Rustic Bedside Table - Winter 2008-2009

Delicate it ain't.

[right] The legs came from a small balsam that I took down on our property. I brought the trunk back to DC and debarked it in my workshop. The top is simply 2X6's cleaned up on the table saw and edge joined.

The finish on this table is shellac. I bought a pound of golden shellac flakes and a gallon of denatured alcohol and mixed up an approximately 1-lb cut. It took surprisingly long for the flakes to dissolve (2-3 days), and I noticed that the resulting liquid was quite cloudy with sediment. I probably should filter it next time. I applied the finish with a brush, and I had a lot of difficulty keeping a wet edge to work against and preventing drips from running down adjacent surfaces and leaving an obvious mark. As careful as I was, there are still some areas where drips and overlaps are visible. I clearly need to improve my brush technique. Otherwise I got a kick out of working with this very traditional finish.

Overkill: Full extension, heavy duty (100 lb) slides.

[left] I am working to refine my woodworking style away from the gigantically massive, but only making slow progress at best. I have subsequently added some birchbark surface treatment to the drawer front.

Joinery detail.

[right] I cut the flat faces on each leg with a ryoba saw - a bandsaw would have been quicker but I don't have one. To locate the holes for the dowel pins, I constructed a simple jig with a fence that I clamped to the legs and the apron.