Small Ball & Claw Table

Lets face it 99% of woodworking is just working with straight timber and 90 degree joints. Being able to work with compound curves and even a little carving will open up your woodworking to a whole new level.

I am jumping into curves by attempting a small table using Ball and Claw style cabriole legs.

Ok let the fun begin, the table is based on an episode of “Rough Cut Woodworking” (Episode 11, Season 1). The timber used is some spare Melunak.

Leg templates were printed and glued onto some 3mm mdf then cut on a bandsaw and sanded smooth. I know it may seem like a lot of work but I will keep these templates for future projects and hope to get plenty of use out of them.

I used regular PVA glue and it was ready to go in about 20 minutes. The templates I am using were included in the rough cut DVD and just printed via laser printer to A4 paper.

Rough Stock
All the materials were rough cut and labeled to allow me to match the ears/knee blocks to the legs for the best grain match possible.


Round mortices were drilled on the leg stock before any cutting took place ,its much easier to clamp the stock down while still square.

Tenons were hand cut and rounded with a rasp to fit the round mortices. Couldnt resist a quick dry fit of the progress so far.

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Now the fun starts, templates were traced and legs were cut on the bandsaw. All the curves were smoothed over with a spokeshave and the corners rounded over using rasps.



Closeup showing the finish straight off the rasp and an updated dry fit.
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Carving the foot.

The toes and a general outline of the foot was marked using compasses to ensure all four feet are the same.

Two circles are drawn on the base, the larger circle represents the outside diameter of the ball and the smaller circle is the base diameter of the ball.
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The toes are carefully cutout with a handsaw to meet the outside ball markings and the excess material is carefully pared away with gauges to define the outside diameter of the ball.
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Updated Dryfit with the talons and basic ball visible. Some of the excess material has also been removed above the knee, this was done to mainly aid in clamping, in the begining stages the excess material serves to protect the top of the leg from damage.


Sides glued up and the ears/knee blocks have been glued on with hide glue and contured to fit. Conturing was roughly done on the bandsaw and finished with a blockplane and shoulder plane.

When doing the final carving of the feet, I found it easier to complete one leg and then carve the other 3 legs in stages take measurements off the first leg.

Finshing began with some Linseed oil. When freshly oiled the whole piece darkens and highlights any area’s needing more attention.

Finished Table.

After the oil had dried and any issues sorted it was time for the final finish. I sprayed the whole table with a mixture lacquer tinted with a little walnut stain. This helped to even out the tones through the whole piece.

Then applied several coats of full gloss lacquer as a final topcoat, when this completly dries I will rub back the gloss and apply some furniture wax til sliky smooth.

The final finish

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Console Table cont…

Got to spend a little more time tweaking and refining the console table.
The top and bottom shelfs were finished and rough sanded. The final height of the bottom shelf was decided and the legs have all been given a slight taper.

Marking out the taper

For the sake of a little practice I hand planed the tapers instead of cutting them on the bandsaw.

The ends of the legs were marked on the inside faces with a 6mm taper and ran 150mm up the leg.

Vic Ash The majority of stock removal was done with a scrub plane. I am really starting to like this plane more and more. Boy does it remove stock fast….

Vic Ash Shavings from the scrub plane were around .75-95mm thick no wonder it took less than 2 dozen strokes to get the taper down.

Vic Ash Then a quick going over with a jack plane to the line.

Vic Ash And ofcourse another dry fit , this time in the location its destined to end up in 😉

$24 Moxon Style Vice

With 9 handcut dovetailed drawers on the cards, I thought I should invest in a moxon style vice to aid my dovetailing.

After googling around for some idea’s I remembered some cheap “Press Clamps” I had seen at McJings tools and thought they might work well in a vice: Press Clamps @ $12 each

Press Clamps
I order a pair online with some other goodies, and they turned up in 2 days.

The Press Clamps look pretty good for $12!
Excellent fit and finish.

I drew up a quick sketch, using sketchup based on some scrap f17 hardwood I had lying around

I drilled 28mm holes, which provided a nice press fit for the vice parts. You will need to file/rasp out a little notch where the locking screw sits on the tail portion. Notice how much play there is in the vice….

With the parts pressed in place, I marked the rear plate with a knife and cut a shallow mortice for the plate to fit in flush.

This is then held in place by a second slightly wider piece of f17 that is also used for clamping the press to the benchtop.

Finished Vice
Heres a picture showing the clamping beam in place covering the press plates. The entire vice is very easy to take apart if needed.

Vice in Action
The complete press works really well. the clamping power is way more than you’ll ever need for dovetailing.

When I tried to move a clamped board I moved the whole bench, which probably weighs in at 200kgs!

Tapered Clamping
There is a little play in the jaws, which I think might actually be a good thing. If it becomes an issue i’ll either add a bushing to the rear hole or re-drill the back peice with a 28mm hole in the rear and say a 20mm hole in the front.

Sample Mirror

There is about a 45mm range available for clamping tapered objects.

Sample Mirror
In use you’ll only need to open one end to get a board in/out when the jaws are correctly set.

Finish Vice

Overall I am very happy with the way it turned out, I am sure I’ll be using more of these presses for other jigs in the future.

Even if you had to buy the hardwood and not raid your scrap pile, the whole vice would only cost $50-60 to make.

Console Table – Dry fit.

Managed to peice together the console table this weekend. The legs have not been tapered, and the top/bottom shelf are not assembled yet but you get the idea.

The press parts have arrived for the Moxon Vice so I’ll need to sort that out before attempting the drawers…

Console Table

The Legs have only been screwed in place, so I can remove them to tweak the taper and the height of the bottom shelf etc. This worked out well, because the location of the bottom shelf would have been too high based on my guesstimate.

Console Table

Time for a new project, I have been looking for something to replace a little table we have in our main living area. Spotted this via google images and I really like the style. I was only able to find this picture, the company selling the table no longer carried them and the link was dead.

Console Table

With not much to go by in regards to dimensions out comes sketchup to the rescue, I quickly roughed out the dimensions and proportions:

Sketchup RenderSketchup Drawing

In order to match the other furniture in the room, i’ll be using some left over Vic ash I have from a previous project.

Vic Ash
Side panels and legs have all been glued up, at this stage I am going to taper the legs not curve them as per the original picture.

Construction will basically be 3 boxes and joining them up to create the main carcass. Might even give hand cutting dovetails a try. I am working on a Moxon style vice to help out with them, will post up info on that as I figure it out.

I have put aside some 35mm stock for the top and bottom shelf, but I am starting think it will be too thick for the bottom shelf.

LowLine TV Cabinet

I have a few projects on the go at the moment, one of them is a TV Cabinet for a friend.

The Cabinet is made out of Solid Durian. Durian is very similar to Victorian Ash, if anything slightly better, I find it sands better, doesnt have gum veins and is less prone to chipping.

The unit will be 150cm Wide, 60cm High and 45cm Deep, finished in a Walnut stain and semi-gloss Pre-Cat Lacquer.

Since there were no plans or designs, I drew up some sample pictures this is the one that was chosen, here’s a render of the sample drawing.

Sample Drawing

Next Step was to select a final color, I used a walnut stain and shot some samples, using a varying number of coats. In this case the color chosen was a touch lighter than the four coat sample.

Finish Samples

Now onto the fun stuff, the Durian was cleaned up, all panels were glued and rough sanded to 80 grit. The majority of the cabinet was made using 20x185mm boards, the top was made using 42x150mm boards.

Durian Wood

Gluing Up the panels

Here is a picture of the cabinet, without the drawers and door, I will disassemble the cabinet before finishing.

Dry Fit

I screw all panels that require finishing on both sides to feet. This allows me to spray all round easily, this saves a lot of time and another bonus is the feet allow you to handle the peices safely before the finish has fully cured.

Boards Drying

Here is the finished cabinet the following day, the finish is still drying and leveling out and really needs a couple of days to fully dry. During this time the finish sinks into the wood and keeps looking better and better.
Finished Cabinet

I really enjoyed building this cabinet, and was very impressed with Durian.
Thanks for looking Joe 😉

Piano Stools finished…

The Stools are finally finished. 🙂

Finishing consisted of a coat of linseed oil followed about about 6 sprayed coats of pre-cat lacquer (75% gloss). I added a little walnut stain to the initial coats and only applied those coats to the lighter pieces (legs).

I am happy the way they turned out, especially considering I had no plans to base them on.

Sample MirrorSample MirrorSample Mirror

Piano Stool with insert padded seat. Still might add some bracing to the lid to support the center section of the lid. Really like the way this turned out. This ones going into our bedroom to provide some much needed storage.

Sample Mirror Sample Mirror Sample Mirror

Piano Stool with full padded seat. This stool is a touch bigger, but honestly until the upholstery is completed it doesn’t look like much at all. Hopefully my better half will tackle this soon so we can put them into use and out of the garage (actually the kitchen lol).

Piano Stools continued…

Back to the pianos stools again this weekend 🙂

Sample Mirror

The Second stool has an inset padded seat. I cut dadoes for some 6mm MDF and dominoed the frame together using 6mm x 40mm Dominoes.

Not 100% sure that there is enough strength in that slot to support a person, I might end up putting some bracing under the lid for some added safety.

Sample Mirror Sample Mirror

Here are a couple of pictures of the stools, pretty much finished. The second stool is still in need of some arm rests and they need a final sanding, and they are ready for a finish.

I’ll probably start the finishing process with a coat of linseed oil to darken the timber a shade. One Stool will be left unstained getting a couple of coats of lacquer. The stool with the inset seat will be darkend to match the existing furniture in the room.

Piano Stools

Now on to something more practical, some piano stools. I am making 2 stools each slightly different , one without an armrest and a fabric top, the other with arm rests and a solid top with a fabric insert.

Note: You can see a full thread on this build under the projects tab.

Piano Stools
A nice pile of rough sawn Melunak for AF Timbers. There is more than enough here for the two stools.

I am hoping to use the left over to start on a wall hung cabinet for handtools in a future project.

I picked a couple of similarly colored boards and rough cut them to length and cleaned them up.

There is quite a variance in color between boards, depending on how the finished piece looks I’ll apply some stain to even things out when finishing the pieces.

Piano Stools Piano Stools Piano Stools

After letting them sit for a few days I trimmed the boards to final dimensions and cut out the x8 leg blanks on the tablesaw.

Piano Stools
Giving all the boards a quick once over with the handplane.

Piano Stools
All the leg tapers were marked on the legs for easy reference, technically if your cutting the boards on a taper jig you dont need all the marks but they come in handy when finishing with a handplane or keeping an eye out for mistakes.

Basic taper jig I whipped up using some scrap 12mm MDF and a few jig fittings.

I bought 10 toggle clamps on eBay a while back and I just re-use them on jigs when needed, turned out very handy and they only take a minute to screw in anywhere they are needed.

Piano Stools

Piano Stools

Tapers were cleaned up with a handplane and legs milled to final dimensions. The legs developed a nice shine after handplaning. I think I’ll either round over the edges or chamfer them to soften those corners, still unsure what to do just yet. I’ll wait till I do a dry fit before making a decision.

Piano Stools

Piano Stools

Joints being cut ready for glue up using a domino.

Piano Stools
I used x3 6mm domino’s per joint, I trimmed them down from 40mm to 35mm so the mortises wont meet up in the legs.