Monday, March 17

Final Assembly

Friday and Monday were spent doing the last of the parts making and final assembly on the tray tables. I was not able to post anything here on Friday because it was raining and when our telephone lines get wet our internet connection gets v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. Too slow to upload pictures because the connection times out before a single picture transfers. So I’ll get you caught up today.

This process started with the removal of the band clamps, a little cleaning up around the corners and a trip to the router table to round over the outer edges of the rails. Most of the parts needed are now stacked on a parts cart eagerly waiting to become Ira's tray tables.

I test fit the leg sets to the underside of the trays to be sure the leg sets are exactly the proper width and the mounting blocks fit snugly into the corners. All is good.

The final part to be made is the latch mechanism.

Before I start trimming the parts to finished size I check the table saw blade to be sure it is perfectly vertical. The base angles of the latch blocks will greatly affect the way the latch tabs fit into the holes in the upper spreaders. That done I mill out the latch blocks and shape them on the router. Then I mill out the latch tabs. For safety’s sake I do all the major shaping with the tabs in stick form, then cut them apart and do the final shaping by hand. The tabs then get glued into the notch in the top of the latch block and tested in the table assemblies.

Now that everything fits so well it is time to prepare for the final assembly. I start by using cut-offs from this project to make the screw hole plugs I will be needing. Making my own plugs from cut-offs allows a much better match with the tables color and graining.

Then I take the leg sets apart and re-assemble them with glue in the joints and install the plugs in the screw holes to hide them away. I trim and sand the plugs as I go, then permanently attach the leg sets and latch blocks to the trays.

Dolly doesn’t care for rain at all so she spent Friday being my shop buddy. Normally she will bed down in the office but today she wanted to be close by – once I quit running power tools that is!

By Monday afternoon the tables are done. All that remains is the stand and we’re ready to begin finish sanding.

See you tomorrow!


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