Episode #16: Porringer Tea Table – Part 5

This thing is actually starting to look like something resembling a table now! In this episode, I prepare the apron stock, cut and fit the tenons, and create the decorative detail at the bottom of the aprons. At the end, a dry assembly gives me an idea of how the whole thing is shaping up.


 

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7 thoughts on “Episode #16: Porringer Tea Table – Part 5

  1. I’m enjoying your project immensely, and have learned so much from your postings. It’s especially interesting to see how different people approach the same problem. Your use of the incannel gouge is simple, effective, and praiseworthy. I just never would have thought of that. I wonder how you could go about making one of those since new and old ones are probably prohibitively expensive.

    • Thanks Jay! The paring technique is actually an age old method. There are plenty of antique examples where you can still see the marks left from a gouge on the bottom of an apron. These tools are actually still available new today. Henry Taylor makes them and they run about $25-$30 apiece; not unreasonable at all. Two Cherries also makes them. I think the TC versions are slightly more expensive than the Taylors and again, not unreasonable at all. You really only need two or three, not a large set like straight chisels. I have 5 old ones and none were more than $20 each. They are relatively common.

  2. I am enjoying the project. It is making some of the curved work more approachable for future projects.

    I have to say you scared me to death with your paring. It looked like in most shots that your thumb was in front of the blade. Not a wise safety move if that wasn’t an optical illusion.

    Seeing the project assembled sans top has me wondering. Have you reconsidered your proportions after dry assembly? The legs appear disproportionally large (thick) when compared to the aprons.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Josh,
      Thanks for the concern, but no need to worry, all appendages were behind the edge at all times :). As for the proportions, I’m not worried [yet]. Remember, the legs were cut between 1/16″ and 1/8″ fat and the area above the peak of the knee has not been shaped yet. I think when the tops of the legs are cut and planed flush to the aprons and the area above the knees is shaped to its final thickness, it will look lighter. We shall see :).

      The proportions are slightly on the heavy side by design though. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and want to make sure it will survive when one tackles the other into the table. This is the same reason I designed it with a porringer top (no sharp corners). Good eye though!

  3. Another nice episode. One thing comes to mind. Would this be a good time to grove the inside of the aprons for buttons to attach the top, or do you have something else up your sleeve?

    Also are knee blocks/legs ever M&T together, or would that only be required if the knee block grain is in the same direction as the apron? I’ve seen that detail somewhere before and wonder if its ever a good practice. Thanks!

    • Dan,
      Now would indeed be the time to plow a groove on the inside edge of the aprons if one were going to attach the top with buttons. However, the tool list I recommended at the beginning of the project contained no simple and effecient means of creating this groove, so I’m just going to be using simple glue blocks. The blocks will be glued to the inside of the aprons and elongated holes will be bored in them for screws to attach the top. The originals would have likely just used the glue blocks and/or a few nails, but since this isn’t a reproduction, I’m going to use the screws in elongated holes to allow for movement of the top. This will prevent the top from splitting like we see in so many period pieces.

      As for the knee blocks, I can’t say for sure that they were not ever tenoned into the leg, but it was not likely a common practice. It would require a lot of extra work for little to no gain. The grain in the knee block typically runs with the grain of the leg so the long grain to long grain glue joint between the knee block and leg is enough to hold securely. Often times, we see a nail or two driven through the bottom of the knee block up into the leg as an additional measure of securing it(either to provide additional strength, or to hold the knee block until the glue dried). In cases where the grain runs parallel to the apron, such as Newport style tea tables with apron length knee “blocks” (which are more like molding strips than blocks really), the transition piece is glued long grain to long grain to the apron, not the leg, so again, joinery wouldn’t be necessary to keep the knee block in place. I don’t think using joinery to attach the knee block would hurt the piece’s integrity, it just wouldn’t really have much benefit.

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