View Full Version : Saga of a Saloon Table

Barrett Faneuf
08-08-2001, 03:06 PM
I've volunteered for the job of constructing the saloon table for Ceol Mor, and I decided to post progresive pictures, a la Ed Harrow.

A little background on materials, the table will have two folding leaves with some special maple veneered to the tops. At my parents' old home in Hampstead, NH, there was a noble old maple tree which shaded the whole house in summer. I don't know how old the tree was, but the house was 250+ years and the maple looked about the same. The old road next to the house was eventually paved, which over the course of many years killed off the tree, which eventually had to be taken down. Well, Ross saved some wood from the tree and that's what is going on this table.

Design for the table is by myself using Pro/Engineer and many rounds of feedback from Ross and Lois. I've put a couple pictures (screenshots) of some early versions of the design. The design is much more sophisticated now, but I don't have good screenshots. table is fairly standard yacht fashion, a center "box" as the spine wit internal storage and structural support. Forward end of table mounts to bulkhead, aft portion stands on a sturdy leg bolted to the cabin sole. Optional pole running from end of table to ceiling to be determined after installation.

All pictures are available in this photopoint album:

Shown are Day 1 and Day 2 of actual construction. Design time including revisions was about 12 hours prior to buying any wood. All "Days" of work not to be considered sequential - think evenings and weekends!

Day 1: Resaw maple pieces into bookmatched veneers. Ripped wavy original boards down to 6.125" (the most my bandsaw can handle) and resawed using a curved fence mounted to bandsaw table. Curved fence allows adjustments for bandsaw tendency to pull to one side or another. A nice sharp 3/8 blade (biggest I could find) made fairly short work of the job. Sanded resultant bookmatched leaves down to just shy of 1/4" thick. Delighted to discover tiger and flame figuring in addition to the spalting we already knew about. Now have 2 sets bookmatched veneers, one for each leaf.

Day 2: Finish sanding maple. Lots and lots of passes through Performax sander. Pass all boards through on each thickness setting to ensure uniformity. Lay out plywood bits and cut. Using a solid modeling program makes all of the measurements so easy, I feel like I'm cheating. That 12 hours design time is saving me scads of screwing-up-that-clearance time in the shop. Cut cutouts and angled bits on box sides. Using a tracing router and straightedges makes this far too easy, as well.

Next time: Gluing up the veneer tops and working with the solid wood bits (legs, joinery).

08-08-2001, 07:09 PM
Interesting Barret . I can relate to your pleasure in useing wood from the home place . I've got some clear White Oak in the basement from the place I grew up .

I assume you didn't bother to draw in the fiddles in your early drawings ? My sister and brother in law chartered a great old boat out of Belfast Maine a couple of years ago . I was on board for a couple of days .Along with other good stuff she had a classic table of this type . There were low perimeter fiddles ( fixed ) but also taller removeable fiddles that dowelled into either side and the ends of the narrow fixed center plank .

The table served as chart table and during the day that center tray held plotting tools ,pencils ,ect . Between dinner and breakfast it held table condiments , a flashlight and such .Everything didn't have to be put away every time the table was lowered . For big chartwork and formal table setting the center fiddles just pulled off . It all worked perfectly after about 60 years in service.

Barrett Faneuf
08-09-2001, 10:56 AM
Okay, here we are with some more pictures!
The album listed above has been updated and expanded. New pictures begin at #17. For those too lazy to scroll up, here is the link again.

Day 3: Laminate maple veneers to plywood backs. Used tablesaw as clamping surface. Laid out veneers in desired configuration face down on table, slathered with thickened epoxy using fine notched spreader, added plywood leaves and clamped with cauls. In order to remove slight plank gap, scrap bits of maple were used as sacrificail clamping blocks. Clamped sideways with pipe clamp and let blocks glue themselves to workpiece. I simply trimmed em off later. Much easier than fiddling with plastic over-and-under the blocks to "save" them. They were scrap anyway.

Day 4 (last night):
Rescue tablesaw from under clamping mess. Trimmed laminated leaves to width. Slight misalignment of leaves to veneers handled with a shim and a moving straightedge (see picture 21).
Cleaned up mahogany for legs and various support bits using Performax sander (not pictured - it's boring, anyway). Cut angled blocks intended for table box extension on aft end of table. Laid out and routed cutouts in foreward table leg.

In answer to your fiddle question, you are entirely correct. I didn't bother with drawing in the fiddles on those early drawings. The table will, in fact, have removable fiddles (more properly "sea rails" as they are removable and thus only used "at sea") right arournd the edges of the leaves and permanent fiddles on the box itself. Ceol Mor has her own chart table, so this table will likely be used for eating, playing cribbage, reading, etc. and the central box is likely to contain silverware, salt and peppar, napkins, cards, keys, and whatnot. It also will have stowage for two wine bottles.

Until next time,

Barrett Faneuf
08-11-2001, 01:29 PM
Time for Update 3.

New pictures are at the same album,
New pics begin at #27

Day 5: Finish off legs. This involved chopping out ends of routered rabbets, Creating closed-end dadoes (or would they be very short blind mortises?) to accept various bottom box pieces. This was done with forstner bit on drill press and hand-held chisel. Fitted box sides to legs. Very pleased with overall fit.

Day 6: Create foot for aft table leg. Leg is tenoned into mortise in a very beefy bit of mahogany I found for the foot ($1 guitar industry cutoffs are wonderful). My first mortise is cut with a forstner bit and cleaned up with a chisel. Tenon on leg cut on tablesaw, rounded ends eyeballed and freehanded with a chisel. Fit is nigh perfect. Needs a rubber mallet to assemble and disassemble. Foot was then chamfered on the ends and corners rounded with 3/8 router. Also pictures of a trial assembly of the big parts. I was unable to resist.

Until next time!

08-11-2001, 09:44 PM
See, the problem with this, as with the New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abrams,is that it may give the impression that woodworking is all whiz-bang done before you know it. Now this might give family members the thought that it would be just a few minutes of your time to make a new entertainment center or a four poster bed, when what you really want to be doing is your boat stuff!Take each picture and multiply by three hours, maybe four. Nice work and beautiful wood, I'd like to see it through to the end....carry on!

Barrett Faneuf
08-12-2001, 12:13 AM
You're so right. That thing is, this is really taking a long time - each picture is quite a bit of work. In fact, I only took 3 pictures today, and worked on the thing about 8 hours. And it doesn't look all that different now - lots and lots of measuring and drilling and c'sinking and c'boring and measuring and cutting and fitting all the danged innards and drilling.... It really isn't too Norm Abrams (he has 20!?!? routers) - I haven't got a plunge router, planer, biscuit cutter (I'm a drill and dowel kinda gal), mortise cutter (I turned his show off for good when I saw that little toy), or shaper. Those take ALL the fun out of it. And I really can't afford them. Nor do I particularly want them. Ok, maybe a plunge router would be useful for mortises.

08-12-2001, 10:09 AM
Barrett, I don't know how hard you had to whack it w/ that mallet, but if it's too tight you could risk splitting the mortised part http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/frown.gif

08-12-2001, 07:43 PM
I was told by an expert furniture maker out of RISD that the unglued mortise should resist the withdrawal of the tenon " like a weak magnet " .

08-13-2001, 07:57 AM
Or a piston in a cylinder.

08-13-2001, 11:46 AM
Mallot means it's too tight, might split when the bits swell with humidity changes. You should be able to -- quoting my grandfather W -- "drive it shut with your hat."

Barrett Faneuf
08-13-2001, 12:57 PM
I didn't have to drive very hard with the mallet, but I'll take your advice. A few passes with sandpaper should get it right where you recommend. Whe whole thing's getting epoxied, so moisture won't be a huge deal, but I definitely don't want to split the foot!

Thanks -

Barrett Faneuf
08-15-2001, 12:56 AM
Finally another update. Been slacking, I guess.

New photos begin at #35. Most have explanatory captions.

Ciao for now -

Barrett Faneuf
08-16-2001, 12:51 AM
Boy, this thread looks really self-absorbed based on how many times I've replied to myself.

Either that or I need psychological help. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Okay. Just one picture today - I got the table taken back apart, bits got sanded a bit - they were already really good straight off the sheet - and coat-out commenced. This pic shows every piece of the table (so far)laid out or leaning against the tablesaw. With fresh epoxy applied. Yes, it's NOT CPES. I wouldn't mind doing CPES, but I wasn't willing to pay that much and wait for it to arrive via UPS.


There is an additional miracle witnessed in this photo: I had t clean off my ENTIRE workbench!! And Tablesaw! Simultaneously.I couldn't even cheat with my handy-dandy-add-on tabletop that I drop on top of the upside-down sander. This is truly a rare sight. The floor looks like a boatbuilder's though - wood shavings ankle deep. I'm geting in trouble about it. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

Also drilled mounting holes in the foreward leg for mounting through the bulkhead and into the compression post via hunky SS lag bolts.

Parts still to go: gotta make all them rails and fiddles and center box top parts. Oboy.


Barrett Faneuf
08-21-2001, 03:02 PM
Finally, another update!

I've been working on this table every day, I just haven't been taking as many pictures.

Okay, here's what changed.
sanded coated-out interior sides of box parts. Flipped and coated out other side of completely internal parts. Sanded them, too. Glued up half of box - all internal parts and legs glued to one box side, other box side screwed on for reference but not glued. I need to be able to get them back apart so I can varnish the inside without a major pain in my ... arm. I don't have the varnish yet - it's arriving mail-order. That's the main limiter on getting this box fully and permanently assembled.

Here's the album link:
New pics begin at #47.

Day 10:
Trimmed and drilled the chamfered corners of the table leaves. Glued edge pieces on. Designed and sawed the rails to be mounted on hte box top. These rails serve as edges for the box lids, and screw lands for the hinges for the table leaves. They had to protrude into the box lightly to provide enough meat for the screws to grab onto. Drilled all peg holes for rails.

Day 11:
Glue up Rails. There are 11 pegs per rail - excessive? Perhaps, but that sucker ain't goin' nowhere! I also wanted pegs rather than screws so I didn't have to worry where the screws might interfere with the hinge screws.

When epoxy is set, pull box sides back apart. I had packing tape over the areas where the free side might want to glue itself into place prematurely. Make the cleats for box lids and potential silverware trays. Glue and clamp in place. Discover that bar clamps can't fit easily into interior spaces. Clamp by springing some epoxy stirrers in there. Seems to work OK.

Trim edges, chamfer corners, sand and coat out table leaves. Even prettier than I imagined. That is some WILD maple!

Until next time -

Alan D. Hyde
08-21-2001, 03:12 PM

Looks great, but consider rounding those corners quite a bit more.

Sooner or later someone will lurch into them, and the more rounded, the less injury.


Ross Faneuf
08-21-2001, 09:37 PM
Actually, I'm plenty happy with the corners at a good 45, the way it is already.

Alan D. Hyde
08-22-2001, 10:16 AM
You're right, of course, Ross. The 45's are obvious in picture #51, and are very well done, too.

I don't know why I thought there were 90 degree corners.

A beautiful job, Barrett!


Barrett Faneuf
08-22-2001, 11:58 AM
Thanks, Daddy!

In your own defense, Alan, there ARE 90-degree corners on the table - the corners closest to the hinge. They're also the most visible up to that point due to the fact that there was always some clamping operation or other obscuring the chamfered corners.

PITA, those chamfered corners...

Barrett Faneuf
09-02-2001, 08:29 PM
The Penultimate Update!

Sorry about the log pause. I've been working hard enough that posting more regularly was too much trouble. But no-one here would know ANYTHING about working into the middle of the night during the home stretch of a project, would we? HMMMM?

Okay. New pictures are in the same album,


New pics begin at #52.

Some days I didn't take pictures. Who wants endless pictures of pieces of wood in various stages of sanding, anyway?

Day 12:
Re-temporarily-assemble the box. Temporarily because I still don't have the polyurethane yet. Fit the box top parts. Cut them all out of one piece of maple such that, when assembled, it's clear that they all came from one picee of wood. Glue in the pieces covering the slider structures. Gloat about how good it looks. Drill finger holes with forstner bit. Round edges of hole with router, chamfer edges of rest.

Day 13-14:
Fume because the poly still hasn't arrived. Pester UPS. Do every nagging little job I can think of without the box being assembled. Glue scrap veneers to plywood and cut to shape for footrest locker lid. Make oak table leaf support sliders. Sand insides of box. Sand coated-out leaves. Receive stainelss continuous hinges (aka piano hinges) and cut to size. Having a machine shop at work was useful in this regard. A healthy dose of flattery and a smidge of grovelling got the guys there to cut and grind the ends for me right quick. They don't let mere engineers run the machines. Gotta be certified and all that.

Day 15:
The polyurethane arrives! Oh happy day! Jump up and down and clap our hands with glee! Break in HVLP sprayer with coating out insides. Learn that it's hard to judge how much one is applying when the paint is clear. Oh, that looks so much better than sanded-crappy-looking.

Day 16:
Another coat of poly on the insides. Epoxy coat out the lid pieces and sliders. Glue side rails on the locker lid.

Day 17:
Glue box together, bung, and glue on edging to hide all the plywood edges. The edging isn't structural, so it's "merely" epoxied in place. Heh. Glue ends on locker lid.

Day 18:
Commence Sanding Hell. Trim, sand, and coat out locker lid. Make, sand, and coat out sea rails from oak. Realize that table leaves need another coat of epoxy and coat out.

Day 19:
Sanding and coating out of all loose bits. Drill all holes for sea rail pins. Pins insert into tubes in table. Make tubes from brass tubing while sitting in front of TV (I'm no martyr). Flare one end of tubing with nail set. Drive tubing into holes. On leaves, flip over and flare other end to lock in place. Sand flush.

Day 20:
Sanding Hell in full force. Sand everything in sight. Get another coat of epoxy on sliders, rails, locker lid. Plane box edging flush and sand. Sand box bungs. Sand, sand, sand. This week my favorite words are "Porter Cable".

Day 21:
Finish sanding box. In the process of wrestling it around (it's an awkward 35-40 lbs), drop it on something. Caused a nasty ding. I decided to try a trick I heard of: Steam it with an iron. It worked really well! All that was left of a nasty ding was a light line where the wood fibers had broken, I was able to sand it almost out without endangering the veneer. Cool.

Coat out box.

Day 22 (yesterday):
Fit hinges to leaves.

Sand for 10 hours straight (it was Saturday) to get ALL parts sanded and ready for polyurethane. Wait for dust to settle, spread 'em out, and give their first coat. Wait 1/2 hour for recoat time - all it takes! - and coat again.

Day 23 (today)
All parts looking really good. Lots of coating and wet sanding and re-coating. The pictures of the table leaves are really nice.

The observant will note that I'm not using gloss poly. Partly because I like the semi-gloss so much, and partly because the gloss is SO unforgiving. I've got a less-than-perfect coating environment, and my surfaces aren't smooth as glass. So I like the sin-hiding properties of the semi-gloss, as well as its basic looks.

Ok, back to it!
More really soon, seeing as it's getting packed up tomorrow night!


Scott Rosen
09-03-2001, 08:28 AM
Very, very nice. Thank you for taking such care in documenting your progress. I think it's one of the most helpful things I've seen on the Forum. Two questions: On day 19, what were you watching on tv? In one of the photos, I think it was around number 70, what kind of cereal was in the box on the shelf? Inquiring minds want to know.

09-03-2001, 10:53 AM
Excellent work,and documentation.
This should be a wooden boat article.

Barrett Faneuf
09-04-2001, 11:09 AM
The Last Update!

Thanks to everybody for your kind feedback and patience during his project.

Scott, that would be Discovery Channel or TLC, whatever's on, or the History Channel, "The fate of Hitler's surface fleet". Kellogg's Smart Start. :P

As usual, new pics are at the same album,


New pics start at #75

Day the Last:
Do all those little "when it's done" jobs. Cut 32 1" brass rods - yes, watching TV, Scott - History Channel "Empires of industry: America's Beer Barons". Grind ends fair and chamfered on belt sander.

Fit rails to holes. Heart in throat, wondering if this will really work- YES! Didn't meet my ultimate goal of being able to put the rails in any way around and in any spot available for that size rail. *Sigh* All rails fitted to specific spots and labeled as such. Just can't get that machine-shop level of precision with hand tools, hand measuring, hand-held drill, and wood. But hey, they work! Declare victory and move on. The longest rails have a bit of a bow to them. Don't have time to steam it out and refinish. Pass. Move on.

Put self-sticking felt anywhere chafin likely - particularly inside slider rail pockets. Needed chopsticks for that little job.

Assemble Locker lid to locker w/ piano hinge and #6 screws both sides - not as much risk of tearout down here.

Assemble leaves to table. Big paranoia here - I'm shipping UPS and the maximum size package they'll accept is 130", That's Length + Girth, or L+2W+2H. Gah. Really glad I researched that BEFORE installing foot, because that puts me over on the table itself, nevermind protective packaging.

Take pictures.

Slaughter about 12 cardboard boxes (front-line recycling) and thrash out a custom--fit package for the table. Conscript Paul for paper wrapping of all loose parts, duct tape wrangling. Wrap table in mini bubble wrap and 2-3 layers of duct-taped cardboard. Wrap over all with packin tape. Final dimensions: L=47", Girth = 80". Total: 127". *Whew*!

Some Silly final statistics:

Sheets of Plywood: 1
1"x10"x11' Honduras Mahogany + a couple rail pieces
1"x8"x9' Quartersawn White Oak
0.25"x3"x7" Lignum Vitae
Number of pieces those 4 got cut into: 101
Quarts of epoxy: 1.5-ish
#6 x 1" Bronze wood screws: 123
Dowels: 86
Hinges: 3
#10 x 3/4 SS screws: 42 (cool!)
#6 x 1.25 SS Screws: 60
#6 x 3/4 SS Screws: 18
#6 x 1" SS Pan head screws: 8
Brass Latches: 2
..and a partridge in a pear tree...

That's it! It goes out UPS 3-day select today! Thanks for watching...

Ed Harrow
09-04-2001, 12:05 PM
And, just like that, Barrett's done! Now that you have some time on your hands, how about you stop by for an extended visit... LOL.

Scott Rosen
09-04-2001, 12:42 PM

I don't think your father had a chance to tell you about his change of shipping address. It goes like this:

Ceol Mor
c/o Scott Rosen
s/v Patience
Westbrook, CT

You can send it postage due. I won't mind.

09-04-2001, 01:06 PM
Well done.
Now about that article.
Das http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Alan D. Hyde
09-04-2001, 01:26 PM
Dear Barrett-------

You've got 9/10 of the article done, right here in this thread.

Now, do the WoodenBoat readership a favor, and make an article of it.

Just think, boatbuilder AND published author...


Barrett Faneuf
09-04-2001, 06:45 PM
Scott -
You're too late! Already sent to Maine. I hope that's okay; they've got a forwarding address.. funny... doesn't say "Scott Rosen". Besides, only family gets free materials and labor. OOoo! That could sting! For once the shipping charges ($140 US for 87 pounds - yeek!) weren't more than the materials...

das and Alan - Really? An article? ME!? How do I do it? Where do I start? AAAAaaaa! Besides, there aren't any "action" shots of the construction since I took all the pictures... I thought about how funny it would look to do a time-lapse video. But, sadly, I didn't have the equipment. Should I really? I'm not really experienced at writing.... eeep!

Alan D. Hyde
09-05-2001, 10:32 AM
Perhaps Matt or other magazine people are lurking here, and can tell you what you will need to do.

This thread puts you well on the way already.

How about it, WB people, can you contact Barrett and counsel her wisely in the ways of WB?


09-05-2001, 11:23 AM
Barrett,As Alan has said,it is already written.

Your sense of narrative as you built the table is excellent.Just connect the dots by telling the story as if we were all sitting around a pot bellied stove in the off season.
Someone on this forum said they were in the publishing business(I think)and may be able to tell you imp.tips.
Think of the reader as someone who really wants to know how to do what you did,and at the same time loves wood stuff.

Scott Rosen
09-05-2001, 12:03 PM

Before you let these clowns push your fantasy life too far ahead of reality, let me offer some suggestions. I was once an editor of a banking and finance publication, so I have a little experience turning someone's work and ideas into a piece fit for publication.

1. There are others on the Forum who can do the work you did and to the same high quality. (I'm not sure I would include myself, however.) Where you have excelled is in the efficiency of your work and your ability to document and communicate the process, from design to completion. And your personality, as it comes across in writing, is engaging to the reader. There is also the novelty (at least to some of us) that you are a girl. That makes you special in the world of wooden boats and would give your article additional appeal. Editors and publishers like that sort of thing. Okay, there, I said it. We were all thinking it, but I had the guts to say it.

2. No need to worry about the technical aspects of the writing or the organization of the material. That's what editors are paid to do. And WoodenBoat has some damn good editors. You don't really think that all of the contributors to WoodenBoat can write at such a literary level, in the E.B White style, do you? Geez, some of them probably can't write their way out of a paper bag. But it's their boat knowledge that counts. Next time you read WB, try to pay attention to the "voice" in each article. You will see that many of the articles speak with the same voice, even though the authors are different. That's the voice of the editorial staff, not necessarily the writers.

3. As for this saloon table, when you posted the pictures and your description of the work on the web, you probably blew any chance of having it published in the magazine. Publishers like to OWN the rights to the contents of their magazine. By posting your stuff on the Forum, you've put it in the public domain. It can no longer be "owned" by anyone. That makes it very hard for the magazine to get copyright protection for it. It is, after all, a business. Legal mumbo-jumbo and stuff like that.

4. Don't give up hope. All you need to do is start another project and document it in a similar fashion, but don't post it on the web. I can help. I have the perfect project: Patience needs to have her galley reconfigured. I'd like to make room for a cabin heater and find a way to insulate the ice box better. You do the work. I'll take the pictures. I'll even pay the postage to send the pictures and the transcipt of your article to Brooklyn, Maine. I'll give you a 10% discount on the legal work.


Ross Faneuf
09-05-2001, 12:52 PM

Need I say I'm bursting with gratitude and pride?

09-05-2001, 01:33 PM
She (! the things you don't notice about people! [blushes]) may have given up -some- rights with the public forum postings here, but that hardly puts anything into the public domain. WB might be content with "first printed publication and subsequent reprint, including non-exclusive electronic reproduction" rights.

There's no mention of copyright in either the FAQ or the extended FAQ.

Not a lawyer, not even interested in playing one on TV.

Barrett Faneuf
09-05-2001, 02:08 PM
Gack -

I haven't been contacted, but I'll write a note to WB, asking if there's any interest and possibility in such a thing. I haven't really got the time to do much more work than I've already done.

Glad you like it, Daddy. Just wait 'til you try to wrestle it into CM. We'll have to take pictures of some boom sling block and tackle arrangement, and then just hoik it doen there by hand. I nominate Paul for the heavy lifting, as he's not here to defend himself http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif.

If you want a galley rebuilt, you'd better be willing to get said galley to the builder. I live in Lakewood, WA. Near Tacoma. I think that's a mite far from CT. Heehee. Not that it isn't tempting, but I think Paul would throw a fit over me working on someone's boat who isn't family before I make one of my own. But forst I have to clean up the wreckage I created in the wake of the table project. Who, me? sawdust all over the house? Drill in the dining room? Frozen dinners as I sand to all hours? ME?? You must be mistaken.


09-05-2001, 05:16 PM
AW yer a gurl!
Barrett you have just endeared yourself to Nancy(SWMBO).She is this very moment looking at me and going nananananana.
Excellent work.
Wonder why nancy is poking fun at me....By the way Barrett,that is a "cat who ate the canary"grin on your face.