Thursday, September 6

Thursday – Assembly

This was a long and busy day, but not entirely because of the tray tables I’m building.

I started off at 8:15 this morning – as usual – and I started by surface planing down the ribbon panel I made yesterday. Then, because it’s made of wormy oak it will need some extra preparation. We really like the look of wormy oak, so we don’t want to hide that but because this will be an eating surface we don’t want any pits where spilled food or drink may hide and fester. So, to fill the tiny worm holes as well as the open pores of the oak grain, I thin some wood filler to the consistency of heavy cream and apply it with a stiff bristled brush. I work it in well, paying particular attention to the areas where worm holes are most prevalent. Once it’s coated, I set it aside to dry for at least an hour; the filler must be good and hard before I proceed or I’ll just pull the filler up out of the pores and the pits.

So, while that’s drying I test fit the rails of the parquet table. The panel for that table came to my attention as we cleaned out the lumber shed this past weekend. We found this one last parquet panel all wrapped up and tucked away, it’s even pre-finished. Once I’m satisfied that the rails will fit perfectly I take it apart again and apply glue to the inside of the groove in each rail piece and re-install it on the panel, then clamp the rails together snugly.

While the glue on that is drying, I glue up the leg assemblies and attach the mounting blocks. I have to be sure that the legs stay flat on the table while I press the dowel into the holes in each leg, otherwise one leg will be kicked up when it’s folded, and the table will not sit steady when the legs are down. On a bed you’d probably never notice, but on the kitchen counter while it’s being loaded up it would wobble. I don’t like things to wobble.

Before attaching the mounting blocks I take the parts into the finishing room and pre-finish the areas that will be inside the leg-to-block joint. This will make it easier to get an even finish later on without having to take it back apart.

Now the ribbon panel is dry and I sand it first with 100 grit paper then with 150. Normally I only use 100 grit during construction, but because it is much easier to sand the panel properly before I assemble it to the rails than after, I do it now.

Then I glue the panel to the backer board – but not over the whole surface, just a stripe down the middle so the solid wood panel can expand and contract with changing humidity, trim the completed panel to exact size and install the rails.

Once the glue in the rail and panel joints is set up I use the router table to round over all the edges so the table will have a shape that your hands just want to feel and install the leg sets to the bottom of the tables. The clamps here need to stay on overnight to insure maximum strength in these joints. There is no place to hide screws here, so it’s entirely up to the glue joints.

Marie and I have the very first pair of breakfast tray tables we made, use them often and even though they’re over 10 years old, they have given us no trouble whatsoever. They’re still just as beautiful and sturdy as they were when new. So it works.

Along the way today I popped the top on our stack of walnut lumber and carted in a goodly amount for use in Ros’ bag handle order (50 pair) and some extra to use when I get back to Marie’s entertainment center. I did the base cabinet a few months ago, then the project got put on hold while cash reserves were replenished, now it’s almost time to get back to that one.

Also, I took advantage of having a couple of youthful and physically fit relatives visiting the area and coerced them into helping me move the big band saw. It was the one, last tool still left out in the old workshop that is now a lumber shed. I’ll be using it a lot on these bag handles, so I really need it inside the workshop. So… the four of us, our pick-up truck, a couple of lifting straps and a pair of wheeled platforms succeeded in getting this 400 pound beast moved from the lumber shed to our loading dock then inside and bolted to the floor of the workshop. Whew! What a relief.

And, Dan received his Pirate Chest today and was kind enough to take the trouble to write and let me know what he thought of it. [Click Here] to read his comments. It was a fun thing to build, so I decided to add it our our list if available items. You can check that out by [Clicking Here]

OK. It’s getting late. Everything is done, and I’m heading for home and a shower.

See you tomorrow.


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