The side table

Fixing defects

There were some knots and defects in the top that I wanted to stabilize with epoxy. I ordered some epoxy and black epoxy dye for this. Before I started drooling epoxy all over, I masked off the area to reduce contamination as best as I could. There were some tearout around one of the defects that I did not manage to get completely rid of, and I filled the small area with clear epoxy.

I then added a few small drops of dye. The CamVac dust extractor did a great job sucking the epoxy through the gaps. Neat trick.

I applied masking tape over the epoxy to keep it contained in the holes when I flipped the top to work on the underside. I applied more epoxy to the areas and sealed them off with masking tape. This prevented the epoxy from “sagging into the holes” so to speak. A tearout at a corner was filled with epoxy as a test, with a smal batten and masking tape as a form.

After a day, the epoxy was still somewhat soft, almost like candle wax that’s soft enough to bend without snapping. I seized the opportunity to saw off the batten, shape and sand the repair. It turned out very good. Swapping the black dye with gold or silver would’ve looked pretty cool, furter cementing this as sort of a kintsugi approach. Which it actually is in my mind. The tearout happened because the grain was so wild. I made a pretty good chamfer on the edge before I planed cross grain, but it still teared. Which is part of the history of this table now. It is the same when we leave in marks from our tools in other areas, such as the layout lines for dovetails, the saw marks from rough-sawn surfaces inside a chest of drawers (why bother planing what won’t ever be seen in a functional piece of furniture?) and scalloped undersides of a table where the scrub plane or a plane with a heavy camber was used to level the surface as final treatment.

Hand made items should not look like a CNC machine made them…

Perfect repair.

A day later, I sanded off the excess epoxy and cleaned up the areas where I had applied any epoxy.

The legs will be fastened with M6 flat headed furniture bolts, and I got some stainless threaded inserts for the top to make this very easy. Perfect for flat-packing too.

The bolts are placed about 5cm from each leg. I marked the center of the apron and the distance from the leg, then drilled the bolt holes. After careful positioning of the legs, I inserted the drill bit into each bolt hole and gave it a whack to mark the position on the underside of the table top. A piece of tape acted as a depth stop, and I drilled the holes slightly deeper than the height of the inserts.

I screwed two inserts on a bolt and tightened them against each other. This made it very easy to screw the inserts into the wood with a ratchet.

After mounting the legs, I took the table into the living room to check if the legs were level. A quick adjustment with a Shinto saw rasp took care of a very slight wobble.

A perfect size for the space. Next task: final smoothing and shaping minor details, then ebonizing and finishing.

6 thoughts on “The side table

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