I started working on this post oak farmhouse table about 6 years ago and made several unfortunate mistakes. Today is the day to fix those and finally get this project (my first ever furniture project) finished.
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Picking up this project, the two leg assemblies were done and there were some panels glued up for the table top.
For the panels that were already glued up the first step was jointing an edge so I can rip them at the table saw. Right now they’re too big to go through my jointer or planer, but without a straight edge I can’t safely rip them.
For the boards that do fit on my equipment, I started by jointing an edge and a face. When that’s done, those boards have two good surfaces that are 90 degrees to each other. Now I can use the good edge against my table saw to rip the board parallel.
As for the panels, now I can rip them down to widths that’ll fit on my jointer and planer. I look at each panel to determine the center of the cup and rip the board there. By ripping in the cup of the bow I’ll have the most stable boards after they’re milled, and save the most thickness.
I face jointed the table top pieces off camera, and then ran everything through the jointer to surface the fourth face. If you want more details on the milling process works and why I go through the steps I do, I have a separate video on that I’ll link below. Once all the boards were done, I let them rest a few days and then went through the jointer and planer again. The wood didn’t move much between the milling sessions, so I only did it twice.
Next was gluing up the table top, but before I did that I ran all the pieces through the table saw again just to make sure the edges were square to the faces and straight, it’s cheap insurance for a good glue up. The glue up I took in three stages. First I glued up two to three boards at a time, into five panels. Then I glued up those into two panels. Then finally I glued those two panels together. By only having to control a few glue lines at a time I can get better results, and since the pieces come out of clamps just long enough to go back into clamps, I only leave them clamped for an hour or two between glue ups.
This table top is super knotty, so I taped off the bottom and then mixed up some epoxy to fill all of the knot holes and cracks. This isn’t a requirement, but given that meals are often shared near tables I don’t think crevices that food and drinks can work into is a good idea.
After the epoxy set up I used a chisel to remove most of it before sanding. Previously I’ve tried just sanding it, but when the epoxy is still thick the sanding just heats it into a gummy mess that instantly clogs the paper.
After scraping most the epoxy off, I switched to sanding. I started at 60 grit and sanded up to 220 grit, and wet the wood before the last pass to raise the grain.To square off the table I used my drywall square to mark the cut lines and then used my circular saw and track to cut it down.
With the top done, I switched my attention to getting the base finished. The previous wood movement ruined the alignment for the old joinery, so I cut the tenons off of the stretchers and used them to plug the mortises on the table legs.
Trying to recut new mortise and tenon joints didn’t make sense, so I used a doweling jig and some dowels to join the stretchers to the legs. It’s less optimal, but pocket screws also would have worked. But, if you don’t have a drill to do dowels or pocket holes, you could also use dominos for this joint.
Now all that’s left is applying finish and attaching the top to the base. I used my old standard of general finishes arm-r-seal, and I really love the tone and grain that it brings out of this oak. I applied three coats, lightly sanding with 400 grit paper in-between coats.
To attach the top to the base, I used a biscuit joiner to cut slots in the stretchers and then used some z clips from Rockler. I like using these because they’re really simple to install but allow for wood movement so long as you install them along the expansion plane.