Building a Table - Assembly Building a Table - Assembly

Assembling the Frame

There are many ways to assemble the frame. One of the best ways is to attach the legs to the rails by using dowels because of their strength. Dowels provide strength and easier alignment and can be made of wood, metal or plastic. Dowels can be pointed with spirals; or can have square ends with no spirals. Use pointed dowels with spirals to take out air pockets because they will set more glue and provide for maximum stability.

The frame will be put together by using dowels. The dowels are 3/8' diameter by 1 1/2" in length. The dowel holes are 2" apart (or the setting of the dowel jig) and begin 3/4" from the top. The centers of the dowel holes should be centered on the inside edges of the leg and rails.

  1. Drill dowel holes according to the plans, using a dowel jig or a horizontal boring machine. A dowel jig allows for accurate holes (directly in the center regardless of the thickness of the wood) in both the legs and rails. A piece of tape, or a depth gauge acts as a guideline for the depth of the hole (half the length of the dowel plus 1/4").
  2. Apply the glue to the dowels, holes, and flat surfaces. Tap the dowels in « their length with a mallet. Clamp the side rails and legs together.
  3. Glue and clamp side rails to the end rails. At this point check the frame for squareness by measuring on opposite corners. If the measurements are the same, then your table is square. Let the glue dry completely (approximately 24 hours).

Attaching the Top

  1. Make sure tabletop is properly dried. Rip tabletop to exact size.
  2. Crosscut tabletop to exact size.
  3. Use a belt sander until you have removed all traces of glue and have a smooth finish.
  4. To add the fancy edge, the videotape uses a router, but a shaper or multipurpose tool could also be used. Start with your end grain first to allow for a small tear out.
  5. Draw lines on the underside of the table to make sure it is centered.

There are two ways to attach the top. The first is to use screw pockets, which attaches the top to the rails. This requires using a brad-point bit with a smaller bit to drill a pilot hole. You need at least two screw pockets per side, for this table the total is eight. Drill your pilot holes into the tabletop, and secure the top with round head wood screws. Be careful not to go through the top.
The other method uses mirror holders which attach the top to the rails. Screwed into the underside of the top, these holders project into a saw kerf on the rail. This table requires ten holders, two for each end and three for each side. To use mirror holders to attach the top to the rails, locate and drill holes for the mounting screws and secure tabletop in place. Be careful not to drill through top. Use a drill press to set correct depth, or use a "stop collar" on your hand drill. Never glue the top to the frame as this does not allow for the expansion and contraction of the wood.


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