By Mitch Mandel

Harvest Table

Last fall, when we dccidcd to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house, I found the perfect excuse to build the dining room table I've always wanted.

Because our dining room is small, the table had to be something I could easily fold up between meals. And 1 wanted a piece that would lit with the general Early-American style my wife and I like. I finally decided to adapt a Shaker drop-leaf design to produce a table that would seat eight comfort ably, yet stand neatly against a wall when the leaves were down.

This table features leaves with a classic rule joint and a traditional deep end drawer that I modified to incorporate a small secret compartment. (See Fig. 1.) You could alter my design to make a table that scats only six; however, I'd advise against narrowing the ends, or you might have trouble fitting a cliair between the legs.

Harvest tables were often made of cherry, maple or even pine, but I made mine out of walnut primarily because that's what I had in the basement. Also, my stock was mostly 5/4, but I've adjusted the Bill of Materials so the table can be made from 4/4 lumber.

Making the Legs and Aprons

Begin construction by thicknessing the stock for the legs, drawer mils and aprons, and cutting them to length. Then you can start the leg joints.

As the drawing shows, the legs at either side of the drawer have twin mortises for the bottom drawer rails and dovetail mortises for the top. To make the dovetail mortises, use the router table and a 1 -in. dovetail bit raised -V* in. above the table. Set the fence to center the cut on the end of the leg, then rout the mortise, making sure you cut just in. down the face of the leg. If you cut too far the bottom of the mortise will show when the drawer is removed.

With the router set at the same height, rout the dovetailed tenon on the top drawer rail by running each rail end vertically over the bit. (See photo.) The rail could kick back if fed between the bit and the fence, so for safety you should bury the bit in an auxiliary fence and use a backup block to keep the piece vertical. Also, to reduce the chance of tear-out, you'll want to make

the cut in several shallow passes, moving the fence a little each time until you have a perfect fit. When you've finished the cuts, chisel the bottom corners of each dovetail tenon to fit the rounded bottom of the mortise.

For convenience, I made the mortises for the twin tenons *A in. deep as well. That way. the top and bottom rails would be the same length. You can cut these mortises on the drill press by using a fence clamped to the table to align the work and making lines of overlapping holes. Then clean up the sides and comers with chisels. Rather than bothering with complicated machine settings, 1 cut the matching twin tenons with a dovetail saw and chisel. You can use the drill press to rough out the six apron mortises, which are all 1 in. deep.

Now taper the two inside faces of each leg. I used the tablesaw and the variable taper jig described in aw »3, July/August 1988. (See photo, right.)

Next cut the tenons on the aprons by using a straight bit in the router and a fcncc damped to the work. (See photo, page 46.) I used a handsaw to trim the narrow shoulders on the edges of each apron tenon.

You'll want to attach the top to the aprons in a way that allows it to expand and contract with changes in humidity. I used a center brace and corner braces that screw to the top and glue in a Ivin.-wide by vfc-in.-decp groove along the inside edge of the aprons. (See Fig. I.) This groove should be routed lA in. from the top of each apron and should stop before reaching the tenons.

When extended, the table leaves are supported by pivoting turnouts that are let into the table aprons. (See Fig. 1.) I cut these turnouts in several steps. First crosscutting the notches in the aprons with a handsaw, then using a jig saw to rip the notches to length. Finally. I cleaned the surface with a flush-trimming bit in the router. To guide the bit's bearing, I clamped a straightedge along my scribe line. I cleaned up the angled corners with a chisel, filed the fingerpulls in the notches and screwed the turnouts to the apron as shown in the drawing.

Don't attempt to glue up something as big as this table all at once. First, glue up the two narrow ends of the table frame, making sure everything is square, and let them dry overnight. Then glue the long aprons to the ends, remembering to add the middle cross

To avoid kickback while routing the top drawer rail, the author huried the router hit in an auxiliary fence (above), and used a backup block to keep the rail steady. At right, hoth inside faces of the legs are tapered using a shop-made adjustable-angle jig.

support before clamping. To clamp the nearly 6-ft. span along the table's long sides, I used threaded connectors and extra pipe to extend my pipe clamps. (See photo, pane 4".)

After the clamps come off. you can add dowel pins to lock the tenons into the mortises. (See Fig. 1.) The corner braces further strengthen the frame and arc easy to make. (See Fig. 2.)

Making and Hinging the Top

The tabletop overhangs the frame about 3 in. on each end and at least xxAt in. on each side. Check this last dimension—carcfullv—it ensures that the leaves hang properly. You'll want to carefully choose the color and grain of the wood for the top. keeping in mind how the table will look with the leaves open. Also, for the leaves to hinge smoothly, the stock must be perfectly fiat and straight.

Assembling the top and leaves is straightforward. The only complex part is precisely fitting the rule joint (so called because it resembles the brass knuckle joint found on folding wooden rules). When the leaf is down, this joint conceals the hinges, and prevents an unsightly gap between the leaves and top. When the leaf is up. the rule joint helps support the leafs weight.

To make the joint, first use a '.»-in. round-over bit, fitted with a pilot bearing, and rout the edge of the tabletop. Leave an &in. shoulder. (Before removing the bit, rout a piece of scrap to the same profile to use as a sanding block

To avoid kickback while routing the top drawer rail, the author huried the router hit in an auxiliary fence (above), and used a backup block to keep the rail steady. At right, hoth inside faces of the legs are tapered using a shop-made adjustable-angle jig.

Photo Mitch Mandel

Vi-in. round-over

Note: All parts in. thick unless otherwise noted

Recess screw and washer in slotted hole so drawer will clear.


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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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