Friday, April 9, 2021

Demilune Table, Part 3: Aprons and Legs

I finished the last post not knowing what direction I'd go with the curved apron.  After a lot of head scratching, I finally decided to stick with my original plan: a three-piece curved apron attached to the legs with m&t joints.

Two apron pieces and a practice leg - note how the two tenons are offset
regarding their lengths so they can both fit in the leg

The "real" front legs with curved front apron pieces fitted.
The aprons are sitting on the full-sized drawing to see how well the curve matches.

Getting the angles for the mortises was tricky.  Normally I chop mortises first, then fit the tenons to them.  But for this project, with very few parts being square to each other, I needed the angles of the mortises to match the angle of the tenons.  So I made the angled tenons first, the angle being a compromise between grain direction of the tenon and as low an angle to the mortising surface as  possible ( I wrote about this a little last week).

Having the rear face of these curved aprons being flat and square helped.  I referenced off that with a sliding bevel to lay out the 3/8" thick tenons.  I pared the rear cheek of those tenons flat and right to the gauge lines.  Then, setting that apron in place on the full-scale drawing, I marked the flat tenon face on the leg outline.  Finally, I used bevel gauges to find the angle of the tenon relative to the leg drawing and transferred that to the actual leg.  I wish I'd gotten pictures - I would have made it much more clear.

Middle front apron with front legs - upright

Undercarriage minus back rail

My shoulder lines are far from perfect.  However, the show face of each joint gets tight, and I'm happy with that.

Fitting the back apron was interesting.  I first cut one tenon.  Then, with the undercarriage upside down and set in place on the full-scale drawing, I butted that tenon's shoulder against the leg and marked the shoulder line for the tenon on the other end.

Rear apron with left tenon shoulder butted against the leg 

Marking the right shoulder line directly off the other rear leg

After fitting those tenons to the leg mortises, a first dry fit

You might notice that the rear apron has giant holes in it.  That apron came from a piece of (what I think is) mahogany from the scrap bin.  Even though it will never be seen (because that side will always face a wall), I later patched those holes.

Next I tried another experiment.  I mentioned last time that I want to apply a bead to the underside of the curved aprons.  I've seen tables where the bead is carried around the legs too, and I wanted to see what that would look like.  So I got the practice leg out again and made a 3/16" deep, 1/4" wide dado all around the leg.  I put a 1/8" radius on a piece of 1/4" thick, 5/16" wide  material and mitered four pieces to fit into the dadoes.

Practice leg with a bead skirt

Here's how it would look with an apron also having anapplied bead

Here's a Sketchup drawing showing what it might look like

A close-up of the corner

I think that would look great.  But in the end, I decided not to bead the leg.  The tiny piece on the side of the leg where it joins with the apron's bead had me concerned that I couldn't cut it accurately enough.  Maybe in a future project.

Lastly for this week: tapering the legs.  The front legs were tapered on the side and rear faces.  The rear legs were tapered on their inside and front faces.

Layout for tapers on front legs

Dry-fit with legs tapered.

All I have to do now is make and apply the apron beading, glue up the undercarriage, make the buttons (and mortises) for attaching the top, make the top (hope I have enough material on hand) and apply some finish.  It's getting there!