All this past week I was able to get an hour or so each night to keep going with gluing up the 4 sub-sections of the top, getting them done by the weekend. Each section was 4 boards, and ended up being about 5 3/4” wide. I decided to do it this way for a few reasons. First, I wanted to be able to run each section over my 6” jointer, and then the planer. Second, by doing the glue up in stages, it made the final full glue up easier to manage.
Here’s one of the sections in the clamps…
And then the full top…
I left some room in the front section to accommodate the wagon vise, and, after jointing and planing, had to add a 3/4” piece on the back to get back to 24 3/8” width, to match the width of my base. I took care to try and align the grain direction to make flattening the top easier, but there were several pieces that had grain reversal that I couldn’t do anything about. I’d also tried to hide any knots inside the glue up, or on the bottom as best I could.
After the top was dry, it was time to take it out of the clamps and see how I did. Not bad, it was very flat within 1/16” – 3/32” showing a slight arch in the middle, consistent over the width. I’d also been able to keep my thickness on target: shooting for a final thickness of 4”, I started out rough milling each piece at 4 1/2”. After jointing each individual board, I was at just over 4 1/4”, and after jointing & planing each section, 4 1/8”. After the tight full glue up, I was at 4 1/16”, which was a great place to be at the flattening stage.
Here I’m using my #5 with a cambered blade to hog off the worst of the hump. I followed with my #6 & #7, then some #4 smoother plane and a touch of 220 sandpaper…
Flattening went well, and it was onto chopping the mortises for the legs. Some forstner bit and chisel work got the waste out, and only took a few tries to get the fit right. I used my skil saw and a clamped guide to even out the ends. I then proceeded to route out the groove for the sliding deadman, and the grooves around the wagon vise. I also did the drilling for the drawbore pins, with a 1/16 offset there.
With all that in place, I fit the top, and drove in the pegs. I was using store bought dowels for this, and I wish I’d used a doweling plate and made my own. 3 of 8 pegs broke during the insert, but only after going in 2/3. I was able to chase the broken dowels with another shorter one, and finish the insert. I don’t think it will affect the joint, as all 4 joints seemed to pull up nice and tight.
I was VERY excited to reach this stage, finally. I did some clean up, and got ready to add the vises, end cap, and other fixtures. That’s next time!
-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com