Patio Table

Thankfully, there’s always another project to keep me occupied — as you know; I don’t relax well.  Our house here is Phoenix has a large, covered back patio where Diane and I find ourselves having lunch daily.  What better project than a table to dine at!  Diane found some nice patio chairs (6 of them) so we purchased those at Pier One.  It was another good excuse to explore Phoenix since we went to 3 different locations to pick up 2 chairs at each!  Over the fourth of July we went to Las Vegas for some family time with the kids.  While there, Adam was showing me how he is designing his portable work bench which holds all of his tools in one compact and moveable table.  He showed me how he designed it using SketchUp, amazing!  Then I showed him my old school way of design — he laughed!

Jointing the Edge

This table will be my own trestle design utilizing wedged through tenons.  Sized at 3′ wide and 6′ 6″ long it’ll be made of Alder.  Not being one who likes to build from someone else’s plans I prefer to make my own.  After purchasing 8/4 and 6/4 Alder from Woodworkers Source here in Phoenix it was time to start prepping the wood.  The procedure is the same, I’ll have them straight line rip one edge then my work begins by refining that with a #7 Stanley jointer plane and going on from there to rip boards to the required width.  This is followed by planing to thickness after flattening one face if needed with a scrub plane.  The first part to be made for the table will be the legs.  These began from the 8/4 stock and are mortised and tenoned with 1/2″ wide and 1 1/2″ long tenons.

The top stretcher was cut thinner at the ends on the bandsaw.  To remove the bandsaw marks I found that a spokeshave was just the thing.  Paring chisel did the trick on the angled cut that the spokeshave couldn’t get.

Machine work is done, time for quiet hand work to refine and fit.

As a hybrid woodworker, in other words someone that uses machines to do the grunt work; the tablesaw, bandsaw, planer, and mortiser rough out the wood to dimensions that are close but then need to be refined and fitted with backsaws, chisels, and hand planes.  For a project of this size it only makes sense to me to work this way.  For example, the through mortise for the trestle are 1″ wide x 2″ tall and go through a piece approximately 1 5/8″ thick.  Using the hollow chisel mortiser with the widest chisel I have (5/8″) made fairly quick work of this process.  I worked from both sides and almost to the line, fine tuning will be accomplished with chisels.  Before this method I’d lay it out carefully on both sides and chop halfway planning to meet in the middle.  This method worked well.

All the tenons were cut slightly oversize, here’s my bench set up for bringing them to fit:

Tenon Set-Up

Mortise & Tenon marked

At the left the tenon is cut to width and the end chamfered with chisel. At the far right I’ll use a rabbet block plane to carefully fit it to the corresponding mortise.  Since there are eight joints to keep track of letter stamps are used to help keep me organized.  This method works for me.  At this point both of the legs are glued up and drying.  The next step will be the stretcher with its angled mortise to accept the wedge and hold it all together — something I’ve not attempted before!


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
This entry was posted in Hand Tool Woodworking, Mortise and Tenon Joint, Patio Table and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Patio Table

  1. Alex A. says:

    I love working with alder. It’s going to be a pretty Table.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Alex, looks like you just finished a nice looking table yourself!


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