Ming Inspiration (9)

This is the ninth post in this build series describing the construction of a dining table, the constructional system of which is based on a 16th century Chinese Ming side table. Click here to start at post 1 in this thread.

Not a heck of a lot to write about. In the past week or so I have been organizing the work space and have managed to run the stock for this table through a couple of rounds of re-sawing, jointing and planing.

I’m starting to get a good look at the material now that it is dressed, and it looks pretty sweet:

The curliness of the grain will however present some challenges in working to a finished surface.

Here’s bit of re-sawing on one of the above short side frame rails:

So far the jointer has been doing the job with relative aplomb:

I’m not fond at all of the ‘porkchop’ type of cutter head guard, and usually swing it entirely out of the way when jointing. Its shape is such that when I run material through, it sticks out into my way. What’s the point of having a guard if it tends to make the work more dangerous? I’m looking into options for a different sort of cutter head guard.

Here’s the material stacked up after a second round of re-jointing, on its way to the upstairs shop space where I can run it through a planer:

The woodworkers upstairs have been most generous to me in allowing the use of their planer from time to time. There is one downstairs to use, a Powermatic, but I haven’t got the dust collection sorted out yet, so it is not usable.

At this point in the process, the stock is sitting about 0.125″ oversize and its getting close to the point where I will start in on the joinery work. Here’s a look at the shorter sticks – table battens and legs on the left and the middle, and the two short side frame rails on the right:

Here are the long side frame rails and the center rail:

The camera angle was a little off of a view which would have shown the longer frame rails to more advantage. Trust me, they look as nice as the other pieces!

I’ve ordered some custom insert shaper knives for doing the molding cuts on the frame rails. They are from a company down in New Jersey called CGSchmidt. They have a fast 2~3 day turn-around on shaper tooling orders, and use a waterjet to cut the blades out. With a trial version of SketchUp Pro on my computer, I was readily able to send them the .dxf file for the required profile. I’m also getting them to make me a custom scraper blade to the exact same profile as the cutters. That will hopefully simplify the finish scraping work.

I’m going to let the wood sit another day or three, perhaps through until Monday next week, before I take the material down to final dimension, plus 0.01″or so. I’ll be picking up some MDF to make some guide templates in the meantime. I’m also going to be cutting a plane dai for a special purpose finishing plane with the blade bedded at 60˚. It might be a little tough to pull a 70mm plane set at a steep angle like that, but I’ll give it a go.

All for today, thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way on your travels. Post 10 is next.

4 Replies to “Ming Inspiration (9)”

  1. Dale,

    I've got some Japanese white oak and Japanese 'hon' red oak dai stock kicking about, so I might be using some of that. I'm not sure yet. I'll probably take a few photos while making it, and will post up here on the blog.


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