While I'm waiting for my clients to come in and see the top layout, I begin work on the skirt.
I want continuous grain across the leaves and across the two table halves. With this in mind I select stock that is clear for the full length of the table and the length of all three leaves. I mark it out and cut to rough length on the radial arm saw.
Next I joint the best edge straight.
Then I cut to rough width on the bandsaw, a 1/4" wider than my finished piece. I always rough rip on the bandsaw before the tablesaw. Lumber often has internal stresses that are released when it's ripped, the thicker the stock the worse it is. These stresses cause the boards to bow while the cut is being made, often pinching the blade. The bandsaw is considerably safer for this operation.
Now I start milling the parts straight and square.
The longest pieces are the skirts that travel the length of the table. These will be cut in two, if they are badly bowed I'll make this cut now so I can get good thickness from them. These are actually my straightest parts, so I'll leave them whole for now. This will give me a tighter grain match when I mount them.
I joint one face, then plane the other flat and parallel. Then I joint and mark an edge. If the board has sapwood or a thin edge, I'll joint the opposite edge. If it doesn't, I'll joint the edge that faces down (chosen from the grain pattern), as it is easier to remove jointer marks than tablesaw marks.
Then they go to the tablesaw to get cut to finished width, removing as much sapwood as I can.
This skirt is a new design, so I mock up a short section and scrape away the shaper marks to show my client.
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