I chose to build mine out of mahogany, so I bought two boards from my usual lumberyard. One was a 5/4 board for the legs, and the other was 4/4, for the aprons and the top. To begin the legs, I cut a section from the 5/4 board about an inch longer than the required length. To get growth rings in the rift-sawn pattern, I took the stock for the legs out of the section of the board near the edges, where the annual growth rings are 45˚ to the face of the board. I then proceed to cut the other components from the 4/4 board, also adding about an inch extra to the required length, and ripping them to rough width.
I then stickered the boards and let them sit all week.
The legs need to be the most accurate part of the project. I also start with them so that I have a little extra energy and patience to ensure that the face is 100% flat and free of any twist, bows, or cups, and that the edge is perfectly square to the face. Only then can I make a mark for the width using a panel gauge and saw it to width.
After I have ripped four legs from the 5/4 stock, I pick out my 4/4 stock and saw out rough length boards for the aprons, drawer front, and rails. I will flatten each board in four steps:
- Lengthwise passes down the center of the board with a jack plane
- Traversing (perpendicular to the grain) to flatten the width
- Diagonal passes with a fore or jointer plane to flatten a larger surface area
- With the grain to smooth out the board, and get rid of any tearout that resulted from planing against the grain
I take a jack plane and take passes down the center of the board on the heart side to get rid of any bow across the surface which typically happens to the heart side of the board. This creates two points of contact for the plane during traversing. Over time, the traversing process will bring the bowed surface down to flat.
|Typically the heart side of the board is bowed|