Kevin O’Connor meets general contractor Tom Silva back at the shop for a woodworking project: making a demilune table. After showing Kevin an example he built in shop class, the two get to work building the new table.
How to Build a Demilune Table
Note: The following steps do not include any exact measurements, angles, or radii. This overview guide should provide enough information for the reader to adapt to their needs.
- Start by creating a scaled model of the table. Measure in one inch from the long edge of the board, about halfway down the length of the board. Make a small divot or hole at this point. Place the compass at this point and set it to the desired distance (typically around 8 inches). Draw a half circle. Adjust the compass so it is roughly 1 inch shorter, and draw another half circle parallel to the first. Next, adjust the compass to reach roughly 2 inches further than the first line and draw a half circle. Square the ends of the half circle off with a speed square and lay out the leg locations.
- Set the table saw blade to its highest setting. Set the fence so it is roughly ⅛-inch from the blade. Holding it on its edge, pass the 3x4-inch board through the blade repeatedly to create thin strips of wood. Approximately 8 strips should do.
- Using a curved jig made from MDF, place the first strip into the jig. Apply glue to one side of the next strip and place it in the jig, using a clamp to hold it in place. Continue gluing and clamping strips of wood in place until all the strips are in the jig. Use squeeze clamps to apply pressure until the jig is fully seated. Allow the strips to dry for one day before removing the clamps.
- While the curved board is drying, cut the tapered legs on the table saw. Place the legs on the table saw jig and adjust its distance and angle from the saw blade. Adjust the distance from the blade to remove the desired amount from the bottom of the leg. Adjust the angle of the jig so the blade runs free of the board approximately 5 inches from the top, leaving a flat, square edge remaining. Repeat this process two additional times to create 3 legs.
- Remove the clamps and pass the curved board over the jointer to create a square, flat edge. Once square, pass the board through a planer to flatten the other side.
- Place the curved board on top of the model created in the first step. Mark the ends of the apron and the leg locations on the curved board. Use a framing square and combination square for this step to ensure that cut lines are square to each other. Cut the board at these marks on the miter saw.
- Use the mortising tool to bore mortises in the ends of the apron pieces and the flat section of the table legs. Temporarily install using floating mortises to test fit the assembly and take the time to fine-tune it as needed.
- Sand the legs and apron pieces. Use a sanding paste to smooth the surface, fill the wood pores, and prevent the glue from sticking to the boards where it shouldn’t. Glue and assemble the tenons and legs. Clamp the assembly and allow it to dry.
- Transfer the marks from the template to the 1x12 board, making sure to square the ends of the half-circle. Use a piece of scrap plywood to create a swing stick that the router’s templating collar can fit into. Place the swing stick on the board, anchoring it to the center mark of the half-circle with a screw, one inch in from the edge of the board. Use the router to cut the board, making as many shallow passes as necessary. Sand the top with the sanding wax.
- Unclamp the apron and legs assembly. Use the router and a slot cutting bit to cut a slot around the inside of the assembly.
- Place the tabletop top-down on a work surface. Place the apron and legs on top, upside down. Using custom-made clips, place the tongue of the clips into the slot and attach them to the top with screws to complete the demilune table.
- Curve jig
- Taper jig
- Slotting bit
- Scrap plywood
- Hardwood stock (1x12-inch board, 3x4-inch board, several 3x3-inch boards)
- Sanding paste
- Wood screws