Small Table – Old-growth Honduras Mahogany

Small table of Honduras Mahogany salvaged from Belize rivers by Greener Lumber, LLC.

A small table with floating top is one of the few designs I have built several times. The heights vary and some small tweaks in other dimensions to suit material on hand. This particular version was made for a Michigan friend.

Mortises were cut on legs with 3/8-inch spiral uncut router bit and edge guide. Tenons created to fit using dado stack on the table saw before shaping. At this time the ship lap notches were cut for the overlapping stretchers.

The shapes at top of legs was done in several steps. Rough miters (45 degrees) were cut with backsaw, then taken close to layout lines with chisel and final smoothing with sanding block(s). The leg bottoms received a small bevel with block plane. Stretcher curves cut with bandsaw and cleaned up with spokeshaves and sandpaper.

The one-piece top (roughly 14 x 16 inches) was too wide for my jointer, so I used a No. 7 jointer plane to create one side capable of being stable as feed through the drum sander. There was a large missing chunk on one edge. I kept that as part of the table’s character, but did clean up some of the punk material with carving gouges. A Buhl-diamond was carved on the underside with a V-gouge.

After final sanding and easing of edges my usual oil-varnish blend was applied in multiple wipe on, wet sanded and rubbed out coats. Perhaps eight coats total. 

First finish coat going on the underside of top. Note punk area and the Buhl-diamond.

The legs, stretchers and top were packed in a suitcase and taken to Michigan for final assembly and glue-up. Hide glue was used for the mortise and tenons and four screws driven up through the upper stretchers into the top hold things together. 

Working outside of my usual environment muddled my brain and I mixed up the stretchers. I did not catch this major mistake until after the glue had set up. Knocking it apart split one stretcher in half. So before doing a rebuild I had to glue that together. Not a perfect fit, but hopefully, it will hold up for at least one generation.

It was delivered to my friend on the streets of Detroit near the Wayne State University campus. I trust it is enjoying its new home in the big city.


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