Drop Leaf Table #4: Back to the Table

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Blog entry by Tom posted 12-07-2019 02:09 PM 282 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: A few details before.... Part 4 of Drop Leaf Table series Part 5: A Few Things before Glue »

Finally getting back to my table project. Work, family, holidays, etc. I think one of my biggest challenges is stepping away from a project and then getting my head back into the process from where I left off.

So with the three rails completed with mortise and tenons, I can work on the drawer rails. On the original antique table, the top rail appears to be a bridle joint. I could not tell how the lower joint was constructed, but my guess is a mortise and tenon.

I decided to do mine slightly different with a lap dovetail on the top rail. The bottom rail will have one 3/8” mortise. The first thing is to cut the extra off of the top of the legs. I knifed all the way around and cut off the excess with a hand saw. Then I laid out for the lower rail. I reset my mortise gauge for a 3/8” mortise with the 3/32” set back and marked the leg mortise. This is relatively small and deep (1-1/8”) mortise, so I decided to bore it out with a 5/16” auger and trim it to the knife lines with the 1/4” chisel. A square side chisel works really well for this. I inserted one of my practice tenons to help prevent blowout where the mortises intersect.

Next I laid out the tenon by adjusting the mortise gauge again for the set back. The back side of the rail overhangs the back of the leg and forms a bridle for extra support. I used a regular marking gauge for the bridle. Then I just sawed and trimmed it out working to the gauge marks and knife lines.

Where the tenons intersect, I cut out the side rail to accommodate the drawer rail.

For the top rail, I laid out and cut the dovetail, and transferred to the top of the leg. Then I chopped out the socket and I trimmed to fit. One of my dovetails is a bit loose, so I will have to put a slip of wood in there to tighten it at assembly time. But I think it will be fine. I can also add a screw which is not uncommon.

It’s tempting to glue this up now that the joints are ready, but there is more to do on the frame…

-- Tom

2 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


11055 posts in 3058 days

#1 posted 12-08-2019 05:02 AM

Your making good progress Tom.

What’s your plan for attaching the top?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Tom's profile


104 posts in 498 days

#2 posted 12-08-2019 12:42 PM

Good question. I will attach the same as the original on the ends. That’s one of the things to do before glue up.

Thanks for reading. :)

-- Tom

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