Builders Challenge: Part III

Working with dowels was yet another new skill for me to attempt. I’m still somewhat challenged when it comes to drilling straight, so I knew there was NO WAY I was going to attempt to drill dowel holes freehand, especially 1/2″ in size. I did some research online and saw a few dowel jigs that people made and decided to try it.

Using an ancient drill press didn’t make it easy and my hole was slightly off center, but straight up and down. I wasn’t going to try and wrestle the clamps and drill press again and decided I would try to compensate later. I used a 2×2 cutoff since I would be drilling the holes in the 2×2 legs. I then glued that to a piece of thin mdf board.

I was pretty excited after using my jig on the table legs! I then moved on to the lap joints of the table top frame.

The first hole I drilled ended up with a chunk of wood chipping out on the bottom. Luckily Tim showed up after that and suggested putting an old 2×4 underneath to drill into which solved the problem. I was able to glue the chipped piece back into place.

The next step was to dry/test fit the legs and hold my breath with the hope that, between the dowel holes in the legs and the ones in the table top, the alignment wouldn’t be too far off. Thank goodness that although only one was really amazing, none of the rest were off enough to draw attention.

I stained the legs and then glued the dowels into the base. WOOOOOT!! This was a pretty exciting moment for me. Okay, really, the whole thing was filled with exciting moments, but I did hold my breath a TON.

Next step is to cut off the extra dowel. I purchased a flush trim saw for another new skill attempt. I watched a few youtube videos and saw someone use a plastic card to protect the surface and thought that was a good idea, especially for a first timer. I put my AAA card to good use.

Again, holding my breath, I went for it. I was thrilled that I managed to saw off 8 dowels without gouging the table top! The only problem I discovered with this method, however, is that it leaves a good bit to sand. It took me forever to sand the rest of the dowels down and I did end up leaving some light sand marks on the top. Maybe no one would notice, but I saw it. Fargo wasn’t super impressed with the amount of sanding I was doing.

I might have been a little teary when I rubbed on some Weatherwash Clear Maintenance Oil and saw how beautiful the cedar and the dowels came out.

I’ll leave it here for now. I may be able to wrap it up in one more post, but I’m not making any promises.

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