Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kitchen Table - Another Quick Furniture Project

Here's another quick furniture project for you to try. This would make a good, sturdy kitchen table for a child's play dollhouse. It would also be in scale for a more refined miniature collector's dollhouse - especially if you were to add some toll painting or paint it and age it a little.

The only tricky part is cutting out the seven degree angle on the spacers. One way to do this is to take a scrap piece of plywood and draw a line horizontally across the piece of plywood. (Use a piece of scrap about 4" long by about 3" wide.) Try to center it about 1.5" in from the edges.

Next, draw a seven degree line at least 1.5" long - with 1" protruding above the horizontal line and the other half protruding below the line. Draw this intersecting line close to the right edge of the plywood if you are a right-handed person. Draw the line to close to the left-hand side if you are a lefty. Now, glue a small board along the edge of the horizontal line just up to where the seven degree mark intersects with the line. You have created a sort of miter guide for yourself. If you've left enough wood on the bottom edge of this "guide", you can clamp it to your workbench or tabletop so that you have greater control as you hold the pieces in place and saw them.

You can now cut your spacers to a 2" x 1/2" dimension. (Use 1/8" thick wood for the spacers, please.) Set the first spacer down so that the bottom touches where the two lines intersect. Use a razor or modeling saw. (X-acto makes pretty good ones). Line up the razor saw blade with the intersecting line and carefully cut the angle into the first spacer. Turn the spacer over sideways (not top to bottom) and repeat this cut so that you end up with a trapezoid like you see in the picture above. Repeat these steps to make the next three spacers.

The table legs are relatively easy to cut - especially if you have a small table saw. If not, you may be able to get some pre-cut wood at your local hobby store that is 1/4" x 1/4" dimensions. If so, then you only need to cut the leg pieces to 2.5" lengths. The table top is 3/32" wood, and should be a simple circle 4" in diameter.

Place a piece of wax paper on your desk or table top and glue one spacer to two of the legs. Repeat this procedure with one more spacer and the other two legs. Allow the spacer and the table legs to sit flat against the wax paper. If you have some clamps, you may use them to gently pull the pieces together for maximum adhesion. Allow these two sets of legs to dry overnight so that they are good and solid.

Day two, put one of the assembled leg pieces on its head so that the spacer is touching the wax paper and the legs protrude up. Add glue to one end of the remaining two angled spacers. Place them in position just like the already glued spacers are arranged. You will want the spacers to the inside of the square you are forming with the table legs protruding slightly from each corner.

If you wish, you can build a small gluing jig for yourself to help hold the pieces in alignment. Start with a piece of wood 2" square glued to a piece of heavy cardboard or plywood. Then glue some of the left-over quarter-inch wood pieces so that they form a square 1/4" wider all the way around this 2" square. The inside dimensions of this second "square" will be 2.5". To provide support for the table legs, you can take some cardboard and fold it into a box that is 3" square by 2.5" tall. If glued correctly, the table legs should just touch the corners at the top of this little "box."

Allow the table legs and spacers to dry for a day or two. Once it's good and solid, take the assembly and carefully place it face down on a piece of 100 grit sandpaper. Use a circular motion to remove the corners of the table legs that will be protruding above the spacers. Check frequently to make sure you're not sanding one side more than the others. A good trick here is to hold the piece, and make four or five circular sweeps on the sandpaper, then turn the piece 1/4 turn, and sand again. Repeat this process, making sure you do the same number of sanding strokes on each side and using the same amount of pressure when you sand.

Once you've flattened the tops of the table legs, you can then glue the table top to the legs and spacers. Draw a faint X on the bottom side of the table with a pencil, making four equal quadrants of the table top. Se the table top face down and then glue the leg assembly to the top. Make sure each table leg touches one of the lines you have drawn. When all of the leg corners are touching one of the lines, you know your table top is perfectly centered on the table legs.

After the table has dried, you can sand the legs the same way you did them at the top, gently working them across the sandpaper to flatten them. Be very gentle with your sanding at this point - one leg too short can cause a tippy table! You can now finish your table with stain and varnish, paint it to match your kitchen decor, or antique it however you wish!

Hope this works for you. Let me know if you encounter any problems!


The Dangerous Mezzo said...

As always, George, your posts are so helpful. Your instructions on how to mark and cut odd angles are particularly useful! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this!

toronto home renovations said...

I am heartily grateful for this comment. These are your very good ideas.

Evas miniaturerhobby said...

Tak for alle de gode tegninger og forklaringer! Jeg gl├Žder mig til at lave en masse af det!
Knus Eva

Miss Rosie said...

Just discovered your blog, and am loving it! Thanks for sharing all your know-how. I've been into minis for years, but just now am getting into mini furniture making. Your directions and diagrams are really clear and helpful! Thanks :)

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