The top of the coffee table is now up to the next stage of the fun – shaping and sanding. The now dried slab of boards needs to be flattened on both sides, be trimmed to provide the overall shape, have the edges rounded and shaped and be sanded in preparation for finishing.
Sometimes it is best to embrace one’s weaknesses and turn them into a strength. These words of wisdom are my way of saying that I recognise that I am almost certainly never going to achieve a perfectly squared piece of furniture; after all we’re not making one of these:
Therefore I’m embracing my lack of exactness to create something more organic in nature. I also think this is more sympathetic to the nature of the materials I’m working with – reclaimed and reused timber.
The plan then (ok – there isn’t really a plan I’m working from other than a picture in my head I’m working towards and adapting and improvising along the way) is to round off the corners of the glued slab. Most importantly these round corners will be hand drawn and deliberately be uneven left to right and end to end. Before shaping the ends the slab has been rough planed both sides to a more even width.
After marking the cut the trimming is being done using a jig saw. Even with a fresh rip-cut blade the timbers really challenge the rip saw – not only is the slab right on the maximum thickness the saw can handle, the multi-decade seasoned ironbark is incredibly hard. I am really having to push the saw through the cut:
Next stage is to further plane both sides of the slab, and also shape the edges using the plane. Then on to the sanding. The rough sand is with P80 grade – again the well seasoned ironbark is playing havoc with the tools. Overall the rough sand ripped through about twelve sheets of P80, which each sheet losing 50% of the effectiveness as a sanding material after the first 60 seconds of sanding.
The left hand side of the slab in this photo has been rough sanded, erasing the worse of the planer marks.
All that planing, cutting and orbital sanding was making my hands buzz….time for a coffee break. It seemed only the right thing to do to bring out the makings to the nascent table…
Lovely chocolate chip biscuit home baked yesterday by the Ladies of the House, and a quick few pages of The Bookshop that Floated Away which I bought as a birthday present for The Larger Loinfruit, and am now reading myself.
There is however no rest for the wicked and its back to the grind…or rather the planing and sanding. Seeing as the top of the table had been fully sanded by this point I took the precaution of padding the saw horses with some cloth so that the exercise of further planing and then sanding the underside, once the slab was flipped over, did not leave gouges and paint marks from the much used saw horse on the newly finished “top” surface. This was basically an excellent idea, but I wasn’t intending on this happening:
Note to self….be a little bit more careful when planing near bits of cloth.
The good news is that I now also know much more about how to take apart a RYOBI power planer than I did before. The bad news is that getting the cloth out required decoupling the tangled planer drum from the drive wheel by removing the drive belt (so that the drum could be turned in reverse) and that when I did so the drum band was damaged. This subsequently led to the discovery that the ONLY way to order RYOBI spare parts is via the Bunnings Special Orders Desk. Sigh….
Before packing up for the day I rubbed a small section of the sanded table with a wet cloth, and you can start to see the finish that will come up once the table is rubbed with linseed oil once completed. Not bad for a shitty old, nail ridden piece of old decking…
<-Go to Part 2 …. Go to Part 3a->
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