The constant struggle for survival through the early years of English settlement in the New World left little time for construction of anything other than the most rudimentary pieces of furniture. A table, chair, several stools, and a variety of chests and cupboards were, for the most part, all these early settlers had. Within a generation with the influx of skilled craftsmen, houses evolved from simple one-room dwellings to structures of more imposing design and dimensions. As living space increased, so did the need for more furniture.
Of necessity the early dining table consisted of simply hewn planks laid across trestles that were stored against a wall when not needed. The till top table then followed, and it was only logical <u construct the base so that it served also as a scat The next step was to construct a box seal with a lid so that a storage area was added. Thus, the table became a seat and a hutch as well. Earl\ usage of the word "hutch" referred to chests or boxes for storage. These tables were marvelous examples of multi-use furniture.
We are no longer so pressed for living space, and upholstered chairs are much more comfortable to sit in, bul the hutch table remains a charming and useful accessory for the home with early colonial furnishings. It's also perfect for the small apartment.
Eastern white pine is the proper wood to use for this project, and knotty stock is the best, as long as the knots are tight Stan construction with the legs, which are cut to shape from '«" stock. Edge glue two boards with '■-" dowels to achievc the required width I a> out and cut two % x 2%" tenons on each Next, shape the feet from solid or glucd-up stock, and scribe mortises dirccth from the leg tenons. Cut the mortises I deep.
Assemble the legs and feet temporarily, and tack a brace across ihem while you lay out the front and back panel dovetails. Cut dovetails on the front and back panels and scribe the shape to the legs. Disassemble the legs and feet and cut dovetail notches in the legs. Shape scrolls on the lower edges of the front and back panels and fit
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the panels to the legs. The exploded view shows the seat-box bottom fastened to the legs with screws and plugs, but it is much more workmanlike to dado the bottom into the legs and the front and back panels. With the panels fastened temporarily to the legs, a line can be scribed around the interior surfaces for accurate alignment of the dadoes. Cut these to a depth of then cut the bottom to size, glue it into the dadoes of the legs, and add the panels. Clamp the assembly, tacking on braces to maintain squareness. The dovetailed ends of the panels are secured to the legs with counterborcd wood screws covered with %" plugs.
The feet can now be joined permanently to the legs with %" dowel pins driven almost, but not quite, through from the outside. Allow the pins to protrude slightly and round off for an antique pegged effect. Seat-support cleats can now be cut to fit between front and back panels. These are screwed into place from the inside.
The seat lid is made up of two pieces: a narrow hinge cleat, Vk" in width, which is fastened to the top of the back panel with blind dowels or plugged screws; and the lift-up lid, which extends about 1" beyond the legs. Round off the front edges of the seat and install with a pair of 2" black butterfly hinges mounted flush.
The top support cleats are of %" stock x 2 x 25". Cleats can be made of 1" stock if you prefer. Shape the cleats and clamp them flush with the top edges of the legs to drill pin holes through both cleats and legs. Use a backup block to prevent splintering. Shape two front pins from 1 diameter x 2J4" dowel with a knob on one end as shown. Most of these tables had tops that pivoted at the rear on one long dowel that went clear through both cleats, and the example shown employs this arrangement; but you may use two short pins as are used for the front.
The top is made of %" stock, edge glued with %" dowels or stopped K" plywood splines for strength. Joint the boards, but before locating the dowels, lay the boards out in position, arranging them for the most pleasing grain effect. Locate a 38"-diameter circle. Then plan your dowel or spline locations so that they will not appear at the edges when the top is cut to shape.
After gluing up the slab, take a thin pine batten about 21 in length, and drill a small hole through the ccntci about I" from one end. Measure 19' from this hole and drill another small hole, big enough for the point of a pencil to ride in. Now fasten the batten to the center of the slab with a small brad ihrough the first hole, and swing the batten in a full circic, scribing the circular shape with the pencil. Cut the lop to shape with a saber saw' and carefully rasp and sand edges, rounding them off to simulate wear.
Distress surfaces, if so desired, and round off all outer edges of the base with a rasp before sanding with medium to very fine paper. A dark-toned oil stain looks most authentic on this piece, and it is suggested that final finishing be done with a penetrating oil finish, such as Watco Danish Oil or Minwax Antique Oil. This is a simple quick finish that will give the table the soft glow of old, well-worn wood that originally would not have received a hard-surface finish. This type of finish can be applied with a cloth or with the hands, and it is certainly easier than cleaning up and caring for varnish brushes. As with any sealer, though, be sure to cover all surfaces, including inside the seat, to minimize absorption of moisture.
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