Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Table Making- Top Sizing

I pulled the top out of the clamps this morning and got to work flattening and sizing it. I scraped the glue off the bottom and ran it through the thickness sander, first at 80 then 120 grit.

I sand until the rough faces are gone. By not completely facing the lumber before, and by being painstaking with flatness during glueup, I'm able to harvest a thick top from the 6/4 lumber.

My goal is to have a top no more than 1/4" less in thickness than my rough stock. If I don't make it, I start over.

The widebelt is a great machine, but it does leave snipe. I use the stroke sander with a 120 belt to take care of that. The snipe is obvious after the first strokes of the platen.

From there I joint an edge. The halves get jointed on the middle edge, the leaves on the best edge.

The tablesaw rips to width, 11 3/8" for leaves, 30" for the table halves. The leaves worst edge gets removed.

The leaves best end are trimmed on the sled.

I use a square to clamp on a tool guide to reference the halves against the fence. They're too wide for my crosscut sled. I trim the best end square.

My tablesaw insert has been going strong for a long time, but now the kerf is far too wide and slim offcuts are falling into it. I flip it over, raise my blade through it, and continue on trimming my parts to final length. I set my fence to finished length, 45", and cut all my parts, including the leaves. I don't recommend this technique, the risk of kickback is very high.

I now layout the dimensioned top, label my favourite orientation, and mark for pins and holes.

A pin and hole jig can be made like this.

Remember to register against the bottom for all parts, and against the same end.

I use a dedicated table, registering off centering marks.

I prefer to keep my pins in the lower half of the edge. I think it looks better, and you'll get more refinishes in before you infringe on the holes. I goofed here, and had the leaf in the pin table upside down. The result is a row of holes in the wrong spot.

I used a Veritas Snug Plug cutter to make plugs from the offcut.

These were glued in place and trimmed with a flush cut saw.

I finished drilling the holes. Then I planed away the machine marks, broke the edges, and installed the pins.

I now take the halves and install the rails. I start by closing the rail completely and drawing a centre line.

My tables store two leaves between the rails. I measure 12 1/2" from the centre mark, and use a square to keep the rail perpendicular to the edge.

I'm careful to keep the rail centre line 1/8" inside the table edge. I want the table to close before the rails do.

I screw both rails to one half. Then I clamp the halves together and screw the rails to the second half.

I then flip the table over, clamp it closed, and layout my edge arcs.

That's where I leave it for the day. Tomorrow I'll shape and profile the edges.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.