Tuesday, March 15

Tray Tables - Rail Stock

Today I started by jointing the center edges of all the walnut half-panels - being mindful to keep them matched up and properly oriented.

Jointing the edge of the panels makes the edges that must join together straight, square and even.  Without this the center joint would be an ugly thing indeed!

Once the first two are done I take them in the next room, apply glue, and use clamps to hold the center joint snugly together while the glue dries.

When that one has had a chance for the glue to set up (a couple of hours) I remove it and glue up the next one.

Then I use a flush plane to remove the glue ridge at the joint and a random orbit sander to sand the area smooth.  I'll sand the rest of the panel after it's been trimmed to size, right now I just want it to lay flat and join effectively to the backer panel.  I will repeat this process through-out the day until all four walnut panels are completed.

While the glue sets up I joint one edge of the blank I prepared for the maple tray rails.  Then I rip one rail set blank off, joint the edge of the wide board again, rip off another rail set blank, until I have 5 strips for rail blanks.

I repeat the process on the walnut blanks.

Then I swap out the band (blade) on the band saw for a 1/2" resawing band and tune in the guides, install the resaw fence, and resaw all of the strips I just cut in half, again marking them to keep pairs together and properly oriented.  This is important.  In order to get the grain in the rails to flow around the table uninterrupted, cutting all the rails for a table from one piece of wood and cutting the rail parts sequentially is essential.

These are the sort of details that set a custom piece apart from mass produced.  Mass produced tables of this design - if any were to be made - would make rails up in bulk and glue them onto the table at random.  They would probably use the most bland, boring looking wood they could find for this to hide the fact that nothing matches up.

But my time for this evening is up and I must toddle on.  We'll pick this up again tomorrow.

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