Battens

It is very unlikely that the three sections of the top will remain absolutely flat. A slight curve is not a problem with the centre section, because it will be held flat by the screws which secure it to the caps on the main legs. However, if curving occurs in the flaps, this may be a problem. To avoid any distortion of the flaps they will need to be reinforced with battens, which are partially rebated into the underside of the top so that they are not too obtrusive (see Fig 7.20).

1 Cut the rebates for the battens with a router by running it along a straight edge clamped in the appropriate position. It takes a couple of passes to get the required depth of 3/sin (9mm). Square off the ends of the rebates with a bevel-edged chisel. Cut the battens to size and length.

151/iin (394mm)

Bracket

Bracket

2Hin (60mm) radius

2Hin (60mm) radius

FIG 7.19

Dimensions for flap battens and main leg bracket.

  • 1 in (25mm)
  • iVzin (38mm)

iHin Hin

FIG 7.20

Fixing battens to underside of flap.

2 The battens are positioned so that when a gate leg swings it will bump up against the middle one. The middle batten acts as a stop to prevent the gate opening too far, and to facilitate this you will need to cut a recess in the centre batten to house the top of the swinging leg. To find the position of this recess, assemble the centre battens into the flap without screwing them. Place the central table section upside down on a convenient flat surface and butt the two flaps up to it, also upside down. On the centre section, place the main leg assembly in the same position as it will occupy when the table top is screwed to the legs. The table parts should all now be in their assembled positions, but inverted. Move out the swinging leg until it butts up against the central batten in the flap and mark the position for the recess. Using a tenon saw and bevel-edged chisel, cut the recess that will accommodate the top of the leg in the central batten.

Using a tenon saw, cut out a recess on each of the four short battens to give clearance for the caps on the two main supports when the flaps are in the folded-down position.

3 Chamfer the parts of the batten that stand proud of the table using a smoothing plane. The angle of this chamfer is not critical, as its function is purely cosmetic. Drill and countersink oversize holes for the screws. (Making the holes oversize is an alternative to cutting slots to allow for wood movement: an oversize hole is large enough to allow the screw to move from side to side, but not so large that it will not support the screw head.) Screw the battens to the underside of the table top, but do not glue. If the top has already bowed slightly, clamp it to a flat surface such as the top of a bench before fixing the battens to it.

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