When I bought the $500 worth of quartersawn white oak a few months ago, I promised my girlfriend that I’d make a dining table for Thanksgiving. We had to run down to the Caribbean for a business trip over Turkey Day (don’t cry for me), so we fried a turkey the weekend before. Long story short, Christmas and New Years came and went and we’re still serving it up on the MDF mock up. Sigh… I found an unexpected week off between sailing lessons (I’ve got 20 days worth in January, so much for the off-season), so I got myself all jazzed to make progress on the dining room table.
^ I busted out all the QSWO I had and selected the best pieces for the top, then I arranged them according to medullary ray flake, color, grain, etc. with the help of my furry supervisor.
^ I was dreading the glue up until I remembered that I read on here somewhere that you don’t have to glue up all the boards at once (duh!). I did one seam at a time and was able to control things (with the help of the “persuader”). It took all night to do all of the glue ups, but the end result was the largest, and best table top I’ve ever done. I no longer use biscuits for these kinds of glue-ups because for some reason they have caused me more alignment problems than they solve.
I flipped the table over and sanded the joints until the entire top looks practically like one huge slab. I bought 5/4 and only planed the top surface to leave it as thick as possible yet still achieve uniform thickness.
Then there was the breadboard ends. I thought I was going to make fixed ends, but we made an executive decision to make it expandable, so I ran off to the woodworking store and got some hardware for just such an occasion. I was rather proud of the tongue I milled into the top of the table (I offset it to make the breadboard end top as thick as possible. We also decided on a completely flush top (ala Kevin Rodel), so the placemats would sit flat. Needless to say, I had to cut my tongue off and then use a straight edge to trim it flush with the router.
^ I made a template for the router to plow out the notches in the breadboard ends necessary to seat the slider bars deep enough for strength, but tucked back enough so you wouldn’t necessarily see it unless you were looking. I taped everything to reduce chipout and was relatively successful. I bought 8/4 for the breadboard ends specifically so I wouldn’t have to glue up a thicker board and stare at the seams. The proportions turned out amazing. The field of the table is beefy enough for the size (38” x 62” = Golden Ratio), and the ends give it enough mass to feel solid. I used all of my safety gear when cutting the 8/4 stock. It made me considerably more confident.
^ I then had to make the brackets for the sliding bars to slide through. I made the sliders thick enough to bear the weight of the leaves, so I had to make the brackets large enough to handle the sliders. I drilled a large diameter hole in the inside corner to reduce splitting (splitting is inversely proportional to the radius of the intersection) and milled the rest out. Doing anything eight times is tedious. I had to focus on safety as what’s left of my fingers were very close to the blade.
^ Here you see my sliding expanding table in all it’s raging glory. I think it might actually work. I glued the pads to the underside of the table to match the thickness of the breadboard ends, which make the hardware line up. I could’ve routed a notch into the breadboard ends deep enough so the bottom would be flush with the bottom of the field, but I didn’t want to undermine the solidity of the ends.
Tomorrow is more sanding, some small tweaking, and laying out the base onto the bottom of the top. Because of the way I jury-rigged everything to make the breadboard ends slide out, I need to lay out the 4”x4” legs, aprons, etc. to make sure nothing interferes with the sliding mechanism. To complicate matters further, I learned from my old apartment table that you need to make sure two chairs can fit easily between the legs, side by side. As a result, I’m going to lay out the leg spacing very carefully. Of course that is completely determinded by which base I'm going to make. I guess I’ll make that permanent decision tomorrow morning over coffee and my daily LJ’s fix. Sigh…
-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails