Mission Living Room Tables

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I built these mission tables to match our new leather living room furniture. This was the first project where I totally winged it as I built it. When I started cutting the wood, all I knew were the dimensions of the tops, the heights, and the color that Susie wanted. From there, I ran ideas by Susie as I went.

Since I always have my iPhone with me in the shop, I decided to take pics as I went along. While not the highest quality pics, it was convenient and gives good idea of the progress.

The finishing schedule was:

  • Lockwood American walnut water based dye mixed 1 lb. in 4 gal. ratio
  • Zinsser Sealcoat dewaxed shellac
  • Varathane Gunstock oil based stain
  • Waterlox original oil based varnish
  • 50/50 mixture of Waterlox original/satin to knock down the sheen

 

I already had a nice stash of quarter and rift-sawn white oak which was milled locally. I've used this oak for many projects and it is a joy to work with.

I already had a nice stash of quarter and rift-sawn white oak which was milled locally. I’ve used this oak for many projects and it is a joy to work with.

 

I have a lot of white oak test boards for finish colors and here is the one Susie liked the best. She wants a dark finish.

I have a lot of white oak test boards for finish colors and here is the one Susie liked the best. She wants a dark finish.

 

Here are all the boards for the tops. It is really satisfying to take a bunch of rough-sawn boards and mill them perfectly flat.

Here are all the boards for the tops. It is really satisfying to take a bunch of rough-sawn boards and mill them perfectly flat.

 

All three tops are now glued and clamped. One of the best tips I've learned is to lightly clamp both outside ends and put a light coat of paste wax down each joint line. This makes the squeeze out scrape off with no effort, and by the time you sand and wipe with mineral spirits it won't cause any finishing problems.

All three tops are now glued and clamped. One of the best tips I’ve learned is to lightly clamp both outside ends and put a light coat of paste wax down each joint line. This makes the squeeze out scrape off with no effort, and by the time you sand and wipe with mineral spirits it won’t cause any finishing problems.

 

I cut the tops to final width and ran through the drum sander to clean up the glue lines. A 24x48 top pretty much maxes out what my crosscut sled can handle.

I cut the tops to final width and ran through the drum sander to clean up the glue lines. A 24×48 top pretty much maxes out what my crosscut sled can handle.

 

The tops came out nice and flat.

The tops came out nice and flat.

 

Each table will have 32 mortise and tenon joints making a total of 96 for the three tables! The Leigh FMT is great for work like this bit will still take a while. One thing about Leigh is you won't find a company that makes better manuals.

Each table will have 32 mortise and tenon joints making a total of 96 for the three tables! The Leigh FMT is great for work like this bit will still take a while. One thing about Leigh is you won’t find a company that makes better manuals.

 

With the 2 1/2" wide tenons you route one side, slide the table, then route the other side. It works really slick.

With the 2 1/2″ wide tenons you route one side, slide the table, then route the other side. It works really slick.

 

Made a few extra and did 100 tenons in 1, 1 1/2, and 2 1/2 widths. It's fun at first but towards the end like watching paint dry. The FMT does produce some good looking tenons!

Made a few extra and did 100 tenons in 1, 1 1/2, and 2 1/2 widths. It’s fun at first but towards the end like watching paint dry. The FMT does produce some good looking tenons!

 

I laminated 6 more legs then started the long journey of making 96 motices and did it in several sessions.

I laminated 6 more legs then started the long journey of making 96 motices and did it in several sessions.

 

After all that work is was a relief when the dry fit was dead on.

After all that work is was a relief when the dry fit was dead on.

 

 I cut the lower rail arcs and sanded them. I also cut the leg tapers and put a 1/4" round over on the edges. I think I'm about ready to start assembling after some sanding.

I cut the lower rail arcs and sanded them. I also cut the leg tapers and put a 1/4″ round over on the edges. I think I’m about ready to start assembling after some sanding.

 

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After 2 evenings of sanding, mostly by hand, I really didn’t feel like sanding 30 narrow slats by hand. I came up with this and the Festool and I were both happy.

 

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When 96 mortise and tenon joints fit and align perfectly it is a good feeling! When you look at the finished bases they are pretty simple but it sure takes a lot of work to get there.

 

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End table clamped up

 

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The tables are completely built and sanded. This evening I wet all the surfaces to raise the grain…just so I can do more sanding tomorrow.

 

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After applying water-based dye

 

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After applying water-based dye

 

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After applying shellac

 

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After applying shellac

 

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I lightly sanded the shellac with 320 and applied the oil bases stain. I work it into the pores then wipe hard to really highlight the ray flecks. The water based dye doesn’t penetrate the pores very well which the oil based stain does. This gives a look that dye or stain alone can’t give.

 

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After stain

 

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After stain

 

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Other than attaching the tops, the tables are finished! The finish is a lot of steps but I’m really happy how it turned out. Sometimes with quarter sawn white oak you never know how the rays are going to pop when finished but these did nicely.

 

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Finished coffee table

 

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Finished end tables





4 Comments
  1. terrymcknight June 21, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Fantastic job Mike. I love the quartersawn oak you have chosen and the colour is great.

    • Mike Suiter June 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Terry. I went through a lot of boards to get the ones for the tops.

  2. Brian June 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    What happened to the cherry hall table post, i was going to try building that at your post looked helpful. Nice work on these projects

    • Mike Suiter June 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Brian – I didn’t transfer all my old projects to the new site but will try and do that one next week. You can get the plan here:

      http://www.plansnow.com/halltable.html

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