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Barbara's Table

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Barbara's Table

A small amount of fabulous wood can go a long way.

By Tom Caspar

Surprise! My wife loved this table because I designed it just for her. It’s beautiful, versatile and with time-saving biscuits and dowels, it only took me a few weekends to build. It’s a great project.

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Cut out the legs first. The best looking legs come from the side of a board where the grain runs straight. Your cut doesn’t have to be parallel to the edge of the board, however. Following the grain is more important.

Click any image to view a larger version.


Cut two biscuit slots side-by-side into the rails and legs. Biscuit joinery is incredibly fast and plenty strong for a table this size.


Drill dowel holes in the ends of the stretchers. Use two clamps to firmly hold the stretchers in place—one across the fence and another down to the jig’s base.


Glue the base together upside down on a dead-flat surface (such as your tablesaw), so the base doesn’t end up crooked. Biscuit joints can shift side to side. Level the rails with 4-1/2-in.- wide support blocks.


Cut rabbets on the undersides of the shelves with the same jig as shown in. It’s much faster than setting up a dado set. First make relief cuts with the shelf lying flat on the tablesaw. Then stand the shelf on end and rip off the waste.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker June 2002, issue #94.

June 2002, issue #94

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