When I was in high school we were lucky enough to meet a family who lived across the road and had a daughter the same age as my lil sister Kate. In fact they were almost identical in age and have been the best of friends for the past 15 years. Her parents are also besties with mum and naturally, Luke and I also love them to bits. Aside from many wise words, hubby Brian is the master Bruce Lee of woodwork. He has a talent for hand crafting the most amazing timber pieces from side boards, office desks, dining tables to pizza shacks. His bespoke work has been produced for some of the wealthiest people in Australia – see more here at Image House Furniture).
I think we mentioned due to the size of our new house we were in the market to upgrade our dining table. (Our former another timber piece we made with Brian). Ironically there just so happened to be a gigantic 2800mm long salvaged hoop pine dining table top leaning against his shed as a return from a customer deciding she needed an even bigger entertaining table. So without further-a-do, we snapped up the chance to make a custom dining table with the master (that usually sell for around $4,000-$20,000 AUD).
Not a bad spot at all to spend my Saturday? Brian’s woodworking ‘office’ has been created from corrugated iron pieces, with rustic timbers, off-cuts and mid-way pieces everywhere you turn. Very inspiring!
Brian and I spoke for some time about measurements, including the height of the table and width for each guest seated. For ease, we decided to allow 500mm per seat (usually 650mm if you have the space) and 770mm high – which is the industry norm.
We are using 90x90mm Emerii timber from the Solomon Islands to build the base, which will be later painted white.
Following suite from my plans found on Pinterest, we loved the angled detail on the table legs.
Image by Shanty to Chic.
So we started by cutting out floor plate and legs to suite, with 45 degree angles at each end.
To ensure the horizontal pages sat nicely on the floor plate, we mortised a square from each piece of timber to allow them to join. The reason for this is to distribute the height evenly across the base of the table, which when finished will be very heavy.
Brian loved to use clamps to steady ever piece and each cut was made with absolute precision – to the millimetre.
Simply run the hand saw through the chunk you want removed which happened to be approximately 45mm deep (half of the 90mm timber leg), bash out carefully with a hammer and tidy up with a sharp chisel.
Fits like a glove!
Best to use a belt sander now and ensure the join is perfectly flush before we errect the vertical legs.
To ensure this join wasn’t moving or going anywhere, we placed wood glue in the groove first, followed by two 50mm wood screws that we pre-drilled and used a counter sinker drill piece (which gives it that tidier sunken in look).
A girls gotta eat so Trish kindly whipped us up morning tea (and lunch). Mmmm Beesting pie from the Canungra bakery.
Back on the job we returned to set the vertical legs in place. Although the process happened relatively quickly, I found this part a little complex (but exciting). Here we made my forest ever dowl join. We needed to swap the drill piece for a spade bit and carefully gauge out a circular piece right in the middle of the timber. This allowed for a piece of dowl (which Brian had lying around) to be glued and set in place.
I’m sure you figure this part out, but the pointy dowl end is then stuck inside the pre drilled hole in the floor plate. To ensure the whole structure is totally level we used a square and level and later placed two wedges either side for final adjustment. These wedges are later cut off and you can’t even tell they were ever there (very clever).
After popping on a top horizontal rail the end is coming together V.E.R.Y nicely.
The piece-de-resistance of this chunky table is the angles which sit off each leg. We used the drop saw at 45 degrees to cut one end however as the angle was far greater, we needed to pull out the big guns and use the bandsaw which reminded my of a big sewing machine. ( I could just imagine fingers getting cut off in this baby). However Brian ever so carefully chopped the angle and also demonstrated the manoeuvrability of the machine which can easily cut you circles and delicate edges for fancy ornate pieces.
These angles are now just sitting here to show you, but we have cut ten pieces which have been undercoated – before we later screw in place.
Before we painted, we prepped and sanded. This little hand sander was so light and easy to use – I want one for christmas, ha.
We used wood putty to bog up any blemishes. Cinche.
And I undercoated using a British Paints product with a brush and roller to finish.
The special paint turns to wood slightly green (which is what’s meant to happen). So they will all need another coat this week.
Stay tuned for our next sequence to ‘make your own dining table: Part 2.’