The design brief this time was for the table to resemble a folded piece of paper. The drama in this piece was to be a deep v section or valley that ran across the centre of the table. I chose crown cut English Ash not only beautifully figured but with a textured grain to match.
When viewed from above the shape of the table is a perfect rectangle. In order for the components to fit this brief there were lots of compound angles to work out. My training on CAD packages including Rhino 3D came in useful. With help from more advanced students on the course I modelled the shape in Rhino and produced a full size mockup in MDF. This process really helped to refine the design as well as to check the methods of construction.
The timber was carefully selected, five 4 metre long sequential planks from the same tree. Much more material than I needed, but we are taught to buy at least twice what we need. This means we can make our component selection without compromise, this is essential when making items of the very highest quality. The ash had been kilned dried and had a moisture content of 9.4, well within the acceptable range for furniture makers. The timber was allowed to acclimatise in the workshop, and was dimensioned down to size over a period of two weeks.
Mitres seem to have become my joint of choice and there was going to be no change to that in this project. I was able to cut some of the mitres on the Altendorf table saw we have in the workshop. However, the joint at the bottom of the v section required use of the spindle moulder. A scary machine, but once mastered is incredibly flexible. In order to use the machine, each student undertakes a two-day training course. I duly received my training and set about building a jig to hold my work. It took longer to set up the machine, build the jig and run through a test piece than it did to machine my ash, but as all good craftsman say, it’s all about the preparation.