I’m starting work on a Bow Front Table. The design is from an article in Fine Woodworking: Build a Bow-Front Hall Table. I’ve adjusted the dimensions a little to fit the space where it will be going. Overall, mine will be a little smaller and be made from walnut (with some internal parts in cherry).
I’ll be following the directions from the article fairly closely as this is my first bow front table and first bent lamination. I started by creating the front curve in an MDF template. This template will be used for building the form for the bent lamination and also for some other tooling in the project.
I started with a batton held between 3 nails: two at the ends and one in the middle. However, I didn’t like the curve it created, and so instead of one center nail, I put in two nails close to the end ones, offset to hold the batton. This created a curve that was fairly steep at the ends, but gentle in the middle, which I preferred. I traced the curve onto the MDF.
I first used a jigsaw to cut close to the line. Then I cleaned that up with a rasp, using a lot of the rasp along the edge to not gouge any one spot. Finally I created and used a small sanding strip that could be bent slightly. A scrap of 1/8″ cherry provided just a little flex to ensure a smooth curve from end to end.
To confirm that the curve is (essentially) the same on from left to right, I used a Woodpeckers T-Square to check the distance from the back reference edge of the template to the front curve. I checked the dimensions every 2″ from center, confirming that the left and right measurements were off by no more than about 1/32″.
With the curve template complete, I’m ready to move on to creating the bending form.