Sunday, February 23, 2014

Japanese Low Table Part III: Joining the Tabletop Boards

Since I spend a good bit of money on these mahogany boards, I want this done right.
So I was a little wary of putting my own hands to work. But I have Dad! And Dad has Wood Wizard Neighbor! If you want to look at my plans and dimensions, check out my earlier post. Here we go.

Step 1: Join the table top.
Three boards must become one. Flip them around, decide which layout and wood color variation pattern you like. Pinch them together with clamps. Dad dragged the pencil across a few time to make line that can be lined up later if need be.
He sanded some of the rougher inside edges so the board-to-board connection was a little more tight. Once clamped, he and the Wizard also banged these board in place with a mallet for maximum perfect smooth awesomeness. The point here is that you get it the way you want it so you can make the pencil lines at the places you want to put biscuits...
You can wedge these suckers in wide-side-in and the wood will become pretty well stuck together. When I say "wedge" them in, you have to make a biscuit-sized hole to do that. So you need a biscuit-cutter tool. The bottom has a clear plate that you can line up with your biscuit-purposed pencil marks. Like so:
You could start the gluing at this point, but wait: The Wood Wizard had an addition method of making these boards joined together something really joined. Anyway, that method uses a little silver L-shaped thing that, once clamped on, allows one to drill holes at a diagonal into the wood to that you can actually use screws without the danger of breaking through the top.
You can sand off the rough bit there. Now you have a perfect little tunnel for your screw. Time to glue.

The glue- Gorilla Wood Glue- goes in a line over/down into the biscuit hole. Then apply the biscuits as shown. Then the oozing beads of glue can be spread out and maybe a thin line of glue goes across the whole edge of that board, spread down like jam a little bit. I think once the other biscuit holes on the other board are glued, you don't need an addition line on that side. Speaking of glue, the work surface was covered in wax paper. Good idea, huh?

Note: If you're using quick-set glue, make sure you have a wet rag handy to wipe up the oozey bits. NOW!
Yay! Now all that's left is to clamp it, maybe mallet-whack a little if you're trying to even things out, then screw in the screws after that. The Wizard reminded us that once the biscuits are in, the mallet-whacking will only do so much.  Don't forget to screw in the screws. Dad used a hand screwdriver. You can see below the 6 screw holes along the middle board.
It needs to be clamped for however long your glue tells you- 20 minutes or whatever. Then unclamp and voila!

Once it gets 24 hours of setting, then it's ready for more action. Like sanding. Hope that blue end there goes away.


  1. How is the table now? I could even follow your steps if I can't find a table like that (or cut legs from some table)