Rebuilding a Top for a Sewing Machine Table

A couple years ago, my wife's mom bought her a table with a rustic wood top (mounted to an old iron Singer sewing machine table base) from an antique store. At the time, the top appeared to be in pretty good shape. It was a slab of red oak with natural live edges along the front and back.

(This is a different table than the one I made the top for a couple months ago.)

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After a few months of storage in my wife's sister's garage, we picked it up, brought it home, and set it up as a bedside table. However, over the last couple years, the top developed some severe splitting and warping. I brought it to the shop and checked it out. Apparently the table's original maker had rushed the slab into service before it was dried and stabilized. So it did most of its drying (and shrinking and warping) with us. And the maker had secured the slab with screws through holes that did not allow for wood movement. So, with the tension between the wood movement and the rigid attachments, the slab just self-destructed.

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20210308_131744
20210308_131744

Time to remove and rebuild the top.

Cutting out the two main split areas; jointing and planing to flatten the resulting 3 pieces; and milling up an extra piece to restore the width that was removed...

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20210308_160458
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Gluing and clamping the pieces into a new solid slab. (Had to fabricate some special clamping cauls to accommodate the live edges.)  Scraping the glue lines, and trimming both ends to flush them up...

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Sanding and finishing; cutting the mounting holes on the iron base into slots to allow for wood movement; attaching the top to the base...

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All Done!

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20210316_133936


Some Overdue Maintenance

Now that the Shaker workbench is completed, it is time to get on some much needed tool maintenance before starting on the next project: cleaning the pitch and resin from my table saw blade teeth, and sharpening the chisels, plane blades, and scrapers...

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Shaker Workbench, Completed!

Some final details - making the sliding deadman, routing a groove in the underside of the front apron, and installing a grooved track for the deadman to slide in...

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Applying danish oil finish on the top and base...

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Completed Shaker workbench:

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Still waiting on some backordered bench dogs and hold-downs from Lee Valley to install, but basically all done and ready to use to start making furniture!

Thanks to the Lord for His grace during this long project!

 


Shaker Workbench, Building the Drawers

This was  a long phase of the project - building the ten drawers that will go into the shaker workbench.

 

Milling up the 40 drawer fronts/sides/backs plus a few test pieces...

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Cutting the joinery and putting together the fronts/sides/backs...

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Making and installing the drawer bottoms...

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Milk paint, then danish oil going onto the drawer fronts and knobs...

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All done with the drawers...

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Next up:  making and installing the sliding deadman, dog holes, finishing the bench.


Making a Gift - White Oak Table Top

I recently made a Christmas gift for my Sweetie...

Several years back, some friends gave my wife an old antique sewing machine table that had belonged to their grandmother. It sat in storage for quite a while; then last year we re-purposed all the sliding drawers from the unit into handy little desktop holder thingies and gave them to our friends' daughters, and my wife and daughter. But still, there sat the remaining iron frame with the now-dilapidated wood framework and non-working sewing machine. So, it was time to make something nice of it and gift it to my wife...

After removing the old sewing machine and stripping off all the remaining wood parts, I got out some pieces of white oak and made a new table top to mount on the iron frame.

 

Milled up three pieces of white oak to about 1-1/4" thick and glued them up...

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After trimming the blank to final size, I cut underside bevels along all the edges. This would make the thick top have a less chunky appearance...

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Then I filled knot holes with epoxy, scraped and sanded through grits to 220g, applied several coats of General Finishes High Performance clear water based topcoat (adding just a few drops of red mahogany stain to warm it up a bit), buffing between coats...

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20201223_092959

All done, and time for the gifting...

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IMG_20201225_145546_399 (2)

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Shaker Workbench, Building the Drawer Frame

Build the top and bottom horizontal web frames:

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Build the vertical web frames. Cut dados (to hold drawer runners & dividers); trim frames to size and square:
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Using biscuit and glue joinery:

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Use screws to join the vertical web frames onto the horizontals:


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Install drawer dividers and drawer runners:

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Slide the completed drawer frame into place inside the bench:
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Time to start making some drawers!

 


Emergency Project! Soap Mold Boxes

Hannah @pleasantviewsoaps  has been using two long soap mold boxes for pouring her soaps. But she realized she would need some shorter molds that would fit in a refrigerator in order to cool down a new kind of soap she is producing during its initial cure process.

So, we dug out some 3/4 red oak and had at it! Four new half-length soap molds in a little over a day...

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Soap Racks

Making a new batch of natural wood soap racks for my daughter over at Pleasant View Soaps...

 

Cutting the wood blanks out of poplar wood:

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Routing the rounded grooves in the tops:

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Using a dado blade on the table saw to mill the grooves on the bottoms:

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20201020_114804

Lots of detailed sanding:

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Finishing with a blend of mineral oil and beeswax:

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20201022_093647


Shaker Workbench, The Top and Vise, part 2

Turning and flipping the top to get it in position to finish it up (needed some additional muscle):

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Scraping and sanding for smoothness:

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Installing the mounting blocks, to which the top will be secured:

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20200828_120524

Building/Assembling/Mounting the vise (Twin Turbo vise by Andy Klein) and apron:

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Top in position, vise installed and operating:

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Done with the top!

Next phase: build and install the framework for the drawers...