Creating an Attractive Tabletop, Part 2
Edge-jointing and glue-up
Synopsis: This second article in a three-part series on creating an attractive tabletop focuses on how to make joints that will stand the test of time, and how to keep the boards aligned during clamping. That alignment makes a world of difference when it comes to planing and sanding the tabletop after it is glued up.
Read part one here.
From Fine Woodworking #208
There are a lot of ways a tabletop can go wrong. In this second article of my three-part series on making a tabletop, I’ll address two more common pitfalls, showing you how to make joints that will stand the test of time, and how to keep the boards aligned during clamping. That alignment makes a world of difference when it comes to post-glue-up planing and sanding.
Put a spring in your joints: The first step is to run the adjoining edges of each board over the jointer to form the glue joint. Check that the jointer fence is at 90°, but alternate the faces of boards against the jointer fence to cancel any error in the jointer setup. If one edge measures 91°, the angle on the adjacent edge will measure 89° and the boards will lay up flat. Sometimes this means jointing against the grain and risking tearout, so make light cuts with a slow feed rate.
To ensure that the joint closes along the edges of the boards, take a bit more wood from the middle than from the ends, creating a slight gap in the middle of the joint. This is called “springing” the joint. As the clamp pressure closes the gap in the middle, the joint will only get tighter toward the ends of the boards.
Spring-joint the edges: To spring the joint, set the jointer to take a light cut and use a slow…