Building a TV Tray Folding Table

Hi, I'm Tommy MacDonald. This week on Rough Cut,
we are building this super contemporary table. Now, it's based off an
old-school 1950s design that I got out of my dad's
basement, because it's– (laughs)–
a collapsible TV tray, and I just love it. I'm going to show you how
we make these curved legs and how to get a beautiful top
out of a single piece of wood. We'll be joined in the shop
today by newcomer, my friend, co-designer,
and builder, Jesse Shaw. And it's all coming up next
right here on Rough Cut. ♪ ♪ Major funding provided
by Woodcraft. Woodworking is a passion. Woodcraft understands that. We offer name brands and tools
for fine woodworking– table saws, band saws, routers,
hand planes, chisels and much more– and employees
who love woodworking just as much as you do. Woodcraft:
helping you make wood work. Proud sponsors of Rough Cut:
Woodworking with Tommy Mac.

Additional funding provided by: DMT diamond sharpeners,
made in the USA and helping to give woodworkers
sharp edges since 1976. Titebond wood glues:
the pro's advantage. Microjig,
maker of the Grr-Ripper. Work safer, work smarter. And by Pony Tools. And Starrett. >> TOMMY: All right, gang,
say what's up to Jesse Shaw. What's up, buddy? >> Hey Tommy, great to be here. >> TOMMY: Man, you know, I gotta
tell you, Rough Cut woodworking really does bring
people together. Do you remember a few years ago
we did this show down at the Fort Point channel
in Boston with that bench design
competition, and I showed you the one
that I thought represented that area the most? Well, actually, you're the guy
who built it, right? >> Yeah, built that,
did that contest, it was great, and it was so cool seeing it
on your show. You came in,
you assessed the bench, it was just how I thought of it. It was kind of like
I was explaining it. >> TOMMY: Yeah, so we were
on the same page right away.

You know, a year and a half
goes by and I get this random phone call
from this dude and it was you saying that
you had built that bench, right? >> Yeah. >> TOMMY: And since he lived
right down the street, I was like hey, why don't you
come on down to the shop and check it out, right? So, I had this crazy idea
of a TV tray this week. I gotta tell you, he wasn't sold
on it at all, right? >> Makes me think
of my grandparents.

>> TOMMY (laughing):
Well, I hear you. So, we sit down,
we start designing. So why don't you show us
what we came up with? >> So we came up with a bunch
of different designs. First we sketched out
one that had these nice little arc curves, and after that, we made
an eighth-scale model. >> TOMMY: These things
are so cool. >> It's a great way to get
a three-dimensional version of what you're looking at. >> TOMMY: Yeah, and since this
piece needs to be functional, you can really see
the shortcomings in it as well, right?
>> That's true. >> TOMMY: Because look at it,
it falls right over. So you decided to build
a full-scale model, and here it is right here, man,
and it's still collapsible.

And I think that it looks great. Dude, it almost looks like it
could be on the Enterprise, you know what I mean? But, since I want this
to be a TV tray, it's really tippy, and I knew I would be wearing
whatever I was eating. Plus, it really doesn't fold up well at all, Jesse, you know. There's no way that's going
to be able to be nested together
or slide under my couch, right? >> Right, functionally,
it just didn't hold up.

>> TOMMY: So then, it was back
to the drawing board, right? >> Back to the drawing board. So we came up with a few more
designs just with a… wanted to keep
that organic curved form. And then, this is the one
we came up with. The next part of the process was
to create a computer model, a 3D rendering of it. >> TOMMY: Yeah,
which is really cool. You know, he was able to put it
into a computer simulator and spin it all around
and collapse it and really get a good look on what
it's going to be like. But anyways, we finally came up
with the design that we're going to go for this
week, and I just love it, man.

I think that this thing is
perfect for what I was thinking, it's super stable, rock solid,
and still has that contemporary look
that could be on the Enterprise. So what do you say we get
to work? >> Cool, let's do it. >> TOMMY: Jesse, what I love
about this project, this is all the material
you're going to need. A couple of two-and-a-quarter
inch blocks, squared up, three feet long, a little bit
of three-quarter that I got out of a piece of scrap, and a sizable chunk of wood. This one here is 12 inches
by two feet, right? >> Yep. >> TOMMY: And dude,
I got to tell you, when I first envisioned
this table, I didn't want to build it
out of walnut at all.

I was thinking tiger maple
or even some veneering, right? >> That's right,
and I pushed walnut 'cause I love that richness
of the brown wood, and it has blues and purples
in it as well. It's just a beautiful wood. >> TOMMY: "Pushing it" is like
saying it lightly. He held the line. He was like, "Walnut, walnut!" Now, the thing of it is,
how do we take a big chunk of wood like this and bend it
to look like that right there, right, man? >> Right.
>> TOMMY: So what's the process? >> So, we were able to print out
a full-scale drawing, and from that
full-scale drawing, we adhered it down to a piece of
plywood, three-quarter plywood, and traced that template. Just a matter of cutting it,
trimming it on the band saw, and cleaning it up. >> TOMMY: Once we had
the template made, we needed to make a form, right? >> Right, so that template
gives us all the information we need
to create a form.

>> TOMMY: That's right. >> We can screw it right down
to a piece of MDF and trim it. >> TOMMY: And then clean it up
with some hand tools, and then you just need
to build a stack. The reason why it's stacked
so high is because our stock is two-and-a-half inches thick. Now, we needed to make
a second half of this form, because we need to clamp things
in between it. The trick is, how do you take a big, honking piece of wood
like this, Jesse, and put it in a form
to change its shape? >> Yeah, we got to do
a little bit of cutting and manipulating the wood
to get there.

>> TOMMY: Yeah, because
it would be impossible to bend this piece of wood
to that shape. So, I'm going to head
to the table saw. I'll be right back. >> Sounds good. >> TOMMY: What we need to do is cut these two
two-and-a-half-inch chunks into one-eighth strips,
all right? Now, the first thing you want
to do is make sure you have a nice new blade. I know everybody doesn't like
to spend the money on them, but for this application,
it's totally, totally worth it, all right? Now, I'm going to take
my combination square and hold it on the bed.

Not the insert, but the bed. I'm going to slide it right up
against my blade. Now, I can see that that's
not square, so I'm just going to move my blade until the light
disappears between the saw blade and the combination square. That's looking pretty good,
I'm going to lock it down. Secondly, you want to make sure
that this fence is parallel to that blade. What I like to do is grab
my combination blade, all right? I'm going to move it right over.

I'm going to hold it
on this first tooth close to the bottom
in the front, just so it's barely touching it. Now I'm going to take
the same tooth, roll it all the way
to the back with my finger, and double-check it
with my blade. All right, that is perfect. Next, I want to take what's
called a splitter– it's this piece right here. This goes right behind the blade
on all table saws now. This is going to prevent that
piece of wood from collapsing in on the blade or even kicking
back on you. Put my insert in there… And I'm good to go. Next, you need to make sure you
have a really good push stick since you're going to be cutting
really, really small pieces through this blade. I like this particular model
right here because it has a little kick
on the back of it, so I know that this is going
to stabilize my piece of wood and my hands aren't going to be
anywhere near it.

When it comes to the piece
of wood, we decided that we thought
that the quarter-sawn, which is right here,
would look good from the front. You can see that the grain
pattern just doesn't match what we're looking for. So, you want to make sure
that the piece of wood is square, which it is. A really cool trick to make sure
that this is going to be glued together the way
it's cut apart, is you want to take a marker and put an index
right across here, so when I cut this
into eighth-inch pieces, I can restack it together
in the same sequential order so you'll see, like,
no glue lines. Finally, I just need to move
my fence over to one-eighth of an inch…

And make all 12 cuts. All right, Jess,
moment of truth, buddy, time to glue
these pieces together. What have you been doing? >> So we got the forms set up
with six clamps so we can get a good amount
of pressure on all sides. >> TOMMY: That's right,
now check this out. You can see that we have
all of the indicator lines from before I cut it
on the table saw.

Jess, you're going to love this,
buddy. So when I squeeze them
all together you can see that my indicating line
is right there. >> Looks great. >> TOMMY: Now we need to glue
these all together, and you only need glue on one
side of each one of these? >> Just on the insides, yeah. >> TOMMY:
Okay, just on the insides, so that means we don't want glue
on this side or that side. So this one's going
to lay this way, and I'm basically just going
to lay them out and when it comes
to the last one, dude, I'm just going to flip it
backwards so I don't get any glue on it. Yeah! So now I'm just going to take it and bring it right
over the form. All right, so it's just
a moment of truth. Clamp this bad boy together. Now it's really important
to make sure that you clamp from the middle out.

I know a lot of times, you know,
guys would clamp the two ends 'cause it would
stabilize the piece, but what will happen is you'll put too much clamping
pressure on the outsides, and then you won't be able
to get appropriate pressure on the middle. >> It's looking good. >> TOMMY: Now, do yourself
a favor and take all this glue off now, because it's a lot easier
to deal with it when it's wet than when it's dry, right, dude? So Jess, how long should
this take to dry? >> We should leave it in
the form for at least 24 hours.

>> TOMMY: So after 24 hours, we're going to end up
with two pieces that look just like this,
buddy– pretty sweet, right? >> Yeah. >> TOMMY: What I love
about this project is that these two, you know, bent laminations become–
yeah, buddy– the full legs of our project. Now, you can see that they're
still pretty ratty, so what I want to do is bring it
over to the joiner, clean them up on one edge,
then I'm going to send them through the thickness planer
at the same time, so they're both
the exact same size.

Then, what do we need to do? >> So we're going to put the
template back onto the piece, and then cut the ends. >> TOMMY: Okay, cool,
let me do that to this piece, and I'll see you at the bench.
>> Great. >> TOMMY: Heads up, man. Now we have those two
funky pieces cut, shaped, and ready to go, let me show you
how they go on our table. We have a left and a right side
with the S curves that are held together with a
pivot point here in the middle.

We also have a mortise-
and-tenon rail down here that basically keeps
the bottom from racking. Now, check this out,
you're just going to love it. When I flip it upside down,
the way that this thing works is that it collapses
with this aluminum rod. You could never do that if you
didn't round over the corners. I understand why we rounded them
up here at the top, Jesse, but why'd you round them here
at the bottom? >> When we rounded the bottom,
it just allows the table to open up and slide easier.

>> TOMMY: Now, the way that it
collapses… comes right in, baby, drops down,
and it's sweet, right? Jess, now what's the first thing
we need to do? >> First thing we need to do
is lay out the mortise. >> TOMMY: Okay,
for our two-inch rail, right? >> Right, so to do that, we go
four-and-three-quarters in.

>> TOMMY: Now, when it came to the pivot point,
what did we have to do? >> For the pivot point, we went in about a half
of an inch from the end and then three-eighths inch
from either side. >> TOMMY: All right and now,
what's the layout for the roundover? >> For the roundover,
we're going to use a little quarter,
which is a trick. >> TOMMY: Aha, nice! >> I put it right in the center
and just round it over. >> TOMMY: Man, that pencil
line's pretty tough to see so what I like to do
is just grab a white pencil and I just trace it in a little
bit so I can see the marks bouncing off the walnut. Now, when it came
to doing the mortise, I figured why not, I'm going
to do some old-school work right here, buddy,
some chisels, right? >> Nice. >> TOMMY: All right,
that's looking pretty good. You get the idea. I'm just going to continue
to work this mortise until it's a half-an-inch deep and it's nice and square
all the way around.

Jesse, what are you
going to be doing? >> I'm going to be drilling out
the pivot hole. Then we're going to take it over
and round off the corners. >> TOMMY: All right, cool. The next thing I need to do
is cut these pieces in half. I have my fence set at an inch, you know,
to the center of the blade. I'm just going to make sure
I cut it nice and easy, then I'll take all four pieces
over to the thickness planer, then I'll see Jesse
over at the bench.

Now that we have
all our legs together, Jesse, time to put them together. They look cool, right? Now, the way we put these
together is, check it out, we have a center hole
on both pieces. With this cool little gizmo
right here, it's called a roto-hinge,
and check it out. Nice, right? I just love it. Now, you would think that it
would be pretty simple, but it's not that easy, is it? >> Yeah, it's a little tricky.

>> TOMMY: What's the first step
of the process? >> So, first step is
to take our template again. In the template, we've found
the center point already. And then we take it
and tap down a few times. Get that alignment… Now what we're going to do
is drill our hole. >> TOMMY: Now what size bit
is that? >> This is
a three-eighths-inch bit. >> TOMMY: Okay. Cool. Now the challenge is,
how do we get the center of that hole
on the corresponding piece, right, Jesse? >> Yep, it's a simple
little trick. >> TOMMY: Cool. >> It's a center-finder. And we just put it in here.

Now that we have
the center-finder in there, we're going to put our legs
together, align them, and then press down on it. Now we have that point… >> TOMMY: That's awesome. >> We're going to drill it
again. >> TOMMY: Now the next thing we
need to talk about is our rail. You can see that we have
this really cool rail down here at the bottom,
and this is to hold the bottom of this piece together
from falling apart.

It's two inches wide,
five-eighths thick, and the tenons are going to be
a half-inch in from either end. Since we have this really cool
curve, I've already drawn it. So Jesse, it's just a matter
of me going to the table saw, the band saw,
and I'll be right back. To cut the tenon,
I'm going to do it right here at the table saw. You could notice that I've already got my dado
blade in the saw. Now I have a dado stack here
that's five-eighths of an inch.

I only need a half-inch tenon,
so what I want to do is I want to make sure that I lower it down
to an eighth of an inch, grab my square… That's looking pretty good. Now what you want to do
is make sure you're at the top of the rotation
of the blade. Lock her in,
bring my fence over. I've already got
a sacrificial fence on there, so even though I have
a five-eighths dado blade in there, I can bring it over
to a half an inch. No problem, just like that… Lock her down, grab my gear, I'll make my first two cuts,
then I'll just double-check it inside my mortise
until it fits nice and tight. Then I can just finish
the other side. After I cut the shape
on my rail, it was just a matter of cutting
my three-sixteenth shoulders and then dry-fitting this piece,
just like that.

Now, what's up
with that piece of aluminum? >> So I picked this up
at the local hardware store, and aluminum's soft enough
to chop on the chop saw, so it's the same dimension
as our rail, and we're just going to glue it
in with some epoxy. >> TOMMY: That's right,
so we're going to epoxy that in and I'm going to use regular
yellow glue here, so we might as well
bang this thing together.

>> Let's do it. >> TOMMY: All right, man,
that's looking pretty good. And now this is going to be
really simple to put together– grab that side. Here we go. Just eyeball it. Put it on there, dude,
how you lookin'? >> Nice and tight. >> TOMMY: All right, perfect. Now, since this is
such a small piece, we don't need a lot of clamping
pressure, right, Jesse? >> No, these two clamps will do.

>> TOMMY: Yeah, definitely. That's beautiful. So what do you say we
give this a chance to dry, and in the meantime,
let's go bang out the top. Why I love about this top,
Jesse, it's made out of this piece
of wood right here. It's two-and-a-half inches
thick, and it's basically a big, fat slab of wood. If you look at our top here, look at the grain pattern here
on the left, it's identical to the one
on the right. Now, the way that we get this
right here, it's called book matching.

So what I need to do is get
this big, fat chunk of wood and cut it in half. So I'll do that,
and you stay here looking cool. The first thing I want to do
to cut this board in half is right here at the table saw. This is a really huge chunk
of wood, so I'm just going to cut
both edges of the block before I go to the band saw. The reason why is
because the table saw blade will create kind of like
a groove for the band saw blade to track down and then it should
stay right in the middle. Now that I have my curve cut
in my board, you can see that the band saw blade will track down this nice
and easy. Now look it, when you make a cut
like this, be super careful.

You never want to put your hands
right behind here, 'cause you don't know what kind
of tension this board is under, and if it cracks,
you don't want your two thumbs to go right through that blade. So make sure you have
a couple of push sticks. So now all I need to do
is take these, buzz them down
to the proper thickness, and glue them together. After I cut the blank in half
and I cut it into my boards and I milled them down to size, Jesse, look at the big knot
that was in the middle of it. No sweat, you know,
what you want to do is just take this piece over here, like that, and I think
that the stripe is going to look pretty neat in the middle, and you know what, that little
bit's not going to bother me, I'll just put a little epoxy
in there. Now, if you've ever tried to
glue boards together like this, and you've had
the problem of, they're going…
this kind of thing, it's probably because your
joiner's not perfectly square.

So what I'm going to do,
check this out. I'm just going to flip it
and hold them together like this, Jesse, and throw it right into my vise. You get that clamp right there and you can clamp that down
for me. That's looking pretty good,
yep, perfect. I'm going to grab
my hand plane and just go across this edge
until I take an equal amount of material off of both boards. What's cool about this is that no matter
what angle this is on, when you fold it out,
it'll be 90, and when you go to glue it together
and clamp it, it's going to be perfectly flat
and it won't pop up on you. So all we need to do is fold it
back out– there you go, Jesse– put them together and that joint is going
to be perfect once we put some clamping
pressure on it. So what do you say
you just glue it together, then we can bring
this project home. >> Great. >> TOMMY: After the glue dried,
I cleaned up the surfaces, then I cut this
really cool shape into it, and I think that
it looks awesome.

>> Looks great. >> TOMMY: The next challenge is, how do we attach the base
to the top? We needed to make a few cleats,
right, man? >> Yeah. >> TOMMY: So, you can see that
we have a couple of cleats. Jesse, how big are they? >> They are five-eighths
by an inch and a quarter. >> TOMMY: Okay, now I already
have a couple of pre-drilled holes. You get the drill? Drill those on. Sweet. >> TOMMY: Nice. Now, we also took the time
to drill our three-eighths pivot hole in
the side of both of our aprons. Now, Jesse, grab that
and stick it right on there.

Now, again, we use those
roto-hinges up here at the top, so it's going to spin nicely. >> Goes nice and smooth. >> TOMMY:
Oh, that's pretty good, huh? Hold on my mark. That looks good, right man? >> Looks good. Our last screw. Cool, now the next thing
we needed to do is make sure that this bar was locked
into place so it would open and close without falling apart. We basically just made
a little cage right here. There's an apron on the front
and an apron on the back, with a couple of bars
that keep our piece of aluminum in place, right?
>> Right. >> TOMMY: So all we need to do
is screw it down, Jesse, then we can talk
about the finish. Wow! I mean, look at this finish.

I got to tell you what,
that walnut looks fantastic. Explain to us how
we got that finish. >> We put a tung oil finish
on it. May look dull now. >> TOMMY: Yeah, sure does–
that's why I don't like walnut, 'cause it looks totally flat
like cardboard. >> Hey, watch this.
>> TOMMY: All right, man. Nice! You know what, Jesse,
I have to admit, the walnut looks really,
really great. I mean what can I say,
when the kid's right, the kid's right. Now, if you look at the piece
that we did first, it looks really beautiful,
but look at this big, fat, ugly bolt right here.

You know, after we built
this project, we found that roto-hinge,
and that's what we used today on the project. And it's kind of like the stable
of this week's project. What happened was, I took this
crazy idea of a 1950s TV tray, I called up a friend,
and we came up with a design that I thought was really great. But, since it needed to be
a functional piece of furniture, it didn't work at all.

Then, we needed to redesign it,
and we ended up with a piece that we were really happy with. Then, Jesse, we haggled over
what material that we wanted to build it out of. Ultimately, I think that we got
the right piece of material, and I think that it looks great. So, if you're at home, struggling about the design
aspects of what your piece is, don't ever be afraid
to change directions at no matter
what stage you're in. Well, listen,
I'm Tommy MacDonald, he's Jesse Shaw,
I had a great time, I hope you did too,
and we'll see you next time, right here on Rough Cut. Keep going, man, keep going…

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