Shaker Sewing Table Project - 1c

Woodturning and Woodworking - Intermediate Project

Just a Few More Steps and
your Shaker Table will be Complete

So far, in building the Shaker table, you have turned the pedestal, cut out the cabriole-style legs and mounted them, attached the uprights to the crosspiece creating a yoke, mounted the drawer runners onto the yoke, and attached the yoke to the pedestal.

Next you are going to assemble the drawer.

Compare your pieces for the drawer with the following list:
----- Two end panels 5/8" x 4 3/4" x 7 3/4"
----- Two side panels 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 15 1/2"
----- Two drawer runners 1/4" x 3/4" x 15 1/2"
----- One bottom 1/2" x 7 1/4" x 15 1/4"
If your pieces are not the exact dimensions above, just make sure that your end panels match, that your side panels match, that the drawer runners are the same length as your side panels, and that your end panels are 1/2" wider and the side panels are 1/4" longer than the drawer bottom (including the lip).
----- Tails are on the end panels
----- Pins are on the side panels
----- A 1/4" groove runs around the inside of the panels
----- A 1/4" rabbet around the drawer bottom leaves
--------a 1/4" lip

Hand sand the edges of the uprights, crosspiece, and drawer runners just enough to remove the sharpness (called breaking the edge).

If you need to make any corrections, make them now. If not, it is time to put the pieces together.

Pictures of Shaker Table Drawer and
Drawer Bottom

Picture of Shaker Table Drawer

Picture of drawer bottom

Using glue in all of the joints, insert the lip on the bottom into the grooves in the side panels, then join the pins and tales on the panels, inserting the lip into the groove in each end panel. Your drawer should be 16" long and the bottom should be flush with the panels. Put clamps on the drawer and let the glue dry overnight. Use wood strips between the clamps and your drawer to protect it.
If you made "mock dovetails" which do not interlock, use the same dowel procedure you used when you joined the uprights and crosspiece. Do this as your next step while you still have clamps lengthwise on the drawer.

Picture of Shaker Table
Drawer Runner

Picture of Drawer Runners

Now, you are ready to attach the drawer runners. Remember that they should butt against the end panels, should be flush with the tops of the end panels, and have a 1/4" overhang. Attach the runners using four small evenly spaced finishing nails. Use a punch to slightly sink the nail heads. (This picture is from a drawer that I built out of Oak to show the detail more clearly.)

Next, you need to size the Shaker Table top. The dimensions are 3/4" x 18" x 21". After you have sized it, you need to use a router and small bit to break the edge and then switch to a 3/4" roundover bit to shape it.

Pictures of the Top and Edge

Picture of Shaker Sewing Table top

Picture of table edge

Picture of Mounting Top

Picture of Mounting Table Top to Yoke

You have now reached the final step - mounting the top to the yoke.
Sink four evenly space wood screws along each drawer hanger to attach the top to the yoke. (The picture just shows two of the four on each side.)

Now, insert the drawer. Because this Shaker Table drawer is bi-directional, you will have to center it so that you can determine what length to turn your pulls for each end, making the overall drawer length 18". Assuming everything came out perfectly, your pulls will each be 1" long with a peg on the end of them that is 5/8" long. You will bore a 5/8" hole in each end of the drawer to receive the peg. You will split the end of each peg to allow you to drive a small wedge into it to secure the pull. You can make the pulls any design that you want to, or you can just leave them plain. (Since we all know that things do not always turn out perfectly - if you have to - just make it work by adjusting the length of your pulls.)

A Bit of Advice:
No one, no matter how good, will always make every piece perfectly by hand. As you learn fine woodworking, learn also how to correct your mistakes - do not try to be perfect. If you have made a costly mistake that you do not know how to fix, ask for help. That is part of what we, the elders of woodworking, are available for on the internet.

Picture of Mounted Table Top

Finishing the Shaker Sewing Table

You are now ready to do the final sanding - every edge and every plane. The best way to tell if you are finished sanding is by running your hand over all of it to see if anything needs to be touched up. Also use a bright light to look at the surfaces just to be sure that you do not have any remaining sanding marks.

The next step is to apply the stain (if you plan to use it). I use MINWAX Wood Finish stain. It penetrates and seals as well as stains. If you want a dark stain, brush it on heavily and leave it. If you want a lighter or more even stain, brush it on and then wipe it with a rag. Let the stain dry overnight.

What I do next is brush on a coat of MINWAX Polyurethane Clear Gloss. Remember this - you are not painting. You brush on the coat, and you do not go back and touch it up while it is drying. Let it dry overnight. Then sand the table again using 120 grit sandpaper. Run your hand over it to see that you have gotten everything.

Next, I put a coat of MINWAX Polyurethane Clear Satin. I let that dry overnight, then sand it, and apply another coat of Clear Satin. Often, I put three coats of Clear Satin. Always sand each dry coat of finish except the last coat.

After you have put the last coat of Clear Satin and have let it dry overnight, you need to rub the entire finish with a coarse rag (I use a piece of burlap sack) and pumice stone. Put oil (I use motor oil for tables and other fine furniture) on your rag and dip it in the stone. Rub the table really hard. This will knock the glassy shine off of it. Finally, put a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax on it and let that dry. Buff the wax. (You can find Johnson's Paste Wax at your local Ace Hardware dealer.)

Go back to the picture of the top and edge. Notice that the coal figurines are reflected in the top. Also notice that the curtains are reflected. What happens when you put a base coat of Clear Gloss and top coats of Clear Satin and then cut the shine down with the pumice stone and oil, is that you will have a soft mirror shine in the top and a refined looking piece of furniture.

You are now finished and
you have built a beautiful
Shaker Sewing Table.

Picture of two Shaker Sewing Tables

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Shaker Sewing Table - 1c to 1b
Shaker Sewing Table - 1c to 1a