The Table Top

Making a table top looks pretty easy but there are a couple of things to consider. First and foremost match the grain as this will be what you look at everyday. Second you want a tight joint.

To get a nice grain match I like to use wood from the same tree for the entire top. Here I have a length of wood 3000x400mm. My top is going to be 950×750 so I should have no problem getting a nice top out of this. Also as a side note this piece of wood here is quite twisted and warped so I will have to choose carefully from where I take it to minimize work to flatten it.

So I cut my boards to length and then I had to rip them down the middle as they were too cupped to work. After cutting them I jointed and planed the to dimension. Here I have matched the grain to what I think is the most aesthetically pleasing.

Next I stand them up and stack them to see the joint. The boards in this position have to make a flat plane to glue up flat. Also the joint has to have no gaps. Often I have trouble getting a perfect 90 degree cut on the board so I use what I call a open-book method. That is lay the boards down in the grain matched position and then fold them together as you would close a book. Cut them in that position. If your blade is slightly off then one side of your cut will be 89.990 for example and the matching side will be 90.01 making a perfect 180 degree. After making the cut I will use a plane to clean up the table saw marks.

When I am happy with the joint I glue it up in section. This top will have four boards so I glue two sections up and then the final.

The big top. I used cauls to keep it flat on the ends. This is just a regular but joint on side grain but it is strong.

After I take the clamps off I clean up the glue and scrape and plane it. This wood had a problem of tear-out so I did minimal planing and some sanding.

 

Alex

About Alex

Love making sawdust and turning wood into objects of practical beauty.
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