In the ongoing “table-a-day” category, here’s table #3 for Des’s café.
The evening began with Des, Mari and I making miniature food and accessories for the café out of FIMO clay. Our efforts were pretty impressive for beginners, and they’ll be definitely showcased sometime in the near future. While the clay was baking, I went back to the workbench to make another table. Once again, the overall shape and size were to remain the same: the round table top was made according to the same 11cm coffee cup, and the height of the legs was to be 8cm, as with tables 1 and 2.
I had an idea for the table’s legs, but at the last minute something just didn’t feel right, and I searched for an alternative. On Mari’s suggestion, I took a look at the 1cm wooden dowel, of which quite a bit still remained after I had last used it for the pen rack. A new design was born: the dowel would serve as the single central table leg. At the bottom, it would be joined by 3 small plywood feed that would give it stability. Overall, a pretty classic design for a café / diner table.
The three feet were cut simultaneously with a fret saw, out of plywood sheets held together with C-clamps. Once cut, they were too small for clamping and had to be finished individually, with the 408 sanding band and the 932 grinding stone. In order to attach the feet to the round dowel, I used the grinding stone to create a rounded concave depression in one side of each foot. Luckily, the stone’s diameter of 9.5mm is almost exactly the same as the dowel’s 10mm, so the depression was very close to the right size. Once everything was glued together, this is what it looked like:
Boring technical details: This might be a good time to mention that while everything I’ve made so far looks OK, it is, in fact, always a little sloppy. The main reason is the absence of perfect right angles: When using the jigsaw, I need to really concentrate on my technique and move my arm up-and-down only, without any sideways motion, to get a good straight cut. As I mentioned before, this is more difficult than one might think. The fret saw is not meant for long straight cuts, so I don’t fault it for not getting those right. However, here again my technique is still not up to snuff and, apparently, I often tilt the saw to the left so that cuts end up slightly askew from the vertical.
The angle of attack is also an issue with the Dremel: for instance, when using sanding drums, the tool is not always perfectly perpendicular to the surface I’m working on, leading to oblique edges. All this leads to final products that are not quite level or whose parts are not quite flush with each other. In the table above, for example, the bottoms of the dowel and the three wooden feet were supposed to be flush and rest flat on the floor (see picture on the right). In the end, however, the feet ended up resting on their tips, and the dowel is suspended a few millimeters off the floor. The reason for this is that the surfaces where the feet attach to the dowel were not made at perfect 90° angles to their bottoms.
Now, I have no doubt that in time my technique will improve and I’ll get closer to the straight and vertical. This hasn’t stopped me, though, from looking at more mechanical solutions, particularly for the rotary tool. Dremel offers a number of options, such as the 678 circle and line cutter, the 576 shaping platform and – wouldn’t this be cool to have! – the 231 shaper / router table. (I have already given some thought to MacGyver-ing something like the last item on my work bench 🙂 ) My favourite for the moment, though, is the 565 kit that includes the cutting guide. I have mentioned before that currently I don’t have a good solution for cutting even thin wood with the Dremel 4000, and I’ve been eyeing the 565 kit with its guide and multipurpose cutting bit to fill that gap. I believe that it would be able to replace my fret saw in making irregular cuts, such as those I had to make for the pen rack. This attachment is #1 on my wish list, and I think it’ll find itself on its way to me pretty soon.