Frank Di Leo was in the studio to share one of his passions with us...woodworking. He showed us how we can all make our own furniture pieces with the right tools, materials and some creativity. Here are the step-by-step instructions to creating your own unique side table.
Building an Exotic Wood Side Table Using Mortise/Tenon Joints
Exotic wood of your choice for table top. I chose burl walnut and burl maple supplied by Exotic Woods Inc. in Burlington, ON.
For table legs use 2 x 2 poplar, pine, oak, maple, cherry, etc,...anything you wish. I used teak from a recycled garage sale chair.
Tung oil and/or water-based urethane.
1" Forstner bit or spade bit
1" carpenter chisel
Orbital or belt sander
Metal wire brush or wire wheel brush to attach to drill (needed to clean crevices and excess bark of exotic wood)
Mini set square, slide square or speed square
Table top preparation: 1. Clean excess bark and crevices using wire brushes. 2. Sand down table top to a smooth surface using a belt or orbital sander. 3. Determine placement position of your table legs on your table top. 4. Space out placement of legs equidistant from one another. Always position your table legs minimally 3-4" in from the edge.
Creating mortise: 1. Measure and draw out 1" x 1" square (your mortise) which will house your tenon. 2. Using your 1" forstner or spade bit, drill out your drawn squares; be careful not to cut outside your drawn lines. 3. Using your 1" chisel, chisel down the remaining material to complete the mortise.
1. At the top of the leg, measure in and mark from all edges creating a 1" square. 2. Using your slide square or your speed square, transfer the measurements above at the top of the leg down the side of the leg, on all sides, establishing your cut lines. Those cut lines should be slightly longer than the thickness of the table top. 3. Once you've drawn the cut lines for your tenons, with a cross cut saw, cut down those lines shaping the tenon. 4. Once tenons are cut, with cross cut saw, cut out a slit down the center of your tenon (to house wedge which will lock tenon to mortise).
Assembly: 1. Apply wood glue to tenon and mortise; insert legs into position. Make sure you wipe away excess glue with damp rag. 2. Apply glue to your wood wedges. Wedges can be made from any other type of hard wood. I used padauk for its contrasting and distinctive red colour. Wedge should be as wide as the mortise and slightly longer than the tenon. Make sure you wipe away excess glue with damp rag. 3. Insert wedges into slits cut in tenons; tap wedges with a hammer until they feel locked in. 4. Allow all glue to dry at least an hour. 5. With saw, cut off protruding wedges so wedge is flush with tenon top. 6. Using a sander, sand the table top smooth. Wipe off excess dust. 7. Finish with tung oil (or urethane if you have a nut allergy).
Basic Tenon A straightforward mortise and tenon employs a tenon cut into a rail (*A*) and a mortise cut all the way through the corresponding rail (*B*). This type of joint can be strengthened by fitting dowels or wedges in the end of the tenon (*C*). To strengthen with wedges, the end of the tenon will be expanded to tighten the two pieces snugly.
Wood supplied to the Steven and Chris Show courtesy of Exotic Woods Inc.