Continued from Part 2
MAKING THE PATTERNS
The pattern for the legs is cut directly from the drawing. You only have to cut out one. Cut as precisely as possible. **Do not cut out the notch created by the shelf, only the leg.** The shelf is the part that gets the notches. (Note: Technically, this is not correct. In woodworking the legs would be notched to support the shelf, but it made the finish work on the legs more difficult. If your design has a larger shelf that will need more support, consider notching the legs instead and leave the shelf as a circle with no notches…..or use a lot of really good glue or hot glue.)
Our drawing revealed the width of the shelf, which is wouldn’t have been know without the drawing . We need to make a pattern that’s a circle with a 2 1/4” diameter. Look around the house for another template that’s as close to that diameter as possible. I found a little juice glass that was almost perfect. After marking the circle, it was a little bit small. In the photo you can see that I cut just outside the line to make it the correct size. Get as close to a 2 1/4” diameter as possible without making yourself crazy.
Cut out the circle and then fold it in half. Crease the fold line and then make a mark on that line at the edge of the circle. Bring those two marks together as you fold in the opposite direction. Crease that fold line and mark it. Lay it out flat and draw lines on the fold marks. The four points on the circle will be where the notches where the legs are attached.
Our legs are 1/4” wide (that 2 layers of 1/8″ foam board). So, our notches need to be 1/4” wide. Better to make it too small and have to trim a bit more, than too large. If they fit snugly, it’s easier to glue the legs in.
Like you did on the shelf drawing, make marks 1/8” away from the crease lines. Draw lines through those marks.
Here are the final pattern pieces. Cut 4 table pieces. Use the “shelf” pattern to trace 2 shelf pieces. Cut the circle first, then cut the notches.
The table top is marked directly on foam board using the paint can as the template.
This is the safest and easiest way to cut the legs. Trust me on this!! Mark a line that’s 5 /14” from the bottom edge of the board. Lay the pattern at the right hand corner and mark all 8 pieces with no separation, as shown in the photo to the right. If you’re left handed consider reversing this to start in the left corner of the board.
Place your hand above the work to hold it as you cut downward on each curve. This keeps your fingers away from the blade. Cut all the curves without separating them from the board . THEN, cut all of them off at one time. I use a metal ruler to cut the the straight line. (Or a wood ruler with that little metal edge on it, but you can carefully do it freehand. Keep your free hand behind the blade for safety.) It usually takes me two or three times to get through the board. Be sure to have something under it to prevent damage to tables, etc.
You now have 4 tops, 2 shelves & 8 legs. Use Elmers Glue or Hot glue to bond the four tops, the 2 shelves, and 4 legs together. You can leave your table top plain OR you can get crazy like me and cut another hole in the top one for a decorative element. I left a 3/4” rim on the top piece.
SPACKLING THE EDGES
Next, we want to hide the ruff edges of the cut foam board. I wore gloves because working with Dap vinyl spackling can be a bit of a mess to get off your hands, but not too bad. Try to wash it off before it dries too much. You want it to fill the inconsistencies in the surface. Don’t put it on the paper part of the board, only on the foam part. If a little bit gets on the paper, wipe most of it off and you can easily sand off the rest after it dries, with 220 grit sand paper. Spread it on like icing a cupcake.
You can see how gloppy it looked. Dap is not hard to sand off. I use 80 grit to get the big glop’s off and finish it with 220 grit. Do it over a trash can or outside! Let it dry for at least half an hour before sanding. After my first layer it still had a few gaps, so I applied a little more, let it dry and used the 220 grit again. It looked pretty good. The paper can start to fuzz a little, but can be snipped with scissors if necessary. Don’t try to sand all the way down to the foam and paper. You’re trying to “float” the surface out, so leave a little bit to fill out the groove where the foam is. ***Do not put Dap inside the notches of the shelf *** I did put spackling on the “feet”, but not on the top of the legs that will glue to the table top.
On the edge of the table top, I intentionally left enough spackling to give it a slight curve. You can see that it was cracking and separating slightly after drying. I squirted Elmer’s down into the crack to seal it. I also used the Elmer’s glue to further refine all the spackled surfaces by smearing a nice layer over the edges of all the pieces (not so thick it drips, you can always add more layers after it dries). It helped to float out the paper ridges even more. Work on the pieces until you’re satisfied with the finish. Let it dry for a few hours or over night.
Now is a good time to mark the center point of the legs. Take each of the four legs and lay your pattern on them. Use a pencil to mark where the notch for the shelf is located. The photo shows it on the oak table legs, but it’s all the same process. You’re marking on the flat side. I make sure that I can see the marks from the curved side also (the outer part of the curve). Then use a ruler to mark all of them together. You might have to put small rubber bands around the ends to keep them even with each other while you mark them precisely on the middle of the curve of the leg. Now you can see exactly where the leg goes into the shelf when you glue them.
Continued in Part 4 of The Challenge