This has been an off and on project for me for several months. I have put it on the back burner to take a few commisions and finally got around to working on the top. To make things easier on me from a time stand point I bought a premade butcher block top and added the aprons saving me the time of milling all that lumber. The first thing that I tackle is routing the tongue on each end that will support each end cap. I route a 3/4” groove on each end cap.
Next I layout the dovetails on each apron and cut the tails first on my band saw and then the pins. I try any means necessary to remove the waste. Ultimately I end up removing most of the waste with a router and then following up with the good old chisel and malet. I decide that the front apron will have 3 tails while the end aprons will have one large tail on the back.
Once all the dovetails are cut I dry fit the aprons and when I am satisfied with the fit I then start work on the two vises. I ordered two large front vises from Lee Valley. The directions were very straight forward.
Once the carriage for the vise is mounted I am able to drill the holes in the right leg to alllow the vises’ screw and guide rods to pass through the leg.
At the same time I layout and cut the notches on each of the legs to receive the front apron. This is done with my dozuki hand saw. This allows the apron to sit flush with the plane of the leg.
I drill double rows of 3/4” round dog holes in the top.
Starting with the back apron I secure it to the top using lag screws. Next the side aprons are attached in the same manor. For the side apron I allow for movement. Finally I attach the front apron. To simplify this process I use 3 clamps to “walk” the apron in to final position. I secure it with 3 lag screws. Each apron is 1/16 high so that I will be able plane it down to the hgt of the top. I do this with my #5 and #4 planes.
Once the top is perfectly flat and level I flip the top over with the help of my friend. I locate and install the two cleats that are seated in the top of each leg and prevent the top from moving on me. We set the top and then I sand the top and put the first of 3 coats of whip on poly on. Here are a few shots.
Next Step is to work on the drawers.
-- Brian, Folsom, CA http://www.brianfullerdesigns.com