Monday, January 17, 2011

Ming Inspiration (16)

Post 16 in this build thread, with previous installments archived to the right of the page. I'm building a dining table, the design of which is inspired by a Chinese side table originally made around 1580.

Work continues apace on the battens. In the last post I had roughed out the rod tenons on 5 of the battens. Over the weekend I managed to squeeze a little time in and cleaned up the rod tenons to final dimension. Here's a view of the rods fitted into the mortises on the 5 pairs of battens:

A closer view of one set:

Then it was on to the slot mortises on the rails ends of the battens. These feature a slightly different joint, for various reasons, then the ends already completed. These slot mortises are of the '+' form, similar to the ones I did a while back on the tops of the legs:

A closer view:

With the slots done, I could process the stub tenons on the ends of these pieces which are also slightly different than the treatment on the other end of these sticks:

Again, a close-up, the battens being upside-down in orientation in this view:

Next it was time to process the ends of the sticks upon which I had already formed the rod tenons. First, I used the re-saw bandsaw in three passes to make some cross-wise slots on the end grain:

A short while later, I had the ends of these sticks completed:

Again, a closer view:

I took the opportunity to take a preliminary look at how the rod tenons were going for fit - as planned, at this stage they are all slightly too tight in the central rail's mortises:

The tips of the rod tenons only enter about 1cm at this stage:

Then I remembered I still had some work to do on the central rail - putting a short rebate on the protrusions which later on will become male dovetails:

I then took the battens without the rod tenons and set to work fitting them:

With a little trim here and there, these battens fit snugly:

Now all five are in:

Final pic - a view from the other side:

Things went smoothly today for the most part, and the battens are at last pretty close to completion. At this point, the remaining work to do on them is to process the sliding dovetails on their upper surfaces, chamber the lower arrises, and give them a finish planing - after all fitting has been completed of course. An hour's work or so tomorrow should get me though the fitting of the rod tenons through the central rail, and I'll leave the dovetails until I cut the dovetail mortises on the table top panels.

Thanks for coming by today on your travels. --> On to post 17


  1. Realy interesting set of pictures and write-up.

  2. very nice job Chris, It's great feeling when it grows under your hands! What do you say?

  3. Gordon, thanks for the compliment.

    Petr, yes, well the feeling of accomplishment tends to be tempered by a rise in nervousness as well, as more an more hours pour into a particular stick of wood the stakes grow higher. If I made a bad miss-cut on the central rib it would take me a week to make a new one, and in some cases, like the main frame rails, I have no spare stock. It's a bit of a stress-filled activity at times, but I get a prize of great relief at then end when things come out well.



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