color difference between the early and late wood to great advantage. To hide dings, as well as to be kinder to body parts that may collide with the furniture in cramped spaces, all the exposed edges are softened with a 1/8″ radius. The polish (“finish” on this side of the pond) on the table and benches is a combination of salad bowl oil and beeswax, suitable to protect the surface from any epicurean splatters that may occur. This pine, sustainable and plantation grown, finishes very smooth and straight from a plane and takes a finish well. Its lighthearted look seems to epitomize the look of “wood.”
The leg and rail subassemblies are the structure upon which the tabletop and the bench seat slats sit. Key to that subassembly are the L-shaped built-up legs. The methodology for constructing the legs is as follows.
• Select the stock for the legs and identify the face of the material that you wish to be on the outside. Mark this face with a “V.”
• Plane smooth the face of the wood opposite from the “V.”
• Next, square the edge of the board (the edge closest to the point of the “V”). My preference is to use a plane for this task.
• Stepping over to the table saw, cut the stock in two. Guide the cut with the accurate edge to the fence.
• Now glue the two pieces into an “L” shape. Roll glue evenly onto the planed edge at the point of the “V” and clamp the pieces securely. Allow the glue to cure.
• Remove the stock from the clamps and plane the outside faces square one to the other.
• Moving back to the table saw, set the fence to the proper width of cut and slice both edges of the legs of the L-shaped piece to the proper dimension.
• Plane the sawn edges square.
• Check your table saw miter gauge for square to your saw blade and then square up one end of the leg.
• Set the saw’s fence to the proper length of the leg. If your fence does not move fore and aft as mine does, clamp a setoff block to the fence to keep your stock from being trapped between the fence and blade as you cut. This cut squares the second end and cuts the leg to length at the same time.
• Radius all the ends and edges.
• Drill the clearance holes and countersinks in the relevant places.
• Polish the leg, omitting the inside angle where the cover strip will be glued.
There you have it — a leg that is ready for the next step in the building process.