When I made the staked stand and glued the multiple pieces together to create the top slab, it became apparent that anything larger would require a different approach. There is quite a bit of slipping and sliding when that many pieces are slathered with glue and pressure is applied. Now there are several options to deal with this issue.
One option would be to glue up the tops in stages. Another option would be to add a groove to each piece and install a spline into the groove to index the pieces during glue up. Yet another option to index the pieces is with the use of dowels. Finally, a biscuit joiner and biscuits can be used to index the pieces to each other. Believe it or not, this last option is the one that I chose to go with. I have no doubt that there will be a good bit of these types of glue ups in my future and the biscuit joiner will be a handy addition to the shop. First a table saw and now a biscuit joiner…I’ll bet the devil is starting to stock up on winter coats about now.
I’m still a cheap SOB, so I went with the least expensive biscuit joiner that I could find. I really only had one criteria. The fence must lock down solid. I have no intention of using this thing for joinery, so I could care less about how many sizes it will cut or how many angle stops it had. I need a rock solid 90° fence that will stay at the depth I set it too. I used this contraption for the first slab glue up and it worked great. My only complaint is that the chip/dust extraction is a bit of a joke, but it cuts a biscuit slot just fine.
Where I ran into trouble with the first slab was the application of glue. Trying to get full coverage on twelve pieces and then get them into the clamps in a reasonable time frame was a bit of hassle. I ended up applying waaay too much glue. Almost an entire bottle in fact. I made a hell of a mess! On the bright side, the biscuits worked great at aligning all of the pieces and the slab came out just fine. Hmmmm.
So this morning I headed over to Woodcraft and picked up more glue and one of those roller applicator thing-a-ma-jigs. On to slab #2.
The roller applicator is the way to go. Perfect coverage, quick and I used a fraction of the glue. Win, win.
With slab #2 in the clamps, I went back to working on slab #1. Once I had the slab surfaced, thicknessed and cut to final size I began laying out the locations for the legs.
Top surface of slab #1.
Here is the bottom. See, the knots are still there but hidden away out of sight. I also laid out the sight lines for the legs as well as the actual location for the legs.
The drawer location is now penciled in.
I’ve broken my cardinal rule of always creating a full-scale drawing with this project. I did so as an experiment though. To my mind, there is actually very little information to be gained by creating a full-scale drawing for this type of project. The length and width of the top can be stepped off with dividers and then the top slab literally becomes the drawing board for everything else. Save for the height of the drawer. So far, so good.
Tomorrow I hope to make a start on the drawers.