An interesting chamfer

We are coming to the end of a job we've been on for a while. It involves making a new tabletop from cherry to attach to an existing set of legs, and also an extension (and a pair of legs to support it) for the table, to allow a couple of extra place settings at Christmas and other big bashes.

The challenge in this commission has been making the undercut profile that mimics the chamfered edge of the previous top. This was a piece of 18mm birch plywood with an interesting, stripy veneer on its upper face. This top had radiused corners and a 30 degree chamfer around its edge, and we had to find a way to recreate these details on our replacement top. For the chamfer, we had to make a jig to produce that angle consistently and neatly with a router.

This jig was simple as they go - it had to provide a plane angled consistently and evenly at 30 degrees from flat, needed to have a fence onto which the edge of the router would run, and must be able to be securely fixed down to the tabletop. Here it is:

The jig allowed the chamfer to be created on straight edges. The radiused corner, I realised, needed to be made by hand. This turned out to be a real pleasure. I drew the radii on the top and bottom (16mm different), and then cut off the bulk of the waste with an angled jigsaw. I then worked carefully with a sharp chisel to pare away the waste until i was left with a series of tiny flats, which i removed with a spokeshave. It was delicate work, involving a combination of care and confidence (for it wouldn't be done unless each cut was made, and finishing up a hair from the final line, despite the desire to be tentative).

Finally the last work was done with 120g, then 150g, then 180g sandpaper. To the touch the straight edges transitioned smoothly into the handmade corners and back out again, a perfect marriage of handwork and machine tools.

Next, the challenge was repeated (and increased) when I had to produce a corresponding edge on the extending section. Where the end of this meets the end of the main tabletop, an interesting female part had to be created. The same processes created this edge:

We used a flap wheel to sand the inner radius, and the result was (I'm pleased to say) very neat.

And most importantly, when lined up, the two tabletops fitted together very neatly.

We applied four coats of Finney's hard glaze on to the table, and delivered it to the customers just in time for Christmas.