Joining, Leveling, and Completing the Top

Our lumber is delivered rough (not straight, flat, or smooth).  Before we can joint or rip, we need a straight edge.   We have built a machine for producing a straight edge on a board.  In the photos below, you can see a bench along one wall—note the fence running back to and passed the radial arm saw in the background, and the shaper head mounted in the bench.  The fence is offset for an eighth inch cut at the shaper head.  One or more passes, with finesse, will give a straight edge.

Machinery to produce a straight edge

In general, we use our “straight-line machine” to give us a reference edge to work from, not any sort of finished surface.  But Austin thought that, with care and a sharp cutter, we could joint these great mahogany boards for gluing.  To my surprise, we did.

Jointing large mahogany plankGluing up the top.

Gluing up the top

We let the top dry for a couple of days.   We used the trestle base to support the glue-up, because it was long and strong and true.

Tabletop glued and clamped up

After the water is out of the glue and joint, Austin levels any offset at the joint and the surface in general with the jointer plane.

Austin planing tabletop

By the end of the week, the top will be smoothed with the finishing plane, have its edge shaped and sanded, and receive a coat of finish.

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