The past few weeks, I have been working on various projects and allowing the tops to stabilize after flattening. with the tops now milled to their final thickness, cut to length and width, I worked to create the breadboard ends.
The first step is creating the shoulder cut for the tenon. After cutting the shoulder, I remove the cheeks with a dado stack to yield a tenon with thickness of .500″
You can see the completed tenon vs the top with shoulder cuts.
With the tenon thickness milled on the ends of the tops, I move on to the breadboards them selves. The mortiser is my tool of choice for this process.
You can see my method of spacing the mortises to allow the chisel to travel as straight as possible before cleaning out the remaining material. In the next picture you will see how I mill two deep mortises and a shallow groove to create a strong breadboard end and prevent the piece from cupping over time.
with all the ends mortised, I need to trim the tenon to fit the profile of the tenon.
The last step is to fit the pieces together.
There you have it… a breadboard end applied to the top. After I add the splines and round over all the edges, the hall table and bench will finally be ready for some finish. These pieces have some fantastic wide mesquite and there is not a single glue joint in any of this furniture. It took a ton of extra work to develop ways of handling large slabs and stabilizing the voids in the mesquite. The results should speak for themselves.
This past week I was able to take the square components and begin adding the various shape details. The first item was the tapered legs. Each step reveals new voids and features in the mesquite. I fill the voids after each cut to ensure the stock moves as little as possible during subsequent cuts.
After all of the leg tapers are completed, I created the arch features for the stretchers and rails. Having made 14 of the hall tables in the past, I have assembled a router template which secures the component using two toggle clamps and allows the work to be guided safely through the bit.
A closer look at the template bit reveals how the whole system works. A guide bearing at the base of the cutter rides against a finely shaped plywood template while the helical cutter removes any mesquite protruding beyond the profile of the template.
With the arches and tapers cut, all of the base components are ready for radius details, finish, and assembly. Once the tops are constructed, I will complete the finish details on all components and assemble.
Currently, I am working to beef up a shop made slab flattening fixture to accommodate the large slab tops. Next week I will begin construction on the breadboard ends and tops.