Attaching the Top to the Underframe
Attaching the top is easy, using screws from underneath through elongated holes in the corner blocks and one through the middle of the center cleat (no need to elongate that one, as it’s right in the middle of the top). But first there’s a bunch of finishing to do. Rob and I seem to have similar tastes in regard to finish, so when he recommended an application of linseed oil followed by shellac, I heartily agreed. These are without a doubt my two favorite finishes, especially where visual appearance supersedes issues such as durability (it’s fine furniture, not a bar top). I brushed and rubbed a coat of boiled linseed oil cut 20 to 25 percent with turpentine on everything. After a good 24 hours and a bit more rubbing to make sure there was no standing residue, I started brushing coats of wax-free shellac, (cut 40 percent with denatured alcohol), using a top quality Badgerbrand shellac brush. I scraped the flat surfaces between coats using a thin, flexible card-type scraper. It worked amazingly well. I find it hard to believe how few woodworkers use this very handy technique. For my money, it’s faster, easier and better than sanding. I put about five thin coats on the top and leaves, followed by a wax rub-out. The results have to be seen and felt to be believed. Install the turnout supports and mount the table top and leaves before moving onto the drawer.
Building Dovetailed Drawers
The table from 20 years ago did not have a dovetailed drawer — and that would be a fine option for you as well. But I love the look of a dovetailed drawer as it is pulled out, and I think it fits this design well.
Like other woodworking techniques, dovetails are better understood if you spend time to become competent through practice. Cut out the five pieces required to make your drawer and build it however makes the most sense to you — dovetails or otherwise. Fit it to the opening and apply your finish as described above, and you are done with the project. This table should serve you for years to come with grace and style.