Table update 2

Posted by jerry on September 30th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

Further progress on the table –

dining table

I had previously dry-assembled the frame components and then the following day disassembled it and finished each component, sanding progressively from 320 grit to 1500 grit on the legs and apron pieces. Then I finished each component with Rustins Plastic Coating – which is not as drastic as it sounds. In this case, plastic means pliable or flexible. And unlike most two-part acrylic finishes, this one is an alkyd lacquer – which has the best characteristics of oil and acrylic – it has the flexibility and deep lustre of oil, but the drying time of an acrylic. I was wary of it at first, but the trial pieces came up good with just one coat.

Rustins Plastic Coating

I gave the apron and legs one coat then sanded with 1500 grit, then finished with an Organoil wax/citrus oil polish and buffed it to a nice satin finish.

Organoil wax

I then assembled and glued up the frame, setting it upside down in the car port. i clamped it with a ratchet tie-down, cross measured to ensure it was square, and checked that the legs were vertical in both planes with a square. Satisfied with that I left it to dry overnight.

The next day I cut and finished a cross piece from jarrah and glued and doweled it in position at the half-way mark using Triton PVA glue.


The ash dowels make a nice contrast with the red jarrah.

Next job was cutting the corner braces and fitting them – I pocket screwed them to the side aprons then drilled and used self-drilling hex screws into the legs – I had chamfered the inside corner of the leg for this purpose. And that completed the frame, making a firm yet light frame well able to bear the weight of the ribbon-gum top.

table corner brace

I re-checked the boards for the top and thicknessed a couple of them to ensure an even thickness across all the boards.

Then it was time for a clean-up of the workshop – offcuts and tools stowed and the floors and surfaces vacuumed before setting up for the next phase – making the table top.

I removed the top from the trusty Triton Mark 3 saw bench and put on the router top after ensuring the router was well centred in the router base. Then I attached the biscuit jointer attachment and removed the end-stop as I will want to position biscuits along the length of the two-metre boards. The biscuits function like loose tenons and provide additional face-face gluing surface as well as aligning the boards along one plane, leaving a little room for edge-edge slippage to ensure a good glue spread. I recommend the Triton system – a good Australian invention that just keeps getting better. Although I was a little dismayed that at the Working with Wood Show the triton folks were offering a $100 trade in on any Mark 3 table top. It looks like they are no longer maintaining their philosophy of continuous backward compatibility with earlier models. Mine was made in around 1985 and I have until now always been able to add components using adapters so my basic saw bench remained as versatile as the latest model. But no matter – I think I’ve got all the attachments I need for the moment 🙂 thanks to several years of Wood Show specials!

Triton biscuit jointer attachment

I then did a test cut on some some off-cuts to ensure that the height was adjusted correctly.

biscuit joint

I like the safety mechanisms and dust extraction on the triton, as well as the fact that you cut both timbers at once to ensure perfect alignment every time, and finally, because the jointer is in the table, your hands are free to hold and stabilise the stock.

My task for tomorrow is to cut the biscuit slots for the top and assemble and glue up the top, then square off the ends, and prepare two boards for the breadboard ends. After that I shall attach the breadboard ends, fill the sap cavities with fibreglass resin and then will come the final finish – sanding flat, rounding the edges, and a couple of coats of Rustins Plastic Coating and a final wax. The top will be attached when the table is inside the house, using figure-eight table clips. So the end is in sight.

You will be able to get a complete narrative of the construction process by clicking on the Woodworking category of this blog.


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