By Gene And Katie Hamilton
Useful as well as good-looking, our napkin holder is crafted from solid oak. Both master craftsman and apprentice will be challenged by this project. Working with hardwoods is slightly more demanding than working with pine, because all fasteners require pilot holes. Both you and your apprentice should complete another project before attempting this napkin holder.
The holder is made from scrap pieces of oak that you can purchase at your local lumberyard. If they don't have the 1/2-inch-thick stock called for to make the ends, substitute the 3/4-inch-thick stock used for the base. The screw holes are filled with oak plugs; if you can't find them, buy more of the 3/8-inch dowel stock used for the napkin weight, and cut your own plugs.
Begin construction by cutting the base (A) and ends (B) to size, following the Cutting List. Sand the sides of the ends smooth, and round the edges slightly. Sand the base, except for the ends where they will be glued.
Next, lay out the screw holes in the ends. Locate the centers of these 3/8-inch holes 3/8 inch from the bottom edge and 3/4 inch from each side. Use a combination square to draw a line across the ends 3/8 inch from the bottom, then make marks along this line 3/4 inch in from each side. Lay out all four end pieces in the same way.
Two holes are now drilled at each of these points. First, drill a 3/8-inch hole 1/8-inch deep through your layout marks in all the end pieces. Then drill a 3/16-inch hole in the center of each larger hole, completely through the wood. The smaller hole is for the screw, and the larger hole holds the wood plug that conceals the screw head.
Put the ends in position aligned with the bottom edge and outside corner of the base (A). Hold it in place while one partner marks the pilot-hole location on the end of the base by making pencil marks through the holes in the ends (B). To ensure accuracy, make small starting holes for your drill by putting the point of a nail set over your pencil marks and giving it a blow with a hammer. Then drill 1/8-inch- deep pilot holes through these points.
Spread glue on the ends that will be attached to the base, and put a small amount of soap on the screws to help ease them into the hard oak. Place the ends in position; insert and tighten the number 6, 1-inch flat-headed wood screws. When the ends are in place, put a small amount of glue on the 3/8-inch oak plugs, and insert them in all the screw holes. After the glue has dried, cut the plugs off close to the surface.
Drill a 3/8-inch hole 3/4 inch from each end of the napkin bar © in the 3/4-inch side. Insert a 2-inch section of doweling into each hole.
Give your napkin holder a thorough sanding with 120-grit sandpaper. Use sand- paper wrapped around a block of wood to sand plug stubs flush with the end. We gave our napkin holder a coat of golden oak stain to highlight the grain. After the stain dried, we applied several coats of paste wax to protect the finish.
Eight hours for cutting, building, and assembling, plus drying time for glue and finish.
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