Ming Inspiration (25)

Post 25 in this series about a dining table, the design for which was inspired by a Ming side table and a large slab of curly bubinga. Africa meets China, and it’s not exactly a trade mission, or even a fact-finding tour. Seems to be the coming thing.

Last time, I finished cutting a bunch of shallow recesses on the top edge of the main aprons of the table. The next step was to push the aprons through the shaper to remove a slice of wood from that top edge:

With that strip of wood planed away, what I was left with were the raised areas along the top edge which will become male dovetails later on:

Here’s a view of both long aprons after the top edge processing is more or less done:

More to do yet on these aprons however. Next up are some dovetail mortises which are part of the joints which connect the transverse battens. I made a simple jig out of MDF:

And then set up my router with a guide template bushing:

Actually I used two routers, one to rough out the slot and then the other to dovetail. The setting up, as usual, takes 90% of the time. The dovetail bit is a special one I obtained from Japan with a 25˚ cutting angle. Cutting began in earnest, and after the router work, I cleaned up the fuzz with a paring chisel:

Dovetail mortise now roughed out:

Target depth for the mortises was 0.5050″:

Target width for the dovetail’s wide end was 0.8000″:

Both long aprons now with their 5 dovetail mortises, each, more nearly completed:

Of course, those dovetail mortises would be lonely without a little male company, so I set to work making some special pins:

Five little pins on the one side:

Another close-up for the heck of it – this one is a little too tight I think:

I made the pins quite tight, as I expect to do one more scrape off the inner surface of the apron. This dovetail joint is unique however in the respect that it is not critical that the pin’s shoulders form a tight fit to the apron face. More on this joint in a future post.

Both aprons now pinned out:

How about a gander a little closer in?:

Those pins – yatoi sen – are only in the nascent stages of formation at this point.

All for today – more pictures tomorrow. Thanks for coming by. –> on to post 26

Anything to add?

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