Author: Jeff Branch

How I Made 34 Precision Mortises in White Oak

If you have been a woodworker even for a short period of time, you’ve no doubt come to realize that building furniture has a lot to do with problem solving. I have been in this craft for more than 35 years and I can still make the most boneheaded mistake (as if I were a drop dead beginner). As mistakes happen, problem solving takes place. Solving problems isn’t simply due to mistakes though. For example, achieving a pleasing design or resolving complicated joinery issues require problem solving. Problems can be disappointing or frustrating, but solving them often leads to a big smile. One recent problem involved the numerous slats found in the sides and the back of my side table; specifically how to join the slats to the rest of the table. The only real way for me to do this is with mortise and tenon joinery. But I then had to decide how I would make these joints. The material I’m using is white oak and I have 34 mortises to make. Because the …

Montreat Side Table Part 5

I have been doing a little research. As I finalized the design of the web frame I’ll be using in the Montreat Side Table, I wasn’t sure what to call the joinery. The web frame will support the drawer and provide much needed structure to the table. The joinery connecting the two rails and two stiles will be simple, by way of biscuits. But the joinery which will attach the completed web frame to the table will be unusual. The research happened while working on the SketchUp model; adding the the web frame to table joinery. These joints are formed by creating a rabbet on three sides of the web frame and then making a corresponding dado in the side and back aprons. I wondered how these two joint names came to be. For rabbet, my Google search took me to Wikipedia which said the rabbet name comes from the Old French term “rabbat” meaning recess in a wall. Dado’s origin is less clear. Again from Wikipedia (the source of all good information right?), the …

The Montreat Side Table Begins Taking Shape

Firstly, the wife and I have been travelling. We have fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and were there a couple of weeks ago for a full week (this, I believe is our fifth trip to the area). We accomplished some bucket list things like stay at the Pisgah Inn which is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville, NC. Then we drove southwest from there and covered parts of the parkway which we have never been on. We made it to Richland Balsam Overlook which is the highest point on the parkway (Mount Mitchell is higher, but I guess it is technically not on the parkway). We were close enough to the Great Smoky Mountains that we thought about just driving all the way to the beginning of the parkway, but were running out of time. So that is a bucket list item for me: to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from the beginning up to Asheville. We have gone as far north on the parkway as …