Mortise

END STRETCHER 13/16 x 27/a x 231/2

Tapping the tenons home. With one base side assembly flat on the bench, Burak installs the end aprons and stretcher assembly. The remaining side assembly will go on last.

joints hold everything together. The pattern for turning the legs is shown in Fig. 2, along with joinery layout details.

In my shop we use a mortising machine to mill the leg mortises, but you could also do this work by hand, or with a router and Vl6-in. straight bit. The mortisc-and-tcnon layout allows for a very slight reveal (about Vl6 in.) where the aprons and stretchers meet the legs. This eliminates the step of sanding joints flush after assembly.

After the aprons and stretchers have been cut to length and tenoned. I bead the edges of these parts. (See Fig. 2, Bead Detail.) The middle or medial stretcher is beaded along all four corners. The end stretchers are beaded only along the top and bottom corners that will face out in the finished piece. On the aprons, only the outside bottom corners receive beads.

As shown in rhc Pig. 2 Bead Detail, I like to use a bead copied from an 18th-century molding plane. This traditional bead is more elliptical than later examples, and it ends in a crisp fillet. I have a special-order shapcr knife cut to the bead profile, but you can easily creatc this corner detail using shop-made scratch stock or a combination plane fitted with beading knife. (For more on making your own scratch stock, see AW #37.)

Once the tenons are cut on the apron pieces, I bring them over to the the drill press and bore pocket holes for screwing the base to the top. The end aprons receive three holes apiece; the side aprons, four. For each #8 by 1 !/2-in. flat-head screw, I drill oversized pilot and shank holes, using an adjustable counterbore bit. We purchase these bits from Norfield Tool & Supply (800-824-6242). The small diameter of the bit is 3/l6 in.; the large diameter is Most of the antique tables I've seen in this part of the country have utilized this scrcw and pockct-holc arrangement for holding the top in place.

I begin the assembly proccss by joining the medial stretcher to the end stretchers. (See bottom photo, page 29.) The through tenons chat hold these parts cogecher should be glued and wedged in cheir mortises. I use a framing square to check for 90° joints; then I set the assembly aside.

Next, I glue and clamp together a pair of side assemblies. Each contains two legs that are joined together with a side apron. Again, it's important to check each assembly for square as you clamp it up.

To complete the base, 1 place a side assembly on the bench with its open mortises facing up. I install the stretcher assembly and the two end aprons, then the second side assembly. Then I clamp, square up, and set the base aside until the glue dries. (See photo, opposite page.)

The base isn't really finished until the morcise-and-tenon joints are pegged. Many Colonial woodworkers used square pegs instead of round ones, and so do I. Even when the base is painted, the square tops of the pegs remain visible—a nice authentic touch. The pegs need to be big enough to fill the round hole, but not so big as to split the wood. My peg stock is square in section, ]/4 in. by '/4 in. I drill the holes with a ,5/64-in.-dia. brad-point bit.

To stare and drive each peg easily, you'll first need to sharpen its end. In my shop, we keep a coffee can filled with

FIG. 2: BASE JOINERY DETAILS

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