The revival of the Old Dutch in household furniture affords the amateur many opportunities to display his skill, which needs not to be highly developed to produce many useful as well as ornamental furnishings for the home. Careful work and sharp tools are the main requisites, for upon the latter the former greatly depends. This is the first of a series of descriptive articles giving the necessary directions for making such articles as tables, desks, bookcases, china-cabinets, settles, beds, etc., all of which can be constructed by any one of ordinary skill and with a moderate equipment of tools. Much of the material may be obtained of the lumber dealer sawed to actual dimensions at but little extra expense, if pencil drawings of shapes and sizes be furnished with the order, greatly reducing the heavy work that otherwise would have to be done. Such parts of the work as may be advisable to have done at the lumber dealer's will be indicated. Before beginning the construction of any of these pieces the necessary tools should be put in first-class condition. The time spent in doing this will be fully regained in the work to follow.
The first subject for trial is an occasional table of solid oak, its completed form being shown in the accompanying sketch. The top is 40" long, 28" wide and 1 3/8" thick. As the work of gluing up the top requires clamps to hold the boards firmly together while the glue is drying, as well as accurately planed edges to avoid cracks, this work had best be done at the lumber-mill if it is possible to have it. The glue should be allowed to become thoroughly dry before the top is fastened to the frame.
The parts for the frame include four pieces for the legs 2f" square and 281/2" long; two pieces 431/2" long and 21/2|" wide and 1" thick for the top of the frame to which the table top is attached; two pieces 21" long, 5" wide and 1" thick, and one piece 325/8" long, 4" wide and 1" thick for the bottom of the frame. Also two small pieces for keys 3" long, 1" wide and §" thick, and several pieces of 1/4" oak dowel.
Beginning with the legs, make the mortises for the cross-pieces. It is well to mark out with a pencil where the mortises are to come, the better to secure a good fit, and avoid the error of getting the mortises in the wrong sides. The mortises in the top end are 1" wide, 14" deep and 1/2" from outside edge of leg, and extend 2" from the end, the cross-pieces being cut down to fit, forming a shoulder which serves to make the frame rigid. With a bit bore holes to remove the wood, finishing with a sharp chisel, care being taken not to cut away too much wood and so cause a loose-fitting joint.
The mortises for the cross-pieces at the bottom of legs are 4" long and 1" wide, and are cut clear through the leg. The bottom of mortise is 41/2" from the bottom end of the leg.
The cross-pieces for the top of the frame are then prepared. The two side pieces are 273/4" long and 24 1/2" wide. For the tenons on each end to fit the mortises in the top of the legs, cut a piece 1/2" wide and 11/4" long from the lower side of each end. The two end pieces are 17 3/4 and pieces are cut from the lower side of each end, the same size as from the side pieces. Three holes in the side pieces and two holes in the end pieces are bored into the under sides to receive the screws that fasten the top in place. They should be 1/2"' in diameter to the depth of 11/2", and a trifle less than the diameter of the screw for the balance. The screws should be 1 3/4 long and about 1/4" diameter.
The end pieces at the bottom are 21" long, tenons being cut at both top and bottom of each end, 27/8" long and 1/2" deep. The edge of the ends are beveled slightly with a plane to make a neat finish. In the center of each piece is cut the mortise to receive the bottom cross-piece, which should be 3" high and 1" wide. When these end pieces are complete, they are, together with the top end pieces, set tightly into the mortises in the legs, care being taken to see that the pieces are squared with each other. Then 1/4" holes are bored clear through the legs for dowel-pins to fasten the frame together. The dowel-pins are driven in, each end being sawed off flush with the leg and carefully smoothed over.
The bottom cross-piece is 325/8" long, tenons being cut, at top and bottom of each end, 241/2" long and 41/2" deep. In the center of each end cut holes for the keys 1" high and 3/4" wide, the outer edges being 3/4" from each end. The ends of the piece are also beveled, about a 1/4" bevel being made. The keys are straight pieces, 3" long, 1" wide and 3/4" thick in the center, each end being beveled off to |" thick. The cross-piece can now be placed in the mortises, the keys driven in place and secured by glue, when everything is found correctly fitted. The top side pieces are also secured by dowel-pins, and the frame is complete. See that all joints are correct before the final fastening.
To attach the top of the table to the frame, place it top down, on suitable supports, preferably two low carpenter's horses. Place the frame in position. At the ends the legs will be 5" from the end of top, and at all sides 4" from the edge. Bore holes in the top 3/4 " deep, to match those made in the frame, setting screws in one or two holes, before making the balance, to ensure correct work. The table should now be carefully smoothed over with fine sandpaper, any holes being filled with putty. A convenient way of using the sandpaper is to wrap a strip around a small flat block of wood, changing the paper as soon as it becomes smooth.
A dark green or brown stain is the most desirable finish for the table, but before this is applied it is given a coating of filler. This prevents the grain from raising, and keeps the surface smooth. The filler, and a suitable stain and polish, can be procured of any paint dealer. The many excellent prepared stains and polishes now to be obtained at low cost, obviate the necessity of making them. At best the processes are complicated, and the materials not easily found, even in the large cities. The polish should have but little glaze, the graining of the stained oak giving the necessary character and tone to the work. A table, constructed as here described, will be found both useful and ornamental.