Tag Archives: end table

Woodworking: Repairing the First Step-Up End Table (Part 1)

As I put the newly completed end tables into service, I needed to find a new place for the first one I’d worked on. But over time, the table had tanned, and I saw the outline of a book that had been resting on it. Also I hadn’t reapplied teak oil like I should have, and there were some things I hadn’t addressed in my first go because I didn’t have a plane back then.

It was going to be a quick and easy project.

And it started off going as I’d planned.

Look at the coloration difference!

I was going to plane it to get rid of all the unevenness from the gluing I’d done way back when that I’d mistakenly thought I could sand off.

One key section of this unevenness was in the front with what should have been a consistent rounded-off edge. Keep in mind I do not have a router.

When I started the planing, the pronounced unevenness made me happy because it was something I knew I had to resolve.

I kept going and was thrilled at the quick progress.

As I continued across, the uneven spots were becoming more pronounced and then eliminated.

I was thrilled at how well the project was going.

Sure, there were some gaps to address, but those wouldn’t be anything that some homemade filler couldn’t repair, right? RIGHT?!

The crack going all the way through shouldn’t pose a threat.

Well, it was too wiggly for me to be comfortable with keeping it that way. The amount of play allowed me to snap the board apart the weak glue joint.

As I didn’t have a planer the last time I’d attempted gluing this up, I was limited by sanding off the old glue. But that made for a less-than-perfect gluing situation.

This time would be different!

I was happy to use my new coffee table workbench setup to mount my vise for the planing.

Once the faces matched one another, I glued up the boards.

Clamping a board in place would keep the project flat and reduce my new planing time. The wax paper protected the wood block from the glue.

Areas that needed wood filler got it, but this was all for superficial repair. The structural work had been done.

I planed it to remove any jagged anything and then sanded from 80+ to 180+ with the DeWalt random orbital sander.

And then it was finally on to the step that had initially seemed like it would happen so early on: application of teak oil.

I’ll wrap this one up next week and then start on something new.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 10/10)

We’ve arrived at the final part of this series.

I left off last week with Table 1 complete (other than the legs) and Table 2 yet to assemble.

Based on the darkness of the stain, the number and depth of the water rings, and then the warping of the wood, I was thrilled at how clear I got the wood to be.

All the pieces other than the sides with teak oil applied.

When I dry fit the pieces together, I was happy at the coloration and the fit of the drawer with the dangly knobs cut off.

And remember how I made my own wood filler? Many people do it wrong, but I thought I’d done it right. And when I applied teak oil, this is what I got:

Yeah, I’m stoked at the result. It’s noticeable if you know where to look, but it’s not calling attention to itself.

So for the last component: The legs!

Now, I had gotten legs for the first step-up end table from a distributor in the south. After delays for the maple legs for that table, I ended up with walnut legs, but the bolts were too long and attached at wrong angles. I had to add a block of wood to make the bolts fit.

Now, this was before I got anything that could grind down the bolt, but still, I ordered legs to get legs, and I got things that had been manufactured poorly.

I contacted different hardwood suppliers and furniture manufacturers in the Los Angeles area to see if they had legs or could recommend a place for hardwood legs.

I really didn’t want rubberwood legs.

What I heard from many sources was, “We don’t do that.”

But others told me to go to tablelegs.com.

I saw the prices for legs and started sweating pretty good. But for me not to have to delay and to get it right the first time, I figured it was worth it.

I ordered the legs, and they arrived looking pretty good!

The mounting plates for the legs were the Waddell ones that I had received for the prior set that included some mismanufactured ones. But maybe the place I’d ordered from opted to get the cheapest items or just dumped them on me because I order at tiny quantities.

I tried to fit the legs to the mounting plates and found that…

Once again the legs and the mounting plates didn’t fit flush.

The culprit?

Both the legs and the mounts! The bolts for the legs frequently were not centered. But this is tablelegs.com! They should be perfect at table legs. And they came highly recommended!

And the Waddell mounting plates just seem to be crap at a high rate.

I wrote to tablelegs.com because I’d spent way too many hundreds of dollars to get things I couldn’t use.

To the credit of tablelegs.com they replaced the legs and the mount plates.

The legs I received the second time around still weren’t perfect, but they were better. As for the mounting plates, I got mostly more garbage.

I was able to cobble together eight matching-ish pairs from the first and second shipments from tablelegs.com. They weren’t perfect, though, and it wasn’t tablelegs.com’s fault.

And the amount of work I had to put into something I’d paid a bunch of money for in order not to do more work bugged me to the point of contacting the Waddell brand.

My first email was on March 18.

No reply.

I tried again on March 30. Still nil.

Third time’s the charm because my April 5 email received a response.

I didn’t care much for how this was going. It made no sense.

Clearly, they were not interested in helping me.

Prior to applying the teak oil to the legs

Finally, the two side by side:

I like the one without the dangly knobs better.

At some point, I may cut off the dangly knobs of the other table.

A new project starts next week!

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 9)

The time had come for finishing the tables.

As usual, I had resolved to go with teak oil.

I have posted about this decision with prior projects, but it bears mentioning again why.

Teak oil is a finish that penetrates the wood itself rather than resting atop it. Polyurethane can chip, flake off, finish dull, be uneven. And once that happens, poly is hard to spot-patch. If something such as a spoon drops on a table finished with poly, there’s a dent and a breach of the finish. If the same thing happens to a table finished with teak oil, there’s a dent, but the table still is protected. Rarely do you want to dent your stuff, but if someone else does, the hope is that the culprit is someone whose good qualities far outweigh the damage caused by once-airborne utensils.

Teak oil wears away and has to be reapplied from time to time, but that means it can be reapplied from time to time without issue. (Speaking of which, I need to do that on a lot of my stuff.) Teak oil also brings out the grain in a reflective or shimmering way that I haven’t seen in other finishes.

For this post, I’ll focus on Table 1 (1/4-sheet palm sander) with some comparisons to Table 2 that had not yet been started.

With a completely prepped board and my trusty Jo-Ann (nee Fabrics) cardboard box, teak oil would stay where I wanted it to.

And the crazy before-and-after-by-way-of-two-tables:

Craaazy, right?

And for the top:

The back:

The sides:

The drawer:

And then dry assembled:

If only I could compare it to how it looked before.

Oh, wait!

I love this photo.

Still to go: Table 2 and the legs!

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 8)

Last week I’d finally gotten the always-challenging Table 2 at about the same level as I had gotten Table 1: The split was patched, and everything was sanded.

The issue of the knob design element remained.

I worked and worked sanding the knob design to remove all the old finish.

I tried to avoid flat spots, and i used my vise this time instead of going freehand.

I had long done this with Table 1, but I still didn’t like the knob design elements and was considering cutting them off altogether.

So after hours and hours and hours of sanding by hand and using a dremel, I’d actually reduced the size of the knobs to something that looked uneven and goofy. My decision was made for me.

But how to cut them? I didn’t have a table saw.

Jigsaw! It worked with the chair seats. It should work with this.

And after the scoring, there was no going back.

Slow and steady for the cuts, and they weren’t looking so bad!

A little rough and a little curved, but overall, pretty happy.

The roughness of the edge and slight difference in height should be easily rectified by sanding.

By the time I’d done this, Table 1 had been long completed, but at some point I’ll make that one match.

Finishing starts next week.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 7)

I left off last week having sanded the side pieces for the first table. All was well there. Now I get to share how the same pieces for Table 2 posed more challenges.

The challenges: Warped wood with a crack.

I had expected the solution to be easy! I have wood glue. I have clamps. I have time.

I’d need the wood glue really to get all in that crack so there would be good adhesion when clamped. I didn’t want to remove material to make a fresh surface because I didn’t expect the surface not to be ready for wood glue.

Plastic knives ftw.

And with my bar clamps, it was sure to dry properly.

Letting it dry for days would make the rest of the job go without any issue. Right? RIGHT????

But with the warping, it returned to its split state. And now there was glue that was messing with the surface! Yayyyyyyy!

So I used an Xacto knife to cut off all the glue that I could to prepare the surface for another attempt. This time I decided to dilute the glue some because maybe the plastic knife didn’t really get all the glue where I wanted it. The depth of this crack was no joke.

Well, the slightly diluted glue definitely made its way in, and I went through the clamping and waiting process again.

Based on where we are in this post, you know already that it didn’t work. But it only was a few days of waiting with anticipation only for it not to work, so it wasn’t like I lost too, too much time.

I learned that gluing was not the answer.

I made the decision to sand down the pieces and go from there.

Just like I’d done with the top of the table, I made my own wood filler out of dust from sanding and wood glue.

Back on track!

The knob design element issue makes a return next week.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 6)

I left off last week with Table 2’s boards planed and ready to go. I haven’t been focusing as much on the first table because the 1/4-sheet palm sander took off way less material per pass. The crazy-good sandpaper that never clogged might be part of the random orbital sander’s effectiveness, so that’s something I’ve learned to watch out for.

That would be important for the remaining pieces of the table.

These tables are far more complicated than that first step-up end table project I’d done. Rather than just two side pieces, these had a back piece and a drawer. They also came with a knoblike design element that I didn’t care much for and was debating whether or not to amputate.

Table 1: 1/4-sheet palm sander

The outside part of the right side of the table:

The inside part of the right side of the table:

The outside part of the left side of the table:

The inside part of the left side of the table:

The back portion:

I noticed that with the back part, an edge veered away from being straight. The alignment didn’t allow for the board to be cut down to be straightened out, and since it would not be in an exposed area, I decided not to do anything about it. I figured that was the manufacturer’s thought process, too.

The grain that was exposed on all the boards made me eager to get to the finishing stage. It had been hidden for so long under the dark stain but was sure to glow.

For this table, I decided I’d keep the knob design elements. So I sanded and sanded with folded sandpaper.

Just some of the pieces I used

I don’t know how this happened with so many elements of Table 2, but the preparation of that one would not be nearly as simple. More on that next week.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 5)

First, a note:

I don’t know how this happened, but the prior post missed schedule. That is to say that it was all set for automatic posting at 10am, but WordPress didn’t do it. I posted it Friday of last week when I realized it hadn’t gone out.

I left off last week having sanded both tables. I had gotten rid of the rings on each one. But I’d noticed something that took Table 2 (the one with the random orbital sander) off the rails.

Rather than being smooth and flat, the surface of table was uneven like rolling hills. That was no good. It was not up to my standard.

Also I noticed that the upper board was cupped.

This was bad news.

And it would have to change.

I mean, at least Table 1 (1/4-sheet palm sander) was fine. But how do I smooth out Table 2?

Rather than go back to Angel City Woodshop–a place I respect thoroughly to do amazing work–I decided to hand plane.

I had last used a real plane (not the tiny one I’d used for the seat cushions) back in Mr. Bartkowski’s woodshop class in middle school. I turned to YouTube to guide me.

This was the best video of all I’d watched.

So I went out and got two Stanley planes: a 9-3/4″ inch bench plane and a 14″ bench plane. I was determined to get these boards flat.

From McMaster Carr.

But I’d also read that I should make sure to sharpen the blades to make cutting super easy.

I bought a jig to make sure that the angle was set up right for consistent sharpening. It was worth it.

From Amazon.

I sharpened the blades and got to work.

Welllll, I sharpened a blade and looked away and nicked my finger on a blade while looking away to grab a paper towel. I knew my sharpening was done, but I had to grab the Krazy glue before continuing. Gotta love the Krazy glue skin repairs.

Since I don’t have a proper workbench yet, I set up a folding table and clamped pieces of wood to it to use as a backstop for the planing. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked! I used cinderblocks to keep the table in place.

This was not a single-day activity. Not even close. This took many days, and I tore up my hands because I didn’t have the right callouses yet.


But when I finished, the boards were flat again. They were ready for sanding. I mean sanding again. This time it wouldn’t be so much work because I didn’t need to focus on any single area.

More next week.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 4)

It’s been a number weeks since Part 3 of this series, but I’m back with the new installment!

I had left off with the gluing up of the top of the second table.

Each table was ready to sand: The first table with the DeWalt 1/4-sheet palm sander and the second table with the DeWalt random orbital sander.

The potted plant rings were not limited to the lower part of the table and would be a chore to remove. I started with 3M 60-grit sandpaper and turned the the speed wheel to 7 (max).

In just two minutes of steady sanding, I had made progress and suffered the setback of seeing a ring I hadn’t known was there. So I would have to remove not two but three rings.

Three in, and things were already shaping up. Could this be easier than I’d expected?

At the five-minute mark, I started to notice some stripes in the lower-right quadrant. I didn’t know if those were spills or what, but it didn’t make me comfortable.

At 15 minutes the large ring was not giving up, and the ring in the upper-right corner remained stubborn. But those lines looked to be part of the wood! If the teak oil were to make it glow, that could be amazing.

Grit changes from 60 to 100 to 150 to 220 got me here. I could see the rings faintly, but I had stopped making progress. I felt there was little more I could do if it had gotten that deep.

I also didn’t want to run the risk of uneven sanding.

Total time from the first picture to the last for table 1: 71 minutes.

On to table 2 with the random orbital sander.

A reminder: This was done about six weeks after table 1 and with a slightly different setup.

I started with the 3M Pro Grade purple 80+ grit Cubitron II disc. What a name, right?

Two minutes in and wow. Really, wow.

The seam from the gluing would go away as I continued to sand, but that was a lot of material gone in such a short time.

I decided to see if I could use my tiny plane to make my work easier. Tiny but mighty. Also at the time, my only plane. It didn’t do much, and I figured I’d only gouge stuff out. I went back to sanding.

At the 15-minute mark, things were looking up. Now, not all of those 15 minutes were spent on sanding. I had taken the plane out, goofed around with it. Put it back. But timestamp-wise, this is 15 minutes in.

I was having trouble determining if the wood was just darker or if there was stain that wouldn’t go away. The seam was softening, and the 80+ grit sandpaper was holding up well.

Then I made my first big goof: I forgot that the sander is dangerous.

I picked up the board to sand along a side rather than using my vise to hold it in place. That was dumb. And the sandpaper sliced into my left index finger.

I don’t have pictures of that because I was too busy running to the sink to wash it out and apply pressure and then alcohol and then krazy glue. It got me pretty good and shook me up, but it could have been a lot worse.

I realized that using leather work gloves was not a bad idea after all. I put those on and changed my approach. Why risk holding things in the air?

I swapped in 100-grit regular 3M Pro Grade and followed that up with 120+, 150+, and 180+ of the Pro Grade Cubitron.

Total time from the first picture to the last for table 2: 78 minutes.

It seemed to be going well, but then I noticed something, and the table 2 process had gone off the rails.

More next week!

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 3)

The next part to address was the upper portion of the step-up end tables.

The starting point for the 1/4-sheet palm sander.

The top part of the 1/4-sheet palm sander with its own giant rings. I’m thinking more vases.

I had wanted to treat both tables equally and really test the sanders, but it became very apparent with the second table that I could not in every respect. And for that reason, I must focus this post on the second table.

See, the top part of the step-up table was cracked. I saw daylight through a seam. The glue had lost integrity.

Crack is wack.
Super wack.

So I did what I do in these situations: I broke the board in half. I feel like there’s a video somewhere of that, but I cannot find it.

All it takes a whack.

I know to get rid of the old glue before gluing up boards. In the past, I’ve used sandpaper. Then I switched to a sanding block. It never lines up properly. It’s annoying. I always worry about ending up with a rail when I start out with a table. And that was happening with this board.

Gotta get that glue off, but it’s gone awry.

So I stopped myself and tried to find out how I could just do it right. I figured there had to be a woodshop around here somewhere that has a jointer.

But I started with reddit to see what the folks there recommend.

Many people recommended getting a hand plane. So I researched hand planes. But what would I need a big plane for afterward? I already had a mini plane. I used the mini plane to chamfer the edges of the seat cushion boards. The mini plane had no hope of creating the edge I wanted.

So back it was to try to find woodshops in the area because I really didn’t want to mess around with this part of it.

House of Hardwood no longer offers use of their jointer as a service. That had been my go-to. But only in my mind, really. I remembered that someone who also had made a chessboard in my woodshop class the summer after 6th grade had taken his chessboard to House of Hardwood to run it through the planer so he didn’t have to do it by hand. I was proud to have hand planed my chessboard. I still am. But what with no plane and such a small job, I was OK with letting someone else handle it.

Finally I found Angel City Woodshop. They make amazing stuff. Truly remarkable.

Paul agreed to straighten out for me what I’d screwed up, and that saved me in this project.

He’s really nice, and the stuff I saw in progress in the shop was superlative. I recommend Angel City Woodshop for their kindness and craftsmanship. There’s no sacrifice in either quality.

When I got home, I glued up the board.

Back on track and glued up.
Clamping two.
Five clamps should do it.

Back on track with the two tables at the same stage. I would have had something a lot worse had I not stopped myself and gotten the help I needed.

More next week!

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 2)

These two oak tables were going to be a challenge. The first challenge was to get to the oak.

Table 1: 1/4-sheet palm sander.

Definitely a rough time.

The main board of the table started out pretty gross. I mean it wasn’t the worst I’ve dealt with, but it was bad. Water damage was the main issue. It looked like a potted plant lived on it, and then either smaller flowers or tea.

After 18 minutes of sanding. I was making some considerable headway.

There was still clearly more to do.

I kept going, and almost 10 minutes later

I think this water stain is the worst I’d dealt with. The prior step-up end table project also had some crazy water stains, but those were manageable. I wasn’t sure what would happen with these.

Let’s switch over to the the other table.

Table 2: Random Orbital Sander

But first a little bit about the sander and the sandpaper.

I had waited for the DeWalt sander to go on sale on Amazon. When it did, I got it. But the sandpaper for a random orbital sander is different from the sandpaper for a 1/4 sheet palm sander.

After some research, I came across the 3M Pro Grade sandpaper that claimed not to clog. Also that it had grit of varying size and sharpness, so rather than 80-grit, there was 80+. I got a variety pack.

It says not for retail sale on the real box, too. I don’t understand. That’s amazon for you.

I expected the random orbital sander to be much more powerful at removing material. And it was.

Water stains not as bad. Could be easy!

Four minutes of progress with the 80+.

Eight minutes in, and I saw stains I hadn’t seen before. Including a familiar big circle! Another potted plant or flowerpot, I imagine.

At the 30-minute mark, the DeWalt random orbital sander with 3M Pro Grade 80+ sandpaper had blown away the DeWalt 1/4-sheet palm sander with 3M regular 60-grit.

And the amazing thing after an hour of use:

How is there no clogging? I’d swapped out the 60-girt numerous times at this point.

The other surprise: It was never oak. I’m working with maple!

I like maple better, anyway.

More next week!

Note: This post is a little lighter on text. I’ve been struggling with WordPress to get captions back on my photos. No luck just yet, but that has eaten up a lot of time. More cool stuff later.