Builders Challenge: Part II

The Season 7 plans were for a cell phone charging table/nightstand. I was very happy when I saw someone asked my question as to whether the charger was necessary and that the answer was no. I don’t see us ever using something like that, and I knew I wanted an entryway table and there is no plug anywhere nearby.

As a bonus, the plans arrived a day early, so I took that first day to inventory my supplies, figure out what wood I wanted to use, and make a quick trip to gather a few items. We’ve had 1×4 cedar boards laying around for a while and I thought this would be a great opportunity to use them. I really only needed the 2x2s, a 1×6, drawer pull and a dowel (first dowel purchase).

The next morning, at 4:30am, I was pouring over the plans, trying to figure out how to put some of me in them, and HERRINGBONE flashed before my eyes. The middle piece of the table top was designated as plywood in the plans and that is where the charger would have gone (underneath), but I was seeing the center section as herringbone.

Lap joints were recommended for the table top frame. I’d never tried lap joints, which can apparently be created via several methods. I watched Lazy Guy DIY’s video to learn more. One option, the best option, is the table saw. I hadn’t yet used the table saw, and frankly, I have an overly healthy fear of it.

So, I tried the hand held router tool, and chiseled out the rest.

Circular saw and chisel.

Neither of which ended with an acceptable result.

Granted, these are two different thicknesses of wood, but oy! It’s a lap joint, but an ugly one.

I posted about my lap joint trials and tribulations on Instagram with The Builders Challenge hashtags and I was amazed that one of the organizers reached out and offered to help. She sent me the link to a video of how she makes lap joints on the table saw. Her way didn’t look as scary because the blade is covered by the wood at all times since you’re only removing half. LOOOOOK!!!!!!! Thank you 3×3 Custom!!!

I didn’t originally realize that the cedar boards had a rough side and a smooth side. After sanding, I loved them both, so beautiful. I decided to make the table top frame with two smooth sides and two rough sides.

Originally, I was going to use pine 1x2s for the herringbone to tie into the rest of the pine I was using. When I did a mock up, it just wasn’t doing it for me.

I loved the cedar, so I cut a few pieces and knew it was right. Again I opted for a combination of smooth side and rough side.

I’ll get back to the dowels later. One thing I learned from doing my second herringbone with the puzzle method was that I like doing it the way I did the first one better. In the future, if possible, I will be doing the herringbone layout and glue up, I will zip off the excess and build the frame around it. Trying to fit teeny tiny pieces into the corners was a lot of sanding and very little fun. And, spoiler for later, this picture shows a dry fit. I took all of those pieces out in order to glue them to a backer board and they did not want to go back together as well the second time.

One other detail I’ll point out here is that I originally intended the lighter side of each long board to line the middle (see lap joint frame picture). In the picture above, you can see a light streak on the left inside of the left board. The light streak on the right board is on the outside and should be on the inside. I was so focused on the next step, the dowels, that I didn’t pay attention when I was laying the frame boards down. I’m sure not many people would notice, and I still love it, but it does bother me a tiny bit. Woodworking is about being present in the moment and paying attention to the details. This is something I need to really work on because my mind is always racing ahead.

That’s probably enough babble for now. I’m thinking there may be a Part IV at this rate. Next up will be dowels and legs and maybe the drawer. Thanks for continuing along with me on this journey!

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