I met an old friend on the street the other day, a friend I hadn’t seen for a year or so.  He walked up to me, smiled broadly and said, “Good Lord, I was sure you had died.  You haven’t posted anything since February!”…  What an “eye opener!”

Truth be told, the past few months have been full of travel, visits from family and, honestly, I just haven’t had anything to say that I thought was worth saying.  That’s not to say that there hasn’t been anything going on in the workshop.  Although I have to admit that my level of productivity has been seriously diminished. But, maybe now is a good time to “get back in the game.”

Lester (my partner in the crime of woodworking) and I have managed to finish a couple of projects during this “black-out period.”   We completed a small tavern table (based on one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) that Les had started a number of years ago.  While dry fit, it served to provide a small amount of temporary storage for a number of years.    He opted for a oval top made from a single piece of curly maple that he’s had in storage since the last Dempsey fight.  He decided that heavy distressing was just the ticket.  So, Les, our friend Scott Midegeley and I attacked the thing with lanyards full of keys, sticks, rods, stones.  It was scorched earth!

After the beating, the top was dyed with amber water based dye, then glazed with “black oil”, a combination of asphaltum, turpentine and BLO.  The top was then finished with several coats of Waterlox.  The cherry base was stained, coated with Waterlox then painted with a satin black alkyd enamel.  Then the paint was “wet wiped” to create a heavily distressed look in the areas that would have been subjected to the most wear.  Imagine the Founding Fathers sitting around one of these little beauties, drinking warm ale and trying to determine the best way to run a Republic.

The turned legs were terminated with simple Spanish feet of the “fluted” variety.  Ends of the “ogeed” aprons were finished up with a decorative cockbead.

I became so enthused that I ran right home and started my own Tavern Table.  There are a few differences, but the design is essentially the same.  The carriage is of walnut, the top is elliptical, the finish is the same with less distressing and I opted for a little longer, more feminine Spanish Feet (probably a subliminal influence of having just watched a Penelope Cruz movie).  The aprons are relieved to create a lighter look and the top has a simple torus edge and I nixed the cockbead (for no good reason other than the fact that I wanted to get the thing finished).

Here’s a look at the table through part of the construction process:

And, if you don’t believe in the possibility of resurrection, just stand near the parking lot gate at “quitting time.”    “Gramps”




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7 Comments on “Resurrection”

  1. Great to hear from you again Dennis!! You and Les are awesome woodworkers! I love the tavern table.
    Take care.

  2. Carl Kuhnle Says:

    Good to see you back, I always enjoy your posts. I would drive by your place when I was in the area, but the shop was not open lately. See you at the next breakfast.

  3. Matt McGrane Says:

    Glad you’ve been in the shop. And thanks for writing – I always learn something from your posts.

  4. Jack Plane Says:

    Well done you two! That’s time well spent with a couple of fine looking tables to show for it.

    I am frequently accused of being dead. I enjoy being ‘dead’ as, like you, it allows me uninterrupted time to get on with stuff.

  5. Hi, I’m curious to whether or not you still value the patternmaker’s vise as part of your workflow? Or do you use the gun stock vise more?

    Thanks for the blog! Look forward to your thoughts.

    Jonathan Wright

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      My latest bench is equipped with a 1906 Yost Patternmakers vise. It is an incredible work holding machine. I use the Emmerts and the Yost daily. The gun stock vise is always mounted on the bench. The top of the gun stock vise is about 42″ from the floor. It’s great for filing and cutting details as well as any shave type work. But, if I could have only one, it would be the Yost. The only downside is its weight. The whole assembly must be close to 100 pounds. It requires a substantial bench.

      • I wholeheartedly agree: I got a patternmaker’s vise a couple months ago, and wow, is it ever wonderful. I removed my quick release, and don’t miss it at all. I’m surprised at what it can handle. But I think it’s real advantage are the dogs. I use them even when edge or face planing, since the faces of the vise support the board from below as the dogs pinch the board to keep it from sliding. Wonderful!

        Thanks for helping me make the plunge.

        Jonathan Wright.

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