Mitred Plinth from old Veneered Doors

Ok I’ve got my hands on three of these quite ornately veneered errr. Well I guess they’re not really that ornate. I mean the veneering pattern is quite something, quite spectacular but it’s actually quite a simple veneer. Just four burls essentially, and I’m trying to work out what to do with it. I’m kinda tempted to make a mitred plinth. This is one of the rare occasions where you might want to use mitred to make a plinth. And it is because the pattern of the veneer is so interesting that you’d want a seamless join around something that you’re making with this effect. What could the plinth be used for? It could be left on the side of a couch and you could put your coffee on it, maybe it could hold a plant pot. I don’t know something decorative? I feel like it’s been French polished as well. It’s not the best condition. There’s a few chips in places. It’ll be enough to do all the sides and a top, and leave the bottom open, and to have a spare for god knows what? I’m going to go over all the parts and make sure there’s no bits of metal that might damage my table saw.

The reflection on this is bonkers.

Coz this is quite old, I’m going to make sure I wear a dust mask just coz I’m not sure what the paint is in particular. Or the varnish. And I’ll have my extractor on and the air scrubber.

My first cuts were directly in the middle of the boards, where the veneer has been joined together. I will then use this line to cut from – running it along the fence to produce parallel sides.

I think I’ve got a bit of a problem. I think my riving knife is a little bit thicker than my blade. About 0.1mm thicker.

It was enough to feel a pinch, so I decided to change over to a thinner riving knife.

Ok I’ve swapped over to a thinner riving knife, so this should help. I was finding it was pinching a bit and I had to push a little bit more than what I would normally do to get it through the blade. General rule I think when you’re doing anything in the workshop, if you’re using excessive force to do something, you’ll probably gonna make a mistake, something is going to go wrong, or something is wrong.

Ok I’m going to use my bevel box now to set the blade to 45 degrees.

Ok so to minimise making mistakes, I’m going to cut one side (edge) of all the through pieces that will make the sides of the plinth and then I’ll do the opposite mitre (edge).

I’m now cutting all the side pieces parallel with mitred edges. I’m also making them as wide as I possibly can, but later I will trim them down depending on how large I manage to make the top.

You can really see the saw dust kicking off this machine. I really should do something about that.

No, Noo, Nooo, Noooo, Nooooo.

Ok I’ve just gone and cut and realised it’s not square. While I had made the two mitres on either side parallel the bottom edge was not necessarily at a right angle to those new surfaces, so what I will do now. This is a mistake and I don’t think I’ll be able to save this. So I’m going to have to lift this blade back up to 90 degrees, and cut a straight line while keeping this on the sledge, and then square it up and do one end of all the side pieces.

What this will allow me to do, is to cut at 90 degrees through the boards that I just made parallel with my previous cuts. That new cross cut will be my reference to make the following side also parallel (but square).

I’m now setting up a simple extension clamp for my sledge which I can use to repeat larger cuts.

My table saw fence doesn’t extend far enough so I’m having to use some old school methods of clamping the fence down as far as I can. To try get it parallel with the blade, I measured the front and back of the fence against the mitre track in the cast iron table top. I know that’s pretty parallel to the blade.

I’ve lined up the fence to one of the tracks, and just going to go for it. If it fucks up I think I’ll get rid of this table saw. Here goes, it’s not ideal. You shouldn’t really cut something that’s a lot longer than it is thicker but it’s fairly deep so that’ll ride on the fence. Anything thinner I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this. I’m just going to do one, measure it and check it’s ok.

Surprisingly it seemed to cut pretty well so I carried on doing the rest.

I then cut the top down, and trimmed the four sides pieces a little to match the dimensions of the top.

This is material isn’t entirely flat. What you find is you have to widen the angle above 90 degrees so start to close the gap. That’s quite normal if it’s bowing a little bit but there’s a way of dealing with that. You’ve got to get all the pieces around, glue them up, and then actually push them in, tightening them up.  And there’s a  technique for that. What we’re going to do is use the off-cuts to help us during the gluing process. Just need to find some rope.

I’m going to use the nail gun with the 23 gauge pins. I’m going to use the 25mm ones. Just to pin it in a few places so I don’t have to worry about it falling apart. I had a nasty experience with a nail gun once, where air blasted out into my eyes. So now I wear goggles.

I’ve tied some rope and popped two lengths of the offcut for either face. The method is very simple. You push the lengths towards the corners and this tensions the rope and pushes the mitred corners towards one another. This helps apply the clamping force where you are gluing. You could do probably also do this with ratchet straps and thicker pieces of wood, but as the surface is already finished I don’t want to scuff it up.

So this is quite taut now. I think I should have put this a bit higher to be honest.

While waiting for it to dry I just gone and ripped the wall down there.

It looks pretty good but there’s still an ever so slight gap in a few places. But there’s another technique to hide this which doesn’t involve filling. Using a spoon or rounded bar just roll the edge so it pushes down and helps close the gap.

Unfortunately the finish is a little brittle, and I can here it cracking in places so I can’t use this method as much as I’d like. It’s helped close the gap a little bit but the veneer is just too fragile and I can here it cracking.

The best bit is you’ve got a little key hole there.

Ok the last thing I’m going to do is take a bit of sand paper. Wet and dry and just give it a quick sand, knock it back a bit, and wipe everything down with a damp cloth and then I’ll decided whether to throw a couple coats of varnish on there. Whatever this stuffs on there, it’s starting to crack. It should really be scrapped off but I’m worried I’ll end up damaging the veneer underneath, it’s so thin.

I’m going to leave that where it is now. I could have also glued some 2by2 within the plinth for additional strength. If I decided to varnish it I will upload some photos to my instragam account so do keep an eye on things there for updates. And thanks again for watching.

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