The table is glued together and dry now, but there is work do to turn it into a smooth, polished masterpiece. This is the home stretch, and I’ve got a couple more great tricks to share.
This table has exposed joinery, meaning you can see the dowels and wedges from the outside–all part of the handcrafted appeal. But at this point, those are all sticking out in a not-so-pretty way, waiting for us to trim them flush.
For that I’m using a basic two-edge pullsaw available at any home center for $20, along with one of my favorite tricks. You need one of these saws. It cuts amazingly fast and accurately through any type of wood, it’s cheap, and it’s a pullsaw, meaning it cuts on the pull stroke, which is shockingly easier than pushing a saw and having it bind every few seconds.
The trouble is that saws have “set,” that is to say the teeth stick out a little on each side. And those protruding teeth can dig into your precious project when you try to trim anything off close to the surface, leaving deep scars that are hard to remove.
The trick is using a basic fridge magnet to keep the saw just off the surface you want to protect. The magnet goes on the back side of the saw, and is just thick enough to keep the sides of the teeth from touching down. With the magnet there, you can cut very close to surface with no danger, leaving just a bit of dowel, plug, or whatever to trim flush with a sanding block or small hand plane (if you have a sharp one).
Here’s how it works, and here’s how to sand and finish our transforming table.