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Ungluing - The saga of the second table

I got so excited about how my first end table came out, I jumped into a second one with a design change: add a drawer.

But did I add a 4" drawer like Charlie suggested? No, I decided to "maximize" the drawer space, designing a 1x6 front. That makes a 1x8 blind on the side. This was going so well I "maximized" the lower shelf reduced the overhang of the top. So I drew that up NOT TO SCALE. Not so smart (I need to learn Sketchup!).

Then I build the table last weekend using Kreg joints and gluing them all (My dad taught me "It's the glue that makes the bond" at about the age of 4, right after "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey" - so it is hard for me to kick the habit).

The result is a boxy, chunky, un-elegant behemoth I have been trying unsuccessfully to grow fond of all week. (This is a flattering shot)

I am determined to remake the table with better proportions (smaller drawer and shelf, 1.5" overhang on the top...). So my question:

Is it possible to take this table apart cleanly enough to reuse the wood to make the smaller table?
If I had not used glue, I think this would be doable. But will I get these joints apart cleanly? And can I remove the glue well enough for the oak to take the stain evenly?

I used Titebond Original Wood Glue. Do I soak it? Chisel it? Or do I just need to start from scratch?

There are details of the table that I do like and would keep in the remake. The glue-up came out nicely, I put cross pieces at the ends since the short face will be the front.

And I put chamfers on the legs, a minor detail, but it does look nicer than my first table.

So, I would love your feedback: Do I try to take this apart and remake it? Or do I start from scratch?

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Comment by Ed Morris on February 15, 2010 at 12:39am
Keep up the great work Jenny, In time you might even have your own line of home and office furniture. Keep up what you like to do, there is a lot to say about looking at something that you made yourself and telling your friends about it. Ed
Comment by Anthony Lanting on February 14, 2010 at 9:14pm
Glad we could help! 8-) Looks great next to the chair.
Comment by Jenny on February 14, 2010 at 7:40pm
Here at last is the finished table. I have taken to heart the suggestions above to help avoid bad designs in the future.

In this instance, I decided on a mix of not-beating-myself-up, and of using a 1” oak stair tread to make a larger, thicker top out of. I also used a chunky pull for the drawer to help even out the proportions.

Comment by Jenny on February 6, 2010 at 11:25am
Thank you all!! I have been gone a few days and was thrilled to come back and find all these replies. What a supportive community! And such good advice, I see the important lesson is to avoid the same mistake in the future and not to beat myself up over this one.

Chuck M shared some Sketch-up tips that are well worth checking out, that will help me test drive designs.

Anthony Lanting wrote: Maybe next time assemble it (without glue), look at it for a day or two, then take it apart and re-assemble, this time with glue.

That sounds like a really good idea and should work well with Kreg screws. Have any of you tried this? I am thinking I could also use this assemble – disassemble- assemble again method to move larger pieces (e.g. build a bookcase in my workshop, disassemble it and drive the pieces over to my sister’s house and reassemble it there).
Comment by Ed Morris on February 4, 2010 at 2:05am
Hi Jenny, like Don said about selling it and start all over again, like I told my apprentice's, it is a good thing to make a mistake "ONLY" if you knew were you went wrong, so hopefully one learns a very good lesson about taking your time and check your work. On the other hand you are asking for advice before you make your next move, and keep on trying, which I know you will. Ed
Comment by Anthony Lanting on February 2, 2010 at 9:45am
Instead of a thicker top why not just turn the edge banding 90 degrees and create the illusion of thicker material?
Another alternative would be to make an oversized top and attach over the existing one. I think it looks great! Maybe next time assemble it (without glue), look at it for a day or two, then take it apart and re-assemble, this time with glue. Many of the things I design and build often "evolve" during the process.
Comment by Don Grubish on February 2, 2010 at 7:39am
You add glue to Kreg screws and it's as solid as a rock. IF you covered your pocket holes like I do, then they're near impossible to get to later on. I'd finish the project and put it up for sale. Use that money to buy more wood and start over. What happens over time is the more you try and love a project, the more you'll hate it. Trust your gut.

I am, however, proud of you for trying to think outside the box. Lord knows I've done that numerous times. Keep woodworking!! =)
Comment by Veronica on February 1, 2010 at 10:45pm
I think it looks great Jenny. I did the very same thing with the cabinet that I'm making except, I didn't use any glue so I was able to take it apart. I don't think I'll be using glue for anything until I know for sure that I'm not going to make any mistakes. Hmmmm, not sure if I'll ever get to that point though!!! LOL
Comment by Jenny on February 1, 2010 at 10:36am
Chuck - I am going to take you up on the Sketchup help. I'll message you.

Kim - Wonderful advice :)
Comment by Kim C on February 1, 2010 at 10:21am
I find that putting my first attempts in yard sales makes me enough money to buy more wood for second attempts.. and thirds.. and.. =O
I love the chamfers on the legs. I will try that next time!

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