Recreating the Parson’s Card Table

My 4 tooth-per-inch rip saw can move through 1″ pine at a rate of about 1″ per stroke. For the 3' rip cut I had to make, it took fewer than 40 rapid strokes to get my piece – about 30 seconds of work. I have found it much more efficient to stay a healthy 1/8″ off the line and cut very quickly rather than obsessing over accuracy. Slightly wandering lines can be leveled in only a couple passes of a heavily set fore plane. In my experience, this is much faster than ripping to precise tolerances. 

The adjoining short rail pieces were ripped as one long piece and, with the rear rail, were prepped in the same manner as the top. The rear rail was joined to the short side rails by means of a half-blind dovetail. There is little to say about making this joint except that I intentionally overcut the gauge line, a practice I see in a lot of period examples. The reason this is done is because you cannot continue the cut through to the face, which becomes problematic when it comes time to excavate the waste. Overcutting well beyond the inside gauge line on the pin board was often the way period artisans overcame this problem. This enables the saw to continue down almost all the way to the bottom of the pins while the last little bit can be chopped out with ease.”

– Joshua A. Klein, excerpt from “Rural Refinement: Recreating the Parson’s Card Table” available in The First Three Issues


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