Prep Table

I mentioned in my previous post that we moved to Bloomington. Well, our house has a massive kitchen and a two car garage.  Unfortunately, the kitchen doesn’t have so much prep space for cooking, and the garage has tons of space for projects, so I decided to make a counter for the kitchen. There’s a really nice and helpful lumber yard in town, so I went down and selected some nice pieces: a couple of 8-foot 4×4 cedar posts, some 8-foot 1×4 pine (the lighter stuff that goes around the edges), and two 2×4 birch plywood boards. Here is the final product, in place in our kitchen:

This took me longer than I thought it would, about 5 days total.

I did the majority of it with a single saw, a double-edged Japanese saw I got at Hardwick’s in Seattle, which is possibly the best hardware store I have ever been to. I also used a drill, and a chisel to make the recessed mortises for the lower shelf’s support.

Here is how I did it. First, I marked out the cuts I needed to make on the top of the cedar posts.

Then I cut those out first, using a piece of the pine 1×4 to check to make sure it was flush and square. This was the first of two cuts needed for the top of the posts.

The table’s support is centered around the top of the posts, which use a double support system: first, they are supported by the pine 1×4 holding it all in, but they are also supported by the birch tabletop, which keeps it square. For that to work, I needed to cut the opposite corner out of the top of the posts, but this time only going down 1 inch, not 4. Here’s what the tops looked like, fully cut and ready.

Ok, so that’s the posts half done. After this, I cut out the recessed mortises for the pine bottom support to sit in. This was simply a matter of drawing out the correct depth and width and chiseling it out. I put all the posts together to make sure the mortise was in exactly the same place on each of them — it would be messy if when I stood them up one was even a few milimeters higher than the corresponding mortise on the other side.

That’s the tricky bit done. Now all that’s left is the pine side supports and the table tops. Easy peasy. Sorta.

So, there were two ways I could have done this part. Cut the pine normally, at a 90 degree angle and have them just meet at a T on the corners (the easy way) or cut it at a 45 degree angle and made it meet perfectly at the corners (the hard way). Aesthetically, the hard way is nicer. Practically, it is a pain in the ass. I chose the hard way.

To cut the pine, I used a mitre box, which is basically just a jig that lets you cut within a groove set at a certain angle. In the case of the box I got (at Kleindorfer’s here in Bloomington – not as good as Hardwick’s but pretty awesome) it had two angles: 90 and 45.

Once those were all set, the only piece left was cutting a corner square out of the top tabletop and the bottom. That was quick.

With all the pieces done, it’s time to set it up! At this point I moved to the basement from the garage, as the garage’s floor is uneven and I didn’t want to lock it in place, only to find that when I brought it into the kitchen it was wobbly.

Here’s how it looks assembled, but unfinished:

I used some scrap wood from the pine and a jigsaw to attach a dowel to the long side of the table, to hold dish towels. I also attached a small garbage bin to one side, so we can just toss garbage as we’re chopping instead of stopping and going over to the garbage can.

The whole thing gets varnished with three coats, sanded, and voila! Finished.

The linchpin of support.

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~ by Josh on June 6, 2010.

7 Responses to “Prep Table”

  1. What a great idea. Beautiful job. You are a man of many talents.
    Good luck to both of you

  2. beautiful; how did you know all the details of the detailed work, let alone how to do it all?

    • This sounds kind of pretentious/douchy, but I literally just layed in bed at night for a week and thought about how best to fit it together. I couldn’t sleep well, and we needed a prep table… just sort of came together in my head.

  3. Nice table!!! I’m very impressed. I love the Japanese saw — so much more control when you pull than when you push a saw through wood. Also sharp as a razor. You really picked this up fast dude.

  4. Beautifully done.

  5. OOps Just left the comment on the other blog piece! kisses…jeri

  6. You are one industrious vato! Well done

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