Making A Herringbone Beech & Mahogany Side Table

In this video I made a mahogany and beech herringbone design side table with a pedestal base.  The sort of table you'd perch a drink on beside your sofa!
I started by cutting all the mahogany pieces to a consistent length at the mitre saw, and then I ripped them all to a consistent width at the tablesaw.  I figured I could use these to form a herringbone pattern, but the problem was that I didn't really have much material to work with.  
I had some 25mm square strips of beech and I thought this would look nice alongside the mahogany as it would contrast against it, and I began ripping it to pieces the same size.  I also needed to cut them to the same width and I set the tablesaw fence by offering up one of the mahogany pieces between the blade and the fence to get the correct size.
And then I could cut lots of beech pieces to length.
I could then start to play around with the design, and I came up with a pattern that I liked. 
And at this point I was thinking that I would make some kind of dinner tray, but then I had the idea to make a circular table top.  After figuring out the diameter of circle that I wanted to make, I added a nail to my circle cutting sled with the radius of the circle being the distance between the tablesaw blade and the nail, and I needed to cut off the head of the nail with a cutting disc in my angle grinder, then I drilled a pilot hole in to a spare piece of 12mm mdf that I'd found, I could then put the nail in to the hole so that the workpiece would rotate, and I could then use the tablesaw to cut the circle. I would say that this is a more advanced tablesaw technique, I think that there is a lot of opportunity for kickback here which can be very dangerous, so this is not a technique that I would recommend unless you're really confident that you know what you are doing.  It's important to hold the workpiece down really firmly on to the sled as you push forwards and backwards so that the workpiece doesn't twist while it's in contact with the blade.  
I cut away the excess in several passes and then once it was close to being a good circular shape I could advance it forward in to the blade while rotating it to get a perfect circle.
To mount the pieces on to the mdf, I'd use super glue for the first few bits, mainly because I wanted a fast adhesion so that the first pieces don't move around while I was fitting the rest of the pieces.
And then I switched to using wood glue so that I had a slower drying time which gave me an opportunity to push the pieces around to get nice tight joints and get rid of any gaps in between the pieces.
Unfortunately I did have a few tiny gaps though, and I mixed up some epoxy with some mahogany sawdust to make a filler which would help to hide them.
I then went back to the tablesaw to cut away the excess again.
I realised that I had missed a few small areas around the edge so after cleaning away any glue squeeze out with a chisel I could some small pieces in to complete the pattern.
And once the glue had dried it was back to the tablesaw again.
The tabletop looked a real mess by this point due to all the glue squeezeout on top, so I used my belt sander with an 80 grit belt to clean it up.
It came out pretty clean but I did spot a few more tiny gaps, so I used a wood filler and then sanded that back using my random orbit sander, and I also needed to remove any sanding marks left by the belt sander so I sanded at 60, 80, and then 120 grit. 
I did the final sanding by hand at 240 grit.
I decided to route a roundover to the table top just to soften the look of it a bit.  My router bits are rubbish so I had to do lots of sanding to get rid of the burn marks.  
I know that some people are going to hate the fact that I'm using exposed MDF edges for this table top.  But it was actually pretty common to do this on veneered mid century furniture, and I actually quite like the honesty of having exposed raw materials showing.   And once the MDF edges are sanded nice and smooth, they're going to look pretty non-descript anyway. 
I'd use some of this water based varnish to finish the table top.  I chose not to use an oil based finish because beech tends to turn a bit too orangey in colour for my liking.  After applying a first coat, I waited for it to dry and then sprayed on some water and wet sanded at 400 grit.
Then I wiped away any dust and applied the next coat, and repeated the process until it had three coats, but I also applied a fourth coat of acrylic spray varnish - this is perfectly compatible with the varnish and it would help to give the tabletop a nice flat finish with no brush marks as you can see from these shots.  It looked really nice, and the finish made the wood grain shimmer in the sun light.
Next I could start working on a base for the table and I had a piece of dowel which I found by some bins - I think maybe this might be an old curtain pole but I'm not sure.
It measured just shy of 30mm, and I decided to make a pedestal style base for the table, which is something I've never done before.
I'd use some salvaged wood to make a base and top mount. After ripping some pieces to size, I cut them to length so that they were just a little shorter than the diameter of the table top.
I could then centre one on top of the other, square it up with my speed square, and then use my marking knife to make some cut lines where I wanted to form a cross joint.
I set my tablesaw blade height to half the thickness of the workpieces using my calipers to get it as accurate as possible, and then lined up the blade with the inside of my knife marks and took several passes through the blade using my cross cut sled to form the joint.
The joint was a little too tight initially, so I used my chisel to pair away some of the end grain until the pieces fitted together snugly.
I also cleaned up the cross grain to clean up the indentations left by my tablesaw blade.
I then made some marks on to each of the four feet to form a shape that I thought would look nice, and I cut away the excess at the bandsaw and then refined the shape with some sanding.
I also added a round over to the ends at the disc sander.
It was time to glue the pieces together, and the joint was pretty tight but a mallet and an F clamp helped to get the joint properly seated.
Once the glue was dry, I used my block plane to flush up the top of the base.
Then I marked up a centre point and drilled it out using a 30mm forstner bit at the drill press.
I also cut some small blocks which I added to the bottom using some wood glue - these will be used to level the table - more on that later.
I made a second one of these in almost exactly the same way, except I cut the wood a little bit thinner, and less shapely.  This will be the piece I use to mount the underside of the tabletop to the pedestal.
Then I could cut the dowel to length and I cleaned it up with some sanding
Next I could secure the table top mount to the top.  I could use the pilot hole from cutting the circle earlier to centre the mount and I glued and clamped it in place.  I wiped away excess glue with a damp cloth.  While I had good access to the underside I also added my makers mark.
And I later drilled some countersunk pilot holes and added some screws just for a bit of extra strength.
I mixed up some epoxy and then added it to the top of the dowel and the hole too, and then I added masking tape to help minimise any excess glue, cut out the hole and added the dowel.  I used my clamping squares to make sure that the dowel was sitting upright at 90 degrees.
Once the epoxy resin had set, I removed the tape and did a bit of clean up with a card scraper.
And then I followed the same process to secure the dowel to the base.
The base of the table got a couple of coats of spray varnish, and I wet sanded again in between coats to keep things nice and smooth.
The final job was to level the table.  I used my tablesaw table as a reference for flatness, and the base didn't have much wobble in it and it was sitting pretty level too in relation to the reference surface of the tablesaw, so I just needed to take a few shavings to a couple of the feet with my block plane.