One Board table

A dear old friend has asked me for years for one of my wide boards. He knew the story of my lumber. That is was all cut before 1934 in the region of our mountains that was to become  the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This lumber was cut sometime between 1930-1934 by the Little River Lumber Company. Bob Emmitt whom I studied with was privately employed by James Van Derventer to build furniture for him. They knew the park was coming in and that would be the last of the timber to come out of the region. So Bob  Emmitt and a helper were sent up to Townsend, Tennessee to buy the lumber they needed from the Little River Lumber Company. Bob said there were stacks of lumber three stories high and he would just stand there studying the ends of the board. By studying the ends he could tell which boards came from the same tree. He wanted the lumber to match in color and grain. But two boards caught his eye. They were cherry from the same tree and 39 1/2″ wide without the heart of the tree in either board. Bob later used part of one board to make a Chippendale Pie Crust Table. About seven years after Bob’s death I was able to by the lumber form Bob’s widow Peggy Emmitt.IMG_3631This is one of the cherry boards. The thickness goes from 2 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ x 39 1/2″ wide and 12’in length. The mate to it is what I’m using for my friends table top.IMG_3738This will be the top of the table. It is 1 3/4″to 1″in thickness x 38 1/2″ wide x 6′ long. Because it is so wide there isn’t a planer that can thickness it . So I started with the bow side up and with my hand planes have been dressing this side. The under side will be left with the band saw marks and the far end will be left with the axe notch and crosscut saw marks.IMG_3769After leveling about a third with hand planes I started using a router and a 1 1/2″ bit to make a row of cut 1/16″ deep. Then I would remove every other one out with the router.IMG_3762The scrub plane is used to remove the ridges that were left. Notice the axe notch in the lower right corner of the board.IMG_3764A straight edge and #6 and#7 bench planes are used to level the top again before another pass with the router.IMG_3766A pair of winding sticks are used to check for any twist it the top.IMG_3768One more pass with the router and leveling then it will be ready for finish planing. The final surface will be from the #3 and #4 1/2 bench planes. I can produce a finer surface quicker with the hand planes than can be obtained by sanding.

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