RED OAK SIDEBOARD
Attention to grain orientation makes this a beauty.
SHOP OWNER: John Pappas
LOCATION: Denver, CO
I built this sideboard for a friend with whom I worked for many years. We worked together to develop the overall design, and then I refined it and added a few minor enhancements. Oak was used to fit in with her other dining room furniture. Her husband, a contractor, delivered a pile of red oak and said something about picking up the sideboard in a few days. He sure has a good sense of humor.... about six months later the sideboard was completed. I spent a lot of time sorting through that pile of oak carefully selecting pieces for the various components. My goal was to use straight-grained pieces for legs, rails, and stiles, and to use pieces with pronounced grain to accent the panels. Having some extra wood on hand helped to achieve that goal.
My shop is a small basement workshop, roughly 300 square feet of space. I would describe it as mostly a hand tools shop. My hand tools include a modest, but adequate, collection of handsaws, planes, chisels, and marking tools. Three of my planes are Krenov style planes that I made many years ago. Power tools include a contractors saw, a router table, drill press, drills, saber saw, sanders (rarely used), a couple of extra routers, and a grinder.
In building this sideboard I incorporated a couple helpful methods of measuring and layout that made things easier and accurate. First, I made use of several story sticks for laying out the proportions and joinery. I also used the triangle marking system, commonly used in Europe, for marking all components. Both methods are very effective in eliminating many common mistakes. To that end, I had no cutting or assembly mishaps.
All edge jointing for the panels, the top, and the lower shelf were completed using a fore plane or a jointer plane. For the shorter pieces I also employed a shooting board. For the longer pieces I used a simple fence that I clamped to the plane to help keep it square to the edge.
The mortises were chopped with a mortising chisel; the tenons were made using the table saw with either a tenon jig or dado blades. The dovetails were hand cut using a small antique Disston backsaw before I chiseled out the waste. Surfaces were hand planed and/or scraped, with sandpaper used sparingly.
The finish was applied by brush; drawers and other interior surfaces were finished with shellac, the exterior with poly. I did not rub down the finish, however I did knock down dust nibs after the final coat of poly by going over it with the backside of a piece of sandpaper. I have no doubt that it will be well cared for in its new home.
. . . John Pappas