The day started easy enough. I simply added bamboo pegs to all of the draw joints. Yep, it is overkill, but it is how I like to put drawers together. I doubt that I will ever have to worry about one of my drawers coming apart. The process is simple. Cut up a few bamboo skewers, drill a few holes, add a little glue and knock the pegs into place. The important thing is to drive them slow. This allows everything to adjust and lessens the chance of causing a split. All pegs are installed and no splits.
Here is where the stress began.
The next process I tackled was to drill and then ream the sockets for the legs. Sounds simple right. Here is the thing. There is no way to hide an angular error. It is either right, wrong or close enough to look right. As the leg increases in length, any error is magnified. So I set my sliding bevel to the resultant angle (16°) and taped it along the sight line. Then I carefully drilled a 5/8″ while trying to keep the bit aligned with the sight line and running parallel with the bevel gauge. Once all the holes were drilled, I began the reaming process. This is where the stress level ramps up several notches. One revelation of the reamer is enough to throw the whole thing out of whack. So I used a test dowel to check my progress every few revolutions. You can make corrections by “steering” the reamer as you turn the brace. I managed to get through all eight sockets without any major problems. Slight corrections when needed here and there. All in all I felt pretty good with my results.
Here is where the stress went through the roof.
I test-fit the legs into the first top and set it on the floor. It looked OK, but I could see a couple of legs where slightly off and would need some adjusting. I then test-fit the legs into second top and set it on the floor. One leg on that assembly would need attention. It was when I set the two assemblies back-to-back that I just about had a stroke! They were waaay off from each other. What the….
So I began marking the offending legs and started adjusting their sockets with the reamer. A little better, but the errors seemed to move around on me. I came dangerously close to ruining both tops before it dawned on me what the problem was. I mean dangerously close. Anyway, it finally occurred to me that a couple of the tenons must be slightly out of plumb. It was hard to find, but sure enough, I had a three tenons that were out of plumb. Whew…the simple solution was to twist the legs in their sockets until they looked “right”.
If I was building just one table, I doubt that it would have been such a dramatic issue. But comparing the two tables seemed to compound all of the errors. I think everything will be fine though now that I know what I’m looking for during final assembly.
Here are the two tables side-by-side. I still need to tweak the legs a little, but not too bad.
Here is one of them with the drawer clamped in place to get an idea of the eventual finished table.
Hopefully over the coming week I will be able to dress the edges of the tops and maybe install these legs permanently. I still need to fabricate the drawer bearers and subsequent runners. The temperatures are supposed to be mild this week so maybe an hour or so in the shop after work a few days this week won’t be out of the question.