Making the Underframe Joinery
The framework on the drawer end of the table requires two different joints. The bottom stretcher attaches to the legs using a simple stubby fork-tenon arrangement, executed in roughly the same manner as all the other mortise and tenons. The upper member is dovetailed into place. I cut the stretcher first and then chopped out the dovetail mortises to match.
Moving on to the aprons, I first plowed the grooves all around the inside of the aprons and then cut the openings that carry the leaf-bearing turnouts. These turnouts pivot from under the top to support the leaves when they’re extended.
To form the turnout notches, I decided to do something I call “woodworking without a safety net.” After making the 30 degree vertical cuts with my handsaw, I reached for my 7-1⁄4″ circular saw (the one I use on remodeling jobs), attached a fence to it and made horizontal plunge cuts, being real careful not to cut past the vertical lines. There are several ways you could machine these notches, but I was pleased with how well the circ saw worked.
The corner blocks and center cleat were fashioned on the table saw, using an extension fence I quickly made by screwing some scrap plywood to the existing wood face of the miter gauge, then clamping a stop block for uniform sizing.
Once I got all of the various components machined up, I went to work at the bench with my planes, cleaning up all the surfaces prior to assembly. I found that the figured maple hand-planed surprisingly well. I set the plane for an ultra-fine shaving and used a freshly sharpened iron. During planing, I skewed my cuts a fair amount to further slice the curly wood and avoid tearout as much as possible.
Assembly was straightforward: I clamped up the long sides, went to dinner, came back, removed the clamps and then finished the carcass assembly before going to make the drawer runners from black ash, leftover local sawmill wood that Rob had lying around from a previous job. Nice stuff … too bad it’s now buried behind the drawer under all this fancy maple “bling.”