Home > Woodworking > Rhyan End Table – Redux (1)

Rhyan End Table – Redux (1)

Susan and I finally made it out to Melrose (Turtlecove) for a very quick overnight during the Christmas break. I seized the opportunity to “deliver” the recently completed night stand to my side of the bed. Apologies for the horrid photo.

Rhyan End Table - Build #1

Night stand #1 was a success, now Susan wanted one for her side.

The Carcass

Of course it is always a big help to have previously built a piece and this held true as I cranked up the case build on night stand #2. One of those things I was hoping to avoid was gluing up my own 2 x 2 stock but after a couple of trips to the home center and looking around online I realized that I was going to have to “bite the bullet” and make my own stock as I did the last time. On this occasion I decided to glue all the pieces up at once using my pipe clamps.

Each piece of 1 x 2 was cut an inch over final length on my miter saw. As before I began by jointing one (wide) surface of each piece making sure to mark the reference side. After generating (almost) enough pieces I performed a single glue-up in my 8 ft long pipe clamps. I would be gluing every other piece (forming pairs) and I considered how easy it might be to screw up so I wisely used the cabinet maker’s triangle on each pair to quickly and easily identify glue surfaces which were also reference surfaces I might add. I used wax paper under and over the stock to protect my clamps and added a panel on top to keep downward pressure. The result was a successful glue-up and yet another horrid photo.

Gluing up 2x2 stock for the night stand.

Gluing up 2×2 stock for the night stand.

While the glue was drying I spent the time roughing out the plywood panels for the case. Unfortunately I don’t have an easy way to rough cut larger plywood pieces down to table saw size so I use a circular saw and a shop made rip guide. This is definitely one area where my jigs and method desperately need improvement and I’ll be giving this some thought.

Assembling the case pieces began the following day.

Constructing the case sides and back.

Constructing the case sides and back.

This go round I was trying to be careful how I oriented the glued-up 2 x 2s in an attempt to be a) consistent and b) reduce the dimensional mismatch in width and height. Last time I recognized it could be a problem then proceeded to assemble incorrectly anyway 😦  Not this time 🙂

Case assembled by the end of the second day.

Case assembled by the end of the second day.


I was pretty happy with the progress. In two days I had made the carcass and it didn’t even rock when placed on a flat surface. Yeah!

Drawers for the night stand.

I started on the two drawers.

I didn’t happen to have enough 1×6 select pine for the two drawers but I did have some wider stock on hand. I decided to go ahead and rip down what I needed so I could keep working on the drawer cases. Once again I pulled out the table saw dovetail jig and with fair success, cut all my tail boards for the drawer sides. I haven’t really had that many opportunities to figure out the nuances of this device but I’m starting to sort it a bit. Instead of using the left and right side for tails, I’ve decided it makes more sense to flip the board instead. This means the angle will match but also requires me to mark both sides of the board. The added benefit is not having to stop and move the jig or tweak the blade height more than compensates for having to mark both sides of the tail board. Tails usually come out pretty respectable but it is the pin board that gets me all confused. This time I figured out that I could mark each side with a different colored marker. I used orange for one side and blue for the other. I also used the same colors to mark the jig and placed the marks on the outer edge of the waste so that I visually could see not only which line to cut but also which side of the kerf to align the mark. Again it took time to mark all the pin boards and to use the colors but it saved time by not ruining my project with a bad cut. Although my resulting dovetail joints were amateurish, I’m getting much closer to figuring out a good method. With just a bit more experimentation I think I can figure it out. Next time I’ll cut my pin board first and will experiment on how much meat to leave on the tail so that it is tight without time-consuming whittling to get it to fit.

Drawer cases completed.

Drawer cases completed.

Lessons Learned

The one thing I have been better at is that I have been taking time to address nagging problems rather than muddle through and press on. Sure I’d like to “get step X completed” but I’d also like to go ahead and fix or tweak things that I have been neglecting. For example, my bench top bench has found a recent home on top of my B&D Workmate and the way I had it secured part of the stand blocked longer boards as I clamping them in the moxon. So for shorter boards, not a problem but for my drawer sides it was in the way. Now this wasn’t a quick nor a simple fix although it seems that it should be. Never-the-less I finally came up with a serviceable fix and that particular problem has gone away. Yeah!

Another example, I finally took the time to mill up some wooden cauls for my pipe clamps. They only took about 30 minutes to cut, drill and screw but I had been putting it off because I don’t use the clamps very much. I’m glad I finally took the time, now I will probably use them more.

Yet another example; my Rockler router lift was slipping so the bit was getting pushed down as I lowered the board on to it for a stopped groove. Irritating to say the least. So I stopped, opened the manual (I save PDF versions of manuals for any tool I’ve purchased on Google Drive). Now I know how to adjust the tension and won’t hesitate to do it in the future as needed.

I also got tired of the lead snapping off on my 0.5mm pencils so while I was at Office Depot the other day I purchased the hardest lead they had, 2H (4H is the hardest). During my build I stopped and swapped out all the lead in my 0.5mm pencils so I wouldn’t be frustrated with every mark. Now my lead is reasonably solid and I can mark with confidence, and it’s one less frustration.

There are still plenty of other nuisances that I ran across this weekend and I’ll be working on solutions to those as well. Right up there at the top is a safe, easy method for cutting down sheet goods.

So what’s my point? I’m trying to take back control of my shop and taking time out to sharpen a chisel or plane blade, adjust a piece of power equipment or manufacture a jig are just part of the build process. In 2016 I’m embracing that fact!

Hoping to make my shop a better place to play!

  1. January 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I think it turned out great! I’ve never used or even seen a table saw dovetailing jig, thought I have heard that they exist…somewhere. What are your thoughts? I don’t use jigs very often so I always like to hear how they work in the real world.

  2. January 13, 2016 at 8:10 am

    This particular jig does have some limitations the primary one being the inability to adjust the dovetail angle. Basically the jig is a sawing guide increasing your chances of cutting consistent angles to a pre-set depth. To that end it works quite well. When making the jig it is important that the ramps used for cutting the tails be the same angle as the fence deflection for the pin side of the jig. For me tails were visual and intuitive but the first several uses I botched at least one cut on the pins. I now mark the pin cut lines with two different colors and also mark the same color on the jig to keep me focused. That and marking the waste area allowed me to successfully cut 6 sets without messing that part up (a record). You still have to find a way to remove the waste. For tails I used my new fret saw and for pins I could make multiple waste area cuts using the jig leaving only a tiny sliver which chiseled out cleanly.

    So far I’ve always cut tails first but I’m thinking cutting the pins first with this jig makes sense because fitting tails to the sockets seemed to be very straightforward but guessing how close to cut on the pin cut line for a snug fit on pre-cut tails was a crap-shoot. Trimming slightly plump tails to fit seemed more flexible and straight forward.

    Finally, I’m considering building a band saw version using wedges because raising that table saw blade so high and blinding pushing the jig into it dozens of times scares the poo-poo out of me even though it is (in theory) relatively safe with fingers way up on the jig. I did find myself stopping in between boards so as not to loose concentration.

  3. January 13, 2016 at 8:11 am
  4. January 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    One other thought – Instead of using both sides of the jig for cutting tails, I’ve been flipping the board and using the same side. This a) keeps me from having to adjust the blade height as they are unfortunately not the same on both sides and b) guarantees the tail is symmetrical. The downside is you need to mark both sides of the board.

    Although I didn’t do this with the pins it occurs to me know, the same principle would apply regarding consistent angles. AND I could measure the result and tweak the jig as needed to dial in a good fit……

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: