Building the Table
There would be no problem with constructing and using a jig to aid in this construction process — but it is not as necessary as with the benches. Although the legs and rails that make up the table’s lower components are similar to those of the benches, they are made of 1″ stock. Because the table has three parts to align during subassembly, it can be constructed simply by clamping the parts together and tapping them into proper alignment with careful use of a hammer. Use a dummy rail positioned as if it were a bottom rail. This allows you to clamp together the subassembly and make the fine alignments and adjustments necessary. When all the parts are properly in place, pilot holes are bored and the screws are driven home. Screw the rail and leg subassemblies together to form opposing end frames. Then join these end frames together with the front and back rails.
As with any square tabletop, my preference is to arrange the grain on the diagonal. This I find a more visually cohesive feel to the geometry than the “left to right” grain direction. As well, with this approach, all four edges present a similar end-grain pattern.
The center board in this glued-up table top is particularly wide with a centered cathedral figure going out to a straight-grained pattern on its edges. The remaining pieces making up the top are riftsawn — all are butt jointed together and held with yellow glue. After being cut to size, the top and bottom surfaces were planed flat and the corners were notched out to fit around the legs with a 1/16″ gap. All the edges were radiused and the whole was finished with my beeswax and salad bowl oil combination. The top is made to project 3/8″ beyond the face of the top rails, making enough of a shadow line to be in keeping with the other radiused edges and the gap shadows.
Because the grain of the top is on the diagonal, it wouldn’t be prudent to attach it in the normal way, with buttons, because the shrinkage and expansion is at right angles to the grain. The gap between the leg and the top is sufficient to camouflage the small dimensional changes which may occur. Instead, the top is held to the underframe by screwing through the angled corner blocks. Oversized clearance holes accommodate wood movement. In this way, corner blocks are sort of a two-for-one solution because, cut and attached accurately, they help any corner joint resist stress in addition to securing the tabletop.