Design editor Jim Downing has outdone himself this time. His latest mission offering emphasizes the delicate detailing that has made the style so enduringly popular. At the same time, he’s kept you, the reader, in mind by simplifying those tedious mortise-and-tenon joints that nobody’s very fond of. The result: an elegant accessory that only looks like it took a month or two of shop time.
Let’s Start With the Tabletop.
1. From 3/4″-thick stock, rip and crosscut six pieces to 4 1/4″ wide by 24 1/2″ long. (We used red oak. See the Cutting Diagram for our stock layout.) Select and group the pieces for best color and grain pattern. Then, edge-glue and clamp them to make three tabletop sections. (To avoid warpage, see our tip opposite.) Allow the glue to dry overnight.
2. Sand both faces of each tabletop section smooth. (We used our belt sander.) Next, rip and crosscut each tabletop section to the dimensions listed in the Bill of Materials.
3. Mark the ends and outside edges of the two drop leaves. Next, fit your table-mounted router with a chamfering bit, and rout a 1/4″ chamfer along the top outside edges and ends where shown on the Exploded View drawing. (We used a backup board to prevent tear-out on the ends.) Now, rout the ends of the middle section. Finish-sand the top surface of each section, then set them aside.
Next, Fashion the Feet
1. To make the feet, cut four pieces of 3/4″-thick stock to 2 1/4 x 12. Prepare them as shown in Step One of the Three-Step Foot Preparation drawing above. Keep the top portions that you cut off handy.
2. Fit your tablesaw with a 3/4″ dado set, and elevate it to cut 1/2″ deep. Now, cut the 2 1/2″-long dadoes in the four bottom (1 3/16″-wide) foot pieces where shown in Step Two of the Foot Preparation drawing. (We clamped stopblocks to our miter-gauge extension as shown below.)
3. Edge-glue two pairs of top and bottom foot pieces together (to make four foot assemblies), align the ends, and clamp. Wipe off any glue squeeze-out with a damp cloth. Next, select and mark the inside face of each assembly. Lay out the locations for two dadoes on these inside faces where shown and dimensioned on Step Three of the Foot Preparation drawing.
4. Now, dado the inside faces of all four foot assemblies, again using your miter-gauge extension and start- and stopblocks. To do this, elevate your 3/4″ dado set to 3/8″.
5. Align the edges of two foot assemblies to make a left foot, then glue and clamp them face-to-face. Assemble the right foot the same way. Then, wipe away any glue squeeze-out.
6. When the glue has dried, plane 1/16″ from the bottom of each foot. (We used our jointer.) Then, rip the top edge of each foot to a finished width of 2″. Next, lay out the angled notches on the ends of each foot where shown on the Foot drawing above. Bandsaw the notches to shape, then sand the cuts smooth.
7. Lay out and drill three 1/4″ holes 9/16″ deep in the top edge of both feet where shown on the Foot drawing. Next, fit your table-mounted router with a piloted chamfering bit, and set it to cut 3/16″ deep. Chamfer the foot edges where shown, then finish-sand both feet.
Next, Make the End Rails.
1. For the end rails, cut a piece of 1 1/16″-thick stock to 3 3/4 x 9″. Next, rip the piece into two equal widths, and stack the pieces using doublefaced carpet tape. Then, fit your tablesaw with a 1/2 dado set elevated to 1″. Lay out and cuttwo dadoes in the edge of both pieces where shown in Step One of the End Rail Preparation drawing above.
2. Apply glue to the mating edges of both pieces where shown in Step Two of the End Rail Preparation drawing. Align the ends, and clamp. After the glue has dried, crosscut the piece in two. Then, measuring from the mortise, trim both end rails where shown and dimensioned in Step Three.
3. Lay out and drill dowel holes in three edges of the end rails where shown in Step Three of the End Rail Preparation drawing. (We used a dowel jig.)
Prepare the Stiles and Spindles.
1. From 1 1/16″ stock, cut four stiles to the dimensions listed in the Bill of Materials. Lay out and drill two 3/8″ dowel holes 13/16″ deep where shown on the Exploded View drawing. Now, finish-sand the stiles.
2. Lay out and cut a tenon on the end of each stile where shown and dimensioned on the Stile Tenon detail on the Exploded View drawing. To do this, first double-check your layout to ensure you’ll end up with 3/4 x 1 1/4 x2″ tenons. Test-fit each tenon to make sure it fits in the foot mortise. (We started by making the shoulder cuts 2″ from the end using a standard carbide blade set to cut 5/32″ deep. Then, we used a 3/4″ dado set to form the tenon cheeks.)
3. From 3/4″-thick stock, rip, resaw, and crosscut six spindles to 1/2″ square by 17 3/4″ long. Next, make the hole-drilling jig shown at right. Place it over both ends of each spindle as shown above, and drill a 1/4″ hole 9/16″ deep into each spindle through the jig.
4. Finish-sand the spindles. Next, trim twelve 1/4 х 1 1/2″ dowel pins to 1″ long, and glue them into both ends of each spindle.
5. Glue and clamp the stiles and end rails, then check for square. After the glue has dried, sand the joints flush. Next, fit your router with a chamfering bit, and rout a 1/8″ chamfer along all edges of both assemblies except for the mating surfaces. (For reference, see the Exploded View drawing.)
6. Glue the spindle dowels into the end-rail holes. Then, square the spindles with the stiles and rails. Now, glue and clamp a foot to each assembly. (We placed a 1/4″-thick shim under each end rail to level the assembly during glue-up.) Wipe off any glue squeeze-out, and allow the glue to dry.
Add the Final Touches To the Table Stand.
1. From 3/4″-thick stock, rip and crosscut the cross rail and stretcher to size. Next, lay out and cut tenons on the ends of the cross rail. (For dimensions, see the Cross Rail Tenon detail on the Exploded View drawing.) Then, lay out and cut tenons on the stretcher where shown and dimensioned on the Stretcher Tenon detail. (We followed the same procedure used to form the stile tenons.)
2. Using your table-mounted router and chamfering bit, rout a 1/8″ chamfer along all edges of the cross rail and stretcher where shown on the two details mentioned in the previous step. Next, chamfer the tenon ends on both parts as shown above right. To do this, tilt your tablesaw blade to 45°. Attach an extension to your miter gauge, and clamp a stopblock to it. Adjust the stopblock setting as necessary to chamfer the two pieces, and test each setting using scrap before chamfering. After chamfering, finish-sand both parts.
3. To assemble the table stand, glue and clamp the cross rail and stretcher between the two stile/rail assemblies. Then, check the stand for square, and make sure that it doesn’t rock. Adjust the clamps if necessary to correct this.
4. To make the leaf supports, cut two pieces of 3/4″-thick stock to 3×8″. Stack these pieces face. to-face using double-faced tape. Next, make a copy of the full-sized Leaf Support pattern shown at left, and adhere it to the top face. Bandsaw the leaf supports to shape, keeping your blade outside the line. Then, sand to the line, and separate the pieces. Using your table-mounted router, rout a 1/8″ chamfer along the bottom edges and small ends of both pieces. Now, finish-sand the two supports.
5. From 3/4″-thick stock, cut four cleats to size. Drill two countersunk 5/32″ shank holes through both the face and the edge of each. Position the cleats where shown on the Exploded View drawing, and drill 7/64″ pilot holes through the shank holes you drilled in the edges. Apply glue to the opposite edge of each cleat, and screw two cleats to the inside face of each end rail.
Assemble and Finish Your Table.
1. Lay the three tabletop sections facedown, and align the edges. Place the table stand on the center piece, centering it side-to-side and end-to-end. Mark faint pencil lines at both ends and at opposite corners, and then remove it. Align the inside edges of your tabletop hinges with these lines. (Our hinges measure 19 1/2″ apart.) Temporarily attach the four hinges to the underside of the tabletop. (We used 1 1/2 x 2″ brass desk hinges, Stanley no. 80-3320.)
2. Next, position the table stand on the table-top again. Then, drive #8 x 1 1/4″ flathead wood screws through the predrilled cleat holes and into the tabletop.
3. Temporarily attach 2 1/2″ brass-finish steel utility hinges to the side of each leaf support. (We used Stanley no. 80-2030.) Next, center the supports on the cross rail where shown on the Exploded View drawing, and screw them to the cross rail. Now, remove all hinges.
4. Finish-sand any parts of the table that still need it, then remove all sanding dust. Now, apply the finish of your choice. (We first applied WoodKote Danish walnut gel stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Next, we sprayed on three coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Satin polyurethane, sanding between coats with 320-grit sandpaper.) After the last coat of finish has dried overnight, reattach the leaf supports and tabletop leaves.