We started construction with the table's top. It consists of fourteen pieces of oak glued up in butcher block fashion to form a 35" x 35" square. We cut these pieces 2V* wide and about 36" long to begin with. (After the boards are glued up the ends are trimmed to 35" with a Skil saw.)
Once the pieces for the top are cut, we layed them out and arranged them for grain pattern. Since we were working with a large number of narrow boards, we chose to cut grooves in the edges and join the boards with splines.
As shown in Fig. 1, W wide by Vn deep grooves are stopped about 1" from each end. When cutting these grooves, we set up the table saw as shown in Fig. 2, marking the start and stop points on a piece of masking tape. The two end boards were cut first, with a groove on one edge only. Then grooves were cut on both edges of the other 12 boards.
It's important when cutting these grooves to always keep the same side of the board toward the fence. (We always placed the face, or top side of each board against the fence.) Also, it's best to make a trial cut in a piece of scrap just to make sure the groove is the correct width for the V* plywood splines.
The end of each groove curves up because of the shape of the saw blade. Rather than cut the ends of all the splines to match this curve, we simply cut the splines a total of 4" short, allowing 2" at each end where the curve is.
Now the boards for the top are ready to be glued up. With this many boards, it's just about impossible to glue up all of them at once. We glued these boards together progressively, applying glue to the edges
of two boards and clamping them together, then loosening the clamps, adding another board, etc. (For all of this gluing we used Eliner's Carpenter's Glue, the yellow kind.)
The splines should force the tops of the boards flush. Then it's just a matter of making sure the top doesn't cup. To prevent any cupping we placed some waxed paper over the ends of the boards and used Jorgensen hand screws to keep the surface flat, Fig. 3.
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