Tuesday, October 25

Today I made the spreaders, the part that holds the legs in position and prevents side-to-side wobble.
I started by selecting rough cut lumber for the parts blanks.   I can use pieces that were set aside from other projects as long as I can cut around any defects.  I do prefer to be able to get both the upper and lower spreader from the same board so the color matches.  I'll also make some extras as a hedge against mishaps.  If not needed they'll go on the parts rack to be used another time.

The lumber is jointed, and surface planed to smooth and flatten it then bring it to finished thickness.
The final step is to trim the parts to finished width and length.  Now I use my template (above) to lay out the curved edges and the latch block hole on the upper spreaders.
I rough-cut the curves using the bandsaw. I'll leave 3/32 or so of wood outside the line and I don't have to be especially finicky about cutting a smooth curve.  On this step I'm just removing the bulk of the waste wood.

I slip the parts blank back into the template/jig and use a piloted flush trim bit in the router table to finish the curves.  The bit rides along the curved edge of the template and trims the part to the exact same shape.
Next I bore the latch block slot - an oval made by boring overlapping holes using a Forstner bit; about the only tool that will drill overlapping holes.  Any minor nubbins that are left will be sanded out later.

The router table is next, where I round-over the long edges and the tab-slot.
Then I fit the drill press with a right angle fixture to hold the spreaders vertical so I can drill pilot holes that will mate up with the counter-bored screw holes I drilled in the legs previously.
The rest of the afternoon is spent sanding the parts smooth.  I use a pair of sanding blocks on the flat faces and a piece of folded sandpaper for the rounded over edges and slots.  It's tedious work, and I bounce a light off the surfaces regularly to be sure I've sanded out all the ripples left by the planer and jointer.  It's much easier to do this now than after the bases are assembled.

By the end of my woodworking time I have the four spreaders I'll need for this two table set all done and ready to be assembled to the leg pairs to make the table bases.  I'll get to that tomorrow.  Right now I need to get the tractor out, hook up the wagon and haul a load of firewood up to the house; we're expecting colder weather this weekend and I want to have wood laid in ahead of time.

See you tomorrow!

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