Mark (TheCraftsmansPath.com) on January 6th, 2009

With the top and the legs completed I moved on to make the aprons for the table.  The stock was already cut to rough width and length so, the first order of business was to  it bring the lengths to finished dimension.

angled-cut-on-apronHowever, you may recall, the design for this table calls for the legs to splay outward to the left and right by 2 degrees.  In order to accomplish this I needed to accurately cut the ends of the front and back aprons at 2 degrees.  I used my miter gauge at the table saw for this operation.  With the guage  set to 2 degrees, I cross cut one end of each of the aprons.  To bring the aprons to the exact length I next added an extended fence to the miter gauge.  I placed a stop block on the extension so that I could cross cut each of the aprons to the same exact length – again at 2 degrees on the opposite ends.  In the picture you can see the result of these cuts on the font and back aprons.

The aprons for the left and right ends were easier.  With the apron stock already cut to finished width I simply cross cut the pieces square with the miter gauge square at the exact needed dimension.  Again to assure that the parts were dimensioned exactly the same I used a stop block for the second cut on each apron.  The reason that I mention the use of the stop block and the batching of these cuts is that by following this procedure you can machine  parts to their exact dimension without changing setups and possibly introducing error.  The fact that both pairs of these aprons are cut to exactly the same length assures that I will have a much easier time of creating a square assembly when the table is ultimately glued up.

apron-arches-ready-to-cutsmoothing-apron-archesAfter getting the aprons cut to length I moved on to creating the arches in them.  I laid out a fair cure using a flexible piece of scrap stock and transferring the curve to the stock with a pencil.   I then used double-stick tape to temporarily stick the aprons together and cut the curves on the band saw.  I stayed about 1/32″ away from my lines and after the curves were rough cut I smoothed them with the sander.  This operation was also done while they were still taped in pairs to assure that the curves for each set of aprons would be identical.

cutting-apron-mortisesAfter shapiing the curves on the aprons I moved on to creating the mortises in both sets.  Usually I would do this with the stock still square to allow for easier clamping and squaring.  However, for the loose tenon joinery I’m using to work properly on the front and back aprons, the mortises need to be cut perpendicular to the angled ends of the stock at the as they will be installed.  This allows me to use the simple mortises already cut perpendicular into the legs (recall that the top and bottom of the legs were previously  trimmed to 2 degrees to make everything flush at the top after the aprons and legs are assembled).  I used the same router mortising jig for this task.  The picture shows an apron in place and one of the two mortises already cut.

Next I’ll tackle adding the cherry inlay into the aprons and the top.  Then it’s on to assembly.

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2 Responses to “Modern Shaker Table: Making the Aprons”

  1. Hey Mark………in my best DeNiro… got my eye on you.

    It’s amazing how that “little” Ridgid sander can be so “BIG” in a shop.

  2. Hey Neil,

    Happy New Year!

    You’re right, that sander is really a great tool to have in the shop. For years I did not have any oscillating spindle sander or belt sander. The Ridgid is nice because it does both. Lots of functionality for a very reasonable price.

    Keep in touch.

    –Mark

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