December 3, 2011
The parts for the 7" hand wheel:
Made from 3/4" plywood, it was cut on the band saw and trued to a perfect circle on the disk sander. The 1" holes are mainly decorative and all of the edges were chamfered. The handle is a length of hardwood dowel with a 1/4" hole drilled through it.
It operates very well, as demonstrated in this short video:
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The legs for this table are made up of 3/4" stock and I've chosen solid pine, mainly because I have a lot of it. Another perfectly acceptable option is 3/4" plywood or even solid hardwood. Softwood is cheap and readily available, and although it usually isn't as durable as hardwood, it is certainly strong enough for this purpose.
I start by cutting all of the parts to width and length, then I cut a taper on the lower half of the legs on the table saw using a jig.
This is mainly for aesthetic reasons - the legs will look less bulky if they are tapered.
Starting assembly, the top stretcher is glued and nailed between the legs. I'm using polyurethane adhesive and 2" airgun nails to fasten the parts together. Screws could be used, but are not really needed and would take longer:
Cleats are added (arrows).
These are for attaching the legs to the main cabinet. Again, these are glued and nailed in place.
The upper parts of the legs are thickened. This laminates the leg and adds glue surface to the top stretcher, effectively creating a rabbet joint:
The lower stretcher is installed.
This is a good time to check if the assembly is square and make any adjustments before the glue sets. With the addition of the bottom stretcher, a cavity is formed and this space will later be used for storage.
The lower half of the legs are doubled:
Glued and nailed together. This thickening piece creates a dado that the lower stretcher is glued into. Really, no compromise on strong joints when you use butt joints effectively.
The completed set have been sanded smooth and are ready to bolt onto the main cabinet:
Each leg set is fastened to the ends of the main cabinet. I used #10-24 machine screws and t-nuts to make alignment easier and also to increase the strength of the join, since no glue is used here. I want to be able to remove the legs if I ever need to, without destroying the main cabinet.
With the legs on and aligned perfectly on top, a cleat (red arrow) is added to the bottom:
The black arrow shows how the front panel extends below the bottom of the main cabinet. I did this because the hand wheel is very close to the bottom of the cabinet and it would look better with the panel fully behind it.
The unit assembled:
Looking a little homely at this early stage, but some paint and other decorations should pretty it up some.