Tuesday, August 31

Tray Tables: Assembling Tables

Today I will make the final pieces needed to complete the tables and assemble all the parts into tray tables.

I start by trimming the screw hole plugs that were glued into the counter bored screw holes in the last step. This flush cut saw has no set to the teeth – the teeth do not bend out to either side -- like most saws, so it can be used to trim plugs flush with the wood and leave no marks. That is unless you do it wrong. The trick is to keep the saw blade laying flat on the wood, if you lift the back of the saw up a bit, the teeth will cut a groove into the wood that must hen be sanded out.

The next step is to make the leg mount blocks. So I mill strips of stock to size through jointing, surface planning and rip sawing. Then I use a jig on the band saw to cut the strips into the little blocks I need.

To shape these blocks I’ll use the router. But, working with these little pieces of wood brings my fingers dangerously close to the router bit, which will if given half a chance strip all the flesh from the ends of a finger or two. In this photo the router IS NOT turned on. I’m just demonstrating how dangerous it would be.

To do this more safely, I use a small hand screw clamp to hold the blocks while I route the edges. It takes a few seconds longer to mount the blocks in the clamp, but should anything go wrong my fingers are safely out of the way, and I have a fair chunk of wood to hang onto and to act as buffer should the router bit decide to get grabby and throw something.

When the leg mount blocks are done I sand them, pre-finish the insides of the joints, mount them to the top of the free pair of legs and then glue and clamp the blocks to the underside of the trays.

While the glue dries on the leg mount blocks, I make the latch blocks. These need to be carefully made because the parts of the latch need to snap together just so if they are to work.

As I glue and clamp the latch blocks in place I set the completed tables out of the way to let the glue set up good and hard before I do anything more. All that remains now is to fussy-fit the latch mechanism for perfect operation and do the final sanding by hand. Then they’ll be ready for finishing.

“Capn’, thar be tables here!”

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