Haunched Mortise

Match the grain. Arrange the hoards for the best possible grain pattern across the joints. Then mark a "V" across the joints for correct orientation during glue-up. Save the offcuts for the aprons.

< Clue the top flat. Heavy cauls clamped at the ends keep the boards flat and aligned with eaCh other. Three bar clamps are sufficient to draw the joints closed.

* Bevel the edge. A tall fence and a featherboard keep the top stable as Klaus/ pushes it past the angled saw blade.

Smooth the bevel. Klausz uses a No. plane to smooth the sawn bevel. Use a razor-sharp blade and set the plane for a light cut.

Start with the Top

1 begin constructing the top by pulling several boards from my stack and laying rhem edge to edge to study the grain. When choosing my show face—in this ease, the top surface for the table—1 always try to display the "inside" of the board. This is the face thac was oriented toward the center of the tree. The inside face has a richer-looking texture and a deeper reflection. Align the boards with each other so the grain is harmonious.

Next, 1 cut the boards to rough length—about 1 in. longer than the top's finished length of 62 in. Then I joint one edge straight on each hoard, rip the opposite edge on the tablesaw, and joint that edge, too. Check that there are no gaps along the joints. Hold the boards together with hand pressure alone, and look for light between the joints. If you find gaps, re-joint and check again. To help align the boards during glue-up and to strengthen the joints, I cut a series of biscuit slots along the edges of the boards. (See Fig. 1.)

Choose a flat surface for gluing up the top. I use bar clamps to pull the joints together, and 1 also clamp heavy beams across the ends of the top to keep the panel flat and the boards aligned with each other. (Sec center photo, left.)

The procedure for clamping is as follows: First, apply light pressure across the joints with the bar clamps. Then clamp the beams to the ends and go back and fully tighten the bar clamps.

Once the glue has dried for a minimum of three hours, cut the top to finished size. I rip the top to width on the tablesaw using the rip fence, then I crosscut it on a vertical panel saw. You can cut the top to finished length by guiding a circular saw against a straightedge clamped to the top. Use a square when clamping the straightedge to ensure it's square to the sides of the top.

Now you're ready to saw the beveled edge on the top. I do this on the table-saw by standing the tabletop on edge and running it past the angled saw blade. (See bottom photo, far left.) Use a 40-tooth, alternate top bevel (ATB) rip blade to keep burning minimal. For a similar setup when raising panels, sec Paul Saporito's article on page 70. Alternatively, you can use a hand plane instead to shape the gentle slope.

Finish the bevel by hand-planing the surface smooth, planing evenly all the way around the top. (See bottom photo, near left.)

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