Custom Furniture & Woodworking Studio

Red Oak Roundtop

Layout and Material Prep

The function of the tools I use and how they work are explained here. Specific tools used are noted in bold.

The first step is to layout all the needed pieces on the lumber. I start by drawing a full scale picture of the arched door and trim top on a sheet of plywood. This gives me references for cutting and facilitates creating cardboard templates.

All of the pieces are first cut to rough dimensions, and then allowed to rest a day. This allows the internal stresses in the wood to relax, and during relaxing there will be minor bowing and/or twisting. The pieces are final dimensioned after resting. If they were cut to final dimension right away, there is a high probability the doors would warp after they were constructed.

The pieces are first cut to length using the chop saw. Next a straight edge is needed. For longer pieces one edge of the board is cut straight using the sliding table saw. The board is pneumatically clamped to the sliding table, and as the table slides past the blade a perfect straight cut results. Shorter pieces are straight edged on the jointer. The boards are then cut to width on the table saw.

The traditional arch top door construction approach is the make the arched rail (horizontal piece) out of 2-3 pieces of solid wood and “butt” joint the ends together. This is problematic in that the butt joint is inherently weak, and at the end of the pieces there is wood grain running more perpendicular to edge of rails. This “short” grain has less strength and is prone to break. The approach I use is to laminate the rail out of three plies. The pieces are connected similar to bricks, where one joint is lapped by the middle of another piece(s). This results in a much stronger joint, and any short grain is strengthened by its mating pieces’ long grain. To make the plies the boards are resawn (cut parallel to the face) on the bandsaw.

Craig JentzWoodZest