Manhandling a huge slab of oak must be a wonderful aid to digestion

Biscuit jointed top

Loose tongue

Rails with dovetail joints

Once the top was in one piece it was checked and trimmed to its final finished size. The cleats are fitted to the ends of the table with loose tongues -a router with a bearing-guided cutter was used to cut stopped grooves in the cleats and table ends for these.

Trestle ends

The shaped trestle ends are made up in width by jointing boards symmetrically as with the table's top.

These are then jointed to the top bearers and feet with mortices and tenons - the tenons are triple to counteract shrinkage. The shaping of the trestles is the only area which requires any design input and this is just a question of drawing and redrawing the curves full size until they look right.

Before gluing up the trestles various joints must be cut into the top bearers for the rails and securing the top. The two rails are jointed to the top bearers with single lapped dovetails.

BELOW LEFTi Stretcher must be pulled up tight...

BELOW RIGHT:... by wedged key - make sure the key projects evenly each side of the tenon

BELOW RIGHT:... by wedged key - make sure the key projects evenly each side of the tenon

above: Pocket screw, centre, and buttons fix the top to the base, allowing movement while keeping the top centred

"Finally use one of those razor-sharp chisels to trim back to the scribed lines"

above: Pocket screw, centre, and buttons fix the top to the base, allowing movement while keeping the top centred

Mark out and cut the dovetails at the ends of the rails and, using these as templates, scribe the dovetails onto the bearers - being sure to mark which one goes where - and extend the lines down the vertical face with a square, the thickness of the rail is transferred using a cutting gauge.

JOHN LLOYD turned to restoration from project management when he found himself spending more time in front of a computer than on the building site. He trained with Bruce

Luckhurst and gained a City & Guilds silver medal in Furniture Advanced Crafts. After sharing workshops at Bow and Battersea he struck out on his own, moving to Bolney, West Sussex three years ago where he restores and copies mainly traditional furniture for a largely private client base. He has also restored for Sotheby's, Christies and the National Trust.

The bulk of the waste from the socket may be removed with a router, but it is a good idea to make an angled saw cut just inside the scribed lines at each end of the socket before switching the router on.

Finally use one of those razor-sharp chisels to trim back to the scribed lines, and a skew chisel to clean up the internal corners.

The fixing of the top is achieved using a pocket-screw at the centre and shrinkage buttons at either end of the bearers. This arrangement will allow movement of the top whilst keeping the top centrally on the bearers. These pockets and the grooves for the buttons are also cut before gluing up.

Finishing off

The final element of the table is the stretcher rail, which has a through keyed tenon at either end. Because of the length of the stretcher and the rather confined space in my machine shop, I cut the shoulders of the tenons by hand with the tenons themselves being cut on the bandsaw.

Sockets must be cut in the tenons for their wedged keys - these should extend a little way behind the face of the trestles to allow the wedges to pull the joints up nice and tight.

Lastly, make two wedges. This sounds very simple but as with most aspects of making, it is a good idea to do a full size drawing before attacking an innocent piece of wood. In this case, draw a plan view of the end of the stretcher showing the socket for the wedge, then draw in a wedged key that will fit through the sockets with an even amount protruding at each end. Once satisfied make a template and attack some wood.

Having sanded the whole table, raised the grain and sanded again, it was finished using several coats of shellac sanding sealer which was cut back with 0000 wire wool before being waxed with a hard, home-made wax.

Colouring is, of course, completely unnecessary because of the wonderful natural colour of the timber - which is the reason brown oak was selected in the first place. ■

ABOVE: Low tech moulding device - an offcut and a woodscrew below: Cutting a bead with the screw's slot

LEFT: A de-luxe scratchstock with adjustable fence and curved face

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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