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Old 09-10-2008, 12:50 AM
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Default Maloof joints on a cherry side table

In my continuing quest to find out what I could make with a giant slab of cherry, and how many variations I could explore in the shape of table and chair legs, I made this side table. It uses leg-to-top joints invented (as far as I know) by Sam Maloof.



It had a big split in the top (it was the end of the plank), which I left, but restricted with inlaid butterflies of maple.



Here I'll walk you through the construction of the leg/top joint. It's pretty simple, but requires specific router bits. I use a 3/4 inch diameter straight cutter, a 1/2" roundover bit, and a 1" diameter rabbeting bit with a 1/2" bearing (to get a 1/4" deep rabbet).

First the leg stock. This is 1.75" thick, by about 2.5 wide (its width gets trimmed later).



And here are two legs with the final pattern laid on one of them. It is important to decide the grain orientation before beginning the joinery, so marking the legs at this point is critical.



The first step is to round over one edge of the top of the leg. This is the inside curve of the leg/top joint. Again, it's important to know exactly which edge is being rounded over. I use the 1/2" roundover bit:



And here's the leg with the top few inches rounded over. It's not critical how much gets rounded (at least for my legs), as the rest gets cut away.



The next step is to cut the dado in the legs. This goes perpendicular to the roundover, and accepts a tenon in the table top.

I align the legs under the guide rail, using a piece of melamine-particle board as a fence and a support for the outrigger of the OF1010:


I use a 3/4" straight cutter to rout a 1/4" deep dado along two perpendicular faces of the leg. The dados meet at the rounded-over edge. Don't screw up and dado the wrong face!


I run the router along the guide rail. Here you can see the legs with both dados cut.



It's critical that all the legs have precisely the same dimensions if you are going to do them all at once. If one leg is thicker, it will have a 1/4" dado, while the rest are less than 1/4". This will be a big problem later.
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Last edited by Poto; 03-18-2013 at 04:31 AM.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Now the table top. Make cut-outs at the corners that are 1/4" less in each dimension than the leg cross section. This will allow for the forming of a 1/4" deep tenon.


It's critical to get perfectly perpendicular edges on the cut-outs, and as smooth a cut as possible. Saw marks may make your joints look sloppy.

Now take the 1" diameter rabetting bit with the 1/2" diameter bearing, and cut a rabbet around the edge of each cut out. Make the rabbet depth such that the tenon that is left is exactly the same as the dado you cut in the legs (3/4" in my case).


Do this for each corner, and top and bottom of the table.

If everything went well, the legs should fit perfectly in the tenoned cut-outs:


Now I get the legs to their rough shape using the bandsaw to remove most of the excess material:


With a little tweaking, we're ready for glue-up.


I've found that these band clamps work really well.

At this point, it's all shaping and finishing. This actually takes quite a while. First I round over the legs using the 1/2" roundover bit on all the parts that I can reach.


After some experimentation, I found that doing the roundover after the legs are glued to the table or seat is easier than doing them before glue-up.

There's always one edge that you won't be able to reach with the router.


I round this over using a Microplane rasp, and my Auriou rasp.


I then sand it using the RS400 sander with the rubin sandpaper offset from the sanding pad. This allows me to get into the inside curves.



And here's the table, ready for final sanding and finishing.

I used an old rug to protect my MFT and the furniture from dents and scratches at this point.

And, just for your enjoyment, here's the finished table again
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Last edited by Poto; 03-18-2013 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

very nice thread Potosan
and excellent result! I hope my joints turn out this good!
Im using the QF1400 for the joinery, but I think the smaller one would be more suitable for this. I'll have to get one when I can
What did You use to cut out the square in the seat top? tablesaw, Jigsaw?
I can copy this when I make the joints on the chairs
Okami:tigersmile:
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Excellent tutorial Peter!

Now it's clear how that leg/seat joint works.
It really looks like screws are not needed.

You've got a great eye for nice shapes.

I have two tiny digs.
I hope you sanded out most of that burnt wood on the seat joint. Glue doesn't stick well to that. I think a darker wood would be nicer for the butterflies.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Okamisan - I used a bandsaw to cut out the corners on the table top. I used my Kreg fence to get a nice, straight cut. Worked really well, though I still had to do some fine-tuning later.

Michael - not at all, those aren't really digs. You can't really sand at this point, because you'll ruin your joint fit. I didn't know that the glue wouldn't stick well to the burnt part. I'll wait in breathless anticipation for my table to fall apart.

I really love the look of maple and cherry. I did some inlay on another project with walnut, and you're right - it looks great, too. I wanted a really striking contrast of the maple on the cherry.

It was pretty funny - our housekeeper, a Mexican woman (here legally, I might add), looked at the table and said with a horrified expression on her face, "Meester Frank! Your table. She is broken!" When I told her that I had purposely left the crack open, she looked at me like I was totally nuts. So much for an artistic statement!
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post
Okamisan - I used a bandsaw to cut out the corners on the table top. I used my Kreg fence to get a nice, straight cut. Worked really well, though I still had to do some fine-tuning later.

It was pretty funny - our housekeeper, a Mexican woman (here legally, I might add), looked at the table and said with a horrified expression on her face, "Meester Frank! Your table. She is broken!" When I told her that I had purposely left the crack open, she looked at me like I was totally nuts. So much for an artistic statement!
How deep is the cut? I think I'll try to use the tablesaw when it's my turn. Which bandsaw blade? Mine would leave a lot of sanding to do though it would probably be squarer than with a jigsaw. It's very hard to get a jigsaw blade perfectly adjusted.

Funny story Meester Frank!
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

That is one beautiful piece of work, Poto.

I can't wait to see the set of chairs you make for it!

Charles
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post
It was pretty funny - our housekeeper, a Mexican woman (here legally, I might add), looked at the table and said with a horrified expression on her face, "Meester Frank! Your table. She is broken!" When I told her that I had purposely left the crack open, she looked at me like I was totally nuts. So much for an artistic statement!
Let me tell you something, I am originally from El Salvador and I can relate with your housekeeper.

In LatinAmerica we are used to rustics things and we appreciate to get fine things (meaning smooth things, with no "character"). For me is a shock when I see some programs in HGTV or DIY and they are distressing a brand new and beautiful and well done table or chair. Nowdays are more use to the American taste and I understand it better.

In latinAmerica we don't like texture, old things (if there is an antique must be in perfect state not distressed or "with character").

Now with my new acquired taste I can say I like the top, but anyways the chair is wonderful, it is a piece of art as CharlesWilson said.

Congrats
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesWilson View Post
That is one beautiful piece of work, Poto.

I can't wait to see the set of chairs you make for it!

Charles
Hi Charles - look at the thread

http://www.talkfestool.com/vb/projec...barstools.html

You can see the two barstools I made from the same slab of cherry. I haven't posted the other table on this site yet, but it was on the old talkFestool site.

In any case, thanks! I really appreciate the compliment!
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:29 AM
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Default Re: Maloof joints on a cherry side table

Quote:
Originally Posted by fidelfs View Post
Let me tell you something, I am originally from El Salvador and I can relate with your housekeeper.

In LatinAmerica we are used to rustics things and we appreciate to get fine things (meaning smooth things, with no "character"). For me is a shock when I see some programs in HGTV or DIY and they are distressing a brand new and beautiful and well done table or chair. Nowdays are more use to the American taste and I understand it better.

In latinAmerica we don't like texture, old things (if there is an antique must be in perfect state not distressed or "with character").

Now with my new acquired taste I can say I like the top, but anyways the chair is wonderful, it is a piece of art as CharlesWilson said.

Congrats
Thanks for the information, Fidelfs - it's good to learn about the reaction of other cultures to things we now take for granted. I remember well the first time I saw a Nakashima piece with a crack held together by butterflies. I thought it was gorgeous! It's stuck with me ever since.

I had considered filling the crack with a contrasting epoxy, but finally decided against it. I guess I could still do it, if I get fed up with things falling in the crack!
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