More from Rob Stoakley and his coffee table…
In one of the earlier blog entries, I mentioned that there were going to be a couple of additional rails and these of course will be used to support the centre of the glass, so somehow they’ve got to be joined into the sides. Lots of options here for the jointing, but I’ve gone for twin stub tenons which will be wedged, exposed and rounded over.

It sounds complicated and it is, but it does give the form of the table an interesting ‘je ne sais quoi’ which a hidden joint wouldn’t do.

'X' marks the spot
‘X’ marks the spot

First and foremost, you’ve got to mark out some holes in the offending rails by cramping them together as a matched pair. ‘Out’ faces facing out (doesn’t sound right there, but you’ll understand the drift) and with a big ‘X’ (marked with an orange arrow) which serves to show exactly how the rails are located, should they ever need to be re-marked.

I used my square and knife to mark across the pair very lightly as these lines will eventually need to be removed. With the knife lines marked in across the edges, I then used one of my Japanese marking gauges to mark in the twin mortices on each rail.

Marking stub mortices
Marking stub mortices

Now, I know what you’re thinking, punk, and it probably isn’t ‘did he fire six shots or only five?’, …but more like, ‘why Japanese?’

Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of different marking gauges from the eye wateringly expensive cutting wheel offerings from across the pond to the traditional English pattern found in so many ‘shops. Quite simply, the oriental style is the best I’ve ever come across and even better, being a parsimonious soul, I can make them for the cost of an oddment out the scrap box and a bit of old HSS hacksaw blade. When a project is started, you’ll often need several gauges where the ‘set’ needs to be maintained for a while, so being able to make them for next to nothing means that there’s a bit more of the hard earned folding that can be spent on much shinier stuff… and I like shiny stuff!

  • Why buy one when you can make one – I like your style

    • Rob Stoakley

      Japanese style gauges are very easy to make…you can knock one up in around an hour or so and all they cost is the price of a couple of gash bits out the oddments box. I’ve recently made a larger Japanese panel gauge from English oak and Holly.

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