Cutting Apart the Apron

Mostly a video entry this time.  Summary:

  • The Fine Woodworking article called for cutting the drawer front from the full apron using the tablesaw.  I opted for a handsaw instead to save time mostly.
  • I used a Lie-Nielsen Carcass Saw for the operation
  • Two cuts took 10 minutes.  Very fast and easy.  Maybe more cleanup than with a tablesaw, but I’d want to create the fit using handplanes anyway, so I think cleanup is about the same amount.

Milling the Parts

Leg Cross Section

One of the critical components for the success of the bow front table is to make a full-scale drawing which clearly shows the intersection, lengths and joinery for all the parts.  Since the front is curved, there are a few unknowns such as the angle of the tenon into the front legs and the length of drawer rails from back to front aprons.  I created a full scale drawing and used the actual curved front to finish it off.  I used the front apron instead of the curved template because I did have some spring back from the bent lamination (about 1/8″).

With the full-scale drawing in hand, I could cut and dimension all my parts.  I milled stock from a couple of walnut boards and two cherry boards.  I jointed and planed everything to final thickness, but oversized in width and length.

I wanted riftsawn grain for the legs to get nice straight grain on all four faces.  To achieve this, I ripped the legs from 8/4 walnut stock.  I used a template to figure out the angle of attack for each leg in order to have the grain flow the way I wanted.  Unfortunately I don’t have a bandsaw which would be ideal for the ripping operation, so I had to use my tablesaw which was fine.

With the legs roughed out, I went back to the jointer to straighten and joint two adjacent faces.  I then used the tablesaw to finish cutting to width in both directions.  I cleaned up the mill marks from the jointer and tablesaw using an old (tuned-up) stanley #6.  This is one of the first time I’ve incorporated handtools into my work and I absolutely loved the results!  (Before and after shots below).

Mill Marks on Leg

Clean Leg