This section is from the book "Mission Furniture: How To Make It", by Henry Haven Windsor. Also available from Amazon: Mission Furniture: How to Make It.
The table shown in the accompanying sketch is especially appropriate for the den; it might be used in any other part of the house as well. It may be built of plain-sawed red oak, or of quarter-sawed white oak. The wood should be thoroughly seasoned and devoid of imperfections.
Order the material as follows:
Lay out and cut the circular top first. Next cut the four legs to length. To get the slopes for the ends of the legs and the shoulders of the tenons, lay out a full-sized drawing in pencil and lay the bevel along these lines, adjusting the parts to the lines.Table Completed
The top horizontals have grooves cut on either side to allow the posts to "set in." This is to give the frame more rigidity. The lower horizontals or stretchers are to be tenoned through the posts and keyed. That the keys may be alike in size, a good plan is to make them first, then make the mortises in the stretchers to correspond. Work the keys to the proper thickness, unless they were ordered so, then to length and joint one edge straight and square. Next lay off across the key the lines A and B of the drawing so that A shall measure 1/2 in. and B 3/8 in. Draw a sloping line through these points and work this edge of the key to size and shape. Round the top of the key as shown. Then mortise, in the tenon, for the key can then be laid out to 1/2 in. for the top opening and 3/8 in. for the bottom.Detail of a Den Table
The most satisfactory finish for mission designs, and the easiest to apply, is wax. It is an old finish that was superseded by varnish. Our ancestors used to make wax polish by "cutting" beeswax with turpentine. Cut up the beeswax and add to it about one-third its volume of turpentine. Heat to the boiling point in a double boiler. Or, melt a quantity of beeswax and to this add an equal volume of turpentine. Care must be taken that the turpentine shall not catch fire.
Rapid drying and hardening waxes can be purchased now-a-days. They require a smooth surface and a thin application for a successful result. Too much wax upon a rough surface will produce very ugly, white, chalk-like spottings as the wax dries. These are especially noticeable upon dark finishes. Waxes colored black overcome this, but are not necessary if the ordinary wax is properly applied. 1 - Stain the wood, if a very dark finish is desired. 2 - If the wood is coarse grained, put on one or two coats of paste filler and rub it off carefully, that a smooth surface may be prepared. Allow the stain 12 hours in which to dry, also each coat of filler. 3 - With a soft cloth apply as thin a coating of wax as can be and still cover the wood. Wax is in paste form. 4 - Allow this to stand five or ten minutes, then rub briskly with a soft dry cloth to polish. 5 - Let stand 24 hours, then apply another coat.
WINDOW SEAT Fig. 1 - The Rough Cedar Box Without the Covering