Saturday, May 10, 2014

Walnut Hall Tree, Part 1

In this episode I give you a tour of where I am at with the hall tree, which consists of the base being complete. We also talk a little bit about the frame and panel router bits used.
SketchUp File
Rail and Stile bit setup (
Hall Tree Series

Build Process:

I start with a fair selection of rough 4/4 walnut and start looking for pieces I want to use to make up the rails and stiles.  Using a white pencil I mark out parts and label them based on my drawings.

after using a jig saw and band saw to rough out all the parts they get surfaced and cut to dimension.

Next all the pieces go through the router creating the grooves, tongues, profiles and copes. Then, I dry fit all the frames looking for any issues with alignment.  For a good article on how to setup rail and stile bits check this one out from Tom at the

Quarter inch walnut plywood is used for the panels. These get cut to height first (shown here) then to width to fit each of the frames.

All the frames get glued up next.

On the long rails I use a spacer and clamp the assembly to the bar, this keeps the rail from bowing under the clamping pressure.

After taking them out of clamps all the joints get cleaned up with a smoother.

 Now I start to layout for the arc on the sides and fronts.  Using a thin scrap I bend it between a couple of small nails until I find something to looks good to me and trace it out.

The arc for the side panels gets cut out at the band saw and then sanded to the line at the spindle sander.

For the front and back panels the arc is much longer and harder to get a consistent line.  I made a template at the band saw then sanded and rasped it to a smooth arch.  Then, the front and back get rough cut at the band saw and finished up using the template and a router with a flush trim bit installed.

Next a rabbet gets cut on the ends of the front and back panels.  This will conceal the edge grain of the side panels when assembled.  The rabbet is cut very deep only leaving a little bit of material on the front and back frames.  This will help to hide that fact that the joint exists.  If I ever do this again I won't make the rabbet quite so deep because the materiel left (about 1/8") is fragile and is easy to chip and break.

I cut these rabbets slightly wider than the thickness of side panels, this will allow a little bit of material to stick out passed the side panels which can be removed with a hand plane.

A dado is also cut to accept the bottom.  I cut a 5/8" dado to accept a 3/4" peace of plywood.

Then, a shallow rabbet is cut along the plywood bottom to create a 5/8" tongue.  For me this two step process of fitting the plywood to the dado is easier than getting the dado stack in the table saw to match the plywood thickness exactly.

Prior to assembly I tape off the glue joints and finish the interior side with shellac.  This will make assembly easier and finishing easier later.

All assembled.  I use the smoothing plane again to flush up the rabbets to the side panels.

Finally I use a block plane to create a small bevel on each corner.  This makes the corner joint seamless and gives the appearance that the sides wrap around to the front and back.