Saturday, 12 April 2014

Constructing a dining table with salvaged timber door frames

This project is currently under construction so the process below is still incomplete. I'll update it as the project progresses.
During the renovation of our apartment, we changed all of the internal doors. There were 9 or 10 doors, which amounted to a lot of beautiful hardwood timber which could be reused for something else. As the pieces were quite long, the average door being 2.1m high, I decided to take advantage of this length to construct a new large dining table, approximately 2.9m x 90cm which can accommodate up to 10 people.
As the pieces were already accurately jointed together in a 90 degree angle, I decided to alter the joint only slightly as required in order to lay them flat, lengthways. A few small cuts and a bit of work with the chisel was all that was required.
In order to temporarily hold these pieces together, I used a small bit plywood and nails, all salvaged from the demolition works.
As each door frame is aboue 10cm wide, these will need to be joined together side by side to make a table approximately 90cm wide. Before joining the edges need to be cleaned of all varnish, plaster, cement, paint etc, so that the glue will take a strong hold.

Here is an edge after being cleaned with a bit of sand paper. 
 In order to join the pieces together, I have laid them side by side and put a pencil mark across the edges of both pieces. This indicates where I will drill the hole to insert the timber dowel.
After continuing this line onto the side of the timber with a set square, I am now using a marking gauge to mark the position of the hole. I then follow the same process for the other piece of wood to ensure that the hole will be drilled in the same position. 
I then use a wood drill, 8mm diameter in this case to drill the hole to the half the depth of the timber dowel.
I then insert the timber dowel, in this first instance without glue.
If this the first time you have joined 2 pieces of timber together lengthways, you might want to consider joining only 2 pieces togther first as a trial, to ensure that you are comfortable with the process. Here I have added glue to the dowel holes and along the edge of the timber which will be joined to the other piece of timber. Then I have used 3 clamps to pull these 2 pieces of timber together from the sides, and 4 smaller clamps from above to ensure that the pieces are kept straight and level and don't bow. I would recommend setting up this equipment and doing a trial run before adding glue to the pieces. Like this, if there is a problem with the timber dowels or clamping method, you will have a chance to rectify it before adding glue. It becomes less stressful and a lot less messier.
If you succeeded joining 2 pieces together, go ahead and join the rest together at the same time.  
Here all pieces have been joined together. I will let this sit for a few days to ensure that the glue fully dries.

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