Building the Tabletop

Tedswoodworking Plans

Ted's Woodworking Plans

Get Instant Access

Hoc are the step-by-step directions for building a tabletop for any of the router tables in this book or for any that you create, follow these steps to a better tabletop than you can buy.

1. Cut the layers. Cut two pieces of plywood, parti-deboard, or MDF to size. I generally use birch plywood bccausc its faces are smoother than standard fir plywood. Sincc cither face of a piece could end up as the work sur-htc. both faces of each piece should be as smooth and defect-far as possible.

Assess the pieces for crowning and face quality. The crowned face of each piece—regardless of its quality— must be oriented to the inside when you glue them together; this is how you create a flat, balanced top. If both piccesarc flat, then orient the best feces out.

2. Glue up the substrate. Spread yellow glue on what you've selected as the mating faces. Get on a thin but thorough coating, avoiding dry spots. When both surfaces arc ready, lay one carefully atop the other. Slide the top piece around on the bottom piece just a little to

To spread glue on the tabletop layers, I dribble glue over the surface, then spread it around with a suitable ripping from the scrap bin. The makeshift trowel does a good job of thinly coating the entire surface. And when the job's done, the scrap goes back in the scrap bin. A roller or brush spreads glue well, but washing it out when the job is done is really onerous.

smear the glue and get the two pieces really stuck together. Since yellow glue sets up pretty fast,don't dillydally. Align the edges.

As you apply the clamps along one edge during glue-up, the others will tend to open up. Eventually, the clamps will close the gaps, and the bowing will spread the pressure across the entire surface. The glue bond will be that much better overall.

Let the glue cure overnight with the clamps in place.

Is your plywood slightly bowed? Don't worry. Orient the panels with the crowned faces in. As you apply the clamps along one edge during glue-up, the others will tend to open up. Eventually, the clamps will close the gaps, and the bowing will spread the pressure across the entire surface. The glue bond will be that much better overall, and the bowing of one sheet will counteract that of the other, leaving you with a flat tabletop core.

3. Prepare your edge-banding stock. It should be a hard, straight-grained hardwood like; maple, ash. oak, or birch. It should be wide enough to stand a bit proud of the plywood core on both sides, and about U inch thick. Make-it about 1% inches for the 1 '/¿-inch core.

4. Apply the edge-banding. Remove the clamps from the core. Trim it to make it square and to clean and true the edges.

Cut the edge-banding to fit, mitering it at the corners. Glue it in place. Be sure to align each piece of the banding so it stands proud of the core on both top and bottom.

5. Flush-trim the edge-banding. After the glue has dried and you've removed the clamps, you must trim the cdgc-banding flush with the top and bottom surfaces of the substrate.As with every task in woodworking, there are several ways to do this.

If you have a lightweight router and a means to securely clamp the tabletop on edge, you can use flush-

I use a corner-rounding template with a pattern hit. Clamp the template to one corner. (See the chapter" Boring Templates'on page 6 for a usable template.) Chuck the pattern bit in the router, and set the depth of cut so the shank-mounted bearing will ride against the template. Donl plow squarely into the waste.There's a lot of material right ] at the corner to remove, so nibble at it with back-and-fo passes of the router. When the bearing comes into cont with the template, the bit will stop cutting, and you cao| stop too.

Repeat this process at each corner. Then set aside the template.

You still have waste to remove, of course (unless yoa I have a pattern bit with I '/.--inch-long cutting edges). Rout this waste off, using the just-routed edges to guide the pa-] tern bit's bearing.

7. Apply the laminate and backer. Now you ore ready for the plastic laminate. Cut the two pieces requir to make a balanced, stable, warp-resistant top about a half] to a full inch larger than the edge banded core. Because <£ the irreversible nature of the bonding process, and becai you will trim the edges of the laminate after install anyway, it's best to cut the pieces extra long and wide.

You can saw laminate with carbide-tipped blades, cut it] with carbide router bits, or score and break it. For the latter process, use a special scoring tool, which you can buy for | three to five dollars. Laminate will chip out quite easily aq it's sawed, and the chips are hard and sharp. Wear tt safety goggles!

Contact cement is what bonds the laminate to thesufc] strate. It's a sophisticated rubber cement that you spread« the mating pieces and leave to dry. When you touch the! dried cement on the laminate to the dried cement on the substrate, they stick—immediately. Therefore, the laniir must be accurately aligned before it can be allowed touch the substrate.

Spread the cement on the two pieces. A scrap of la natc makes a good trowel-like spreader, but you can use i1

Was this article helpful?

0 -1
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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment