I’ve actually been able to get a fair amount of time in the shop lately (thanks Dear). I got the top all glued up.
I started with groups of three or four boards. My intention was to joint each group, and then glue two up to make a section about 12” and do a final pass through the planner. While I was laying out the clamps, I had a rather obvious idea that turned out to work really well.
I used some scraps I had that had been jointed so they were flat and clamped a set on each end and in the middle of the glue up. I did this before applying the clamps for the glue up. This kept the boards very well aligned while I tightened the rest of the clamps. The end result was so flat I decided to skip the planing/jointing. I’d just be careful of this method if you like to apply a lot of glue; I had them stick a little, but knocked them of and used a chisel plane to clean off the glue for the next run.
I took it slow, gluing one segment at a time. Schwartz warned that the LVL seems a bit resistant to absorbing the glue and recommends leaving it in the clamps for at least 5 hours. I can only imagine how he discovered that. I took his advice and left each glue up clamped for at least 6 hours. I was also limited by space for gluing up and the number of clamps I have, so I got 2, maybe three sections glued each day. It took some time, but ended up a pretty darn flat top. The bottom is flat enough I probably won’t do anything to it (maybe a little hand planing just where the stretchers will sit) and the top should be good to go with some final hand plane work.
Squaring up the edges on the top was a bit of a chore. Just as Schwarz commented on in his book, using a circular saw and a cutting guide didn’t yield great results. The blade tended to deflect some so the cut wasn’t really square to the top and bottom faces. I ended up using a top guided flush trim router bit to true up the top, but it wouldn’t cut all 3 1/4” of the top at once. I did one pass from the top, then lowered the bit as much as I safely could an took a second pass. Then I flipped the top and did a third pass with a bottom guided flush trim bit where the guide was riding on the area I had already trimmed. The final result wasn’t too bad. I’ll need to do some hand plane clean up to get the end vise chop and edge banding to be really flush, but over all not too bad.
As I mentioned in part 1, I built the saw benches in the pictures for this project, and I can’t recommend them strongly enough. They are sized so the top is just below my knee, and have been terrific for working on the top. I still need to weight it, but it about 130#. Using the saw benches I can flip the top myself with no problems. Just slide the top forward so the back edge is between the legs, lift the top on its edge, slide it to the front of the benches, and lay it down. No sweat.
I was also able to mill and glue up all my 4/4 red oak stock for the legs, short and long stretchers. So I now have my components and can start in on the joinery for the base.