I started the day by cutting the leaf skirts to length. I start by squaring the best end of the stock on the mitre saw. Then I cut to length using a stop block set to the same measurement as my leaf width. I do leave a gap in the skirts, as the seasons change I want the table to close before the skirts touch, but I think a gap bigger than 3/32" gives an unrefined look. The difference between the leaf width and the skirt length is made when I dress the ends of the skirts to remove the saw marks. When using a stop block on the mitre saw it's important to let the blade stop moving before it's raised to prevent damage to the stock.
I want continious grain across these skirts, as they come off the saw I label them.
I then mark for mounting screws. I draw a line the width of my squares blade across the ends of the table skirts and both ends of the leaf skirts.
I set my marking gauge to half the width of the bottom of the skirts.
I mark the tops of the skirts in the same way, being sure to reference my gauge against the back of the skirt.
I now counterbore the bottoms of the skirts with a 1/4" Lee Valley brad point bit. These are excellent bits, sharp and accurate. They will cut a clean exit hole with no blowout. They are the best woodworking bit I have ever used. I lift the bit repeatedly as I make the hole to clear chips, to prevent bit wander. The hole is drilled to 3/4" of the skirts top.
A 3/16" clearance hole is now drilled from the top. Careful layout ensures the two holes meet accurately.
The skirts should be as ready for finish as possible before assembly. I don't want to risk breaking the mitre joint during surface prep. I use a mitre gauge in the edge sander to remove the saw marks.
I use my handplane to clean off the tablesaw marks and layout lines from the skirt bottoms.
I do the same on the small flat at the top of the face.
The skirts profile makes it hard to clamp the mitre in place. I use yellow glue in the biscuit slot, and hold the joint closed with my hand. Cyanoacrylate is applied to the top of the mitre, and after fifteen seconds the bond is strong enough to hold while the glue dries.
I then leave the joint to set up while I make corner blocks.
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