When we left off our tale of the table I was trying to figure out how to make a jig to help produce the slot for the decorative ebony spline. It’s not really a difficult problem, but I complicated matters slightly by making the top a thickness that didn’t nicely match up with the available guide bushings. I adjusted my thinking for the jig by adding layers of veneer to make up the difference. The jig fits over the edge of the top, and registers against the breadboard end to cut the 5″ long slot.
Once I had the design sorted out it was simple enough to cut up some MDF to build the jig.
I’ll still need to think through how I’ll make the ebony splines, but I wanted to move forward on building the breadboard ends. Unfortunately when I started to lay out the tenons on the top I noticed that it was badly cupped. If I wasn’t doing the breadboard ends this probably wouldn’t matter as the top attachment buttons would likely pull it flat. But there was no way I could accurately make the tenons on the end of the top and have them fit the end caps.
After staring at this for a while I decided that part of the problem was at the joint between the two boards. Each half was slightly cupped, but a significant amount of the cupping seemed to be at the glue joint. So I decided to rip it apart, re-joint the edges and re-glue it…using cauls this time to keep the joint flat.
I make cauls out of some scrap 2×4 material, with one edge jointed dead flat. I covered the edge with clear packing tape so I don’t accidentally glue the 2×4 to the top. The edges are perfectly aligned and the top is flat at this point, we’ll see what it looks like once the cauls come off. I’m going to make the end caps this morning, then take the top out of the clamps and immediately cut the tenons for the ends in case it wants to move.
And finally, the table base is out of the clamps. The skirts are all tight, and the base is nice and square. Really, just the top to finish and this table will be a wrap.