Ming Inspiration (26)

Post 26 in a series describing the design and build of a dining table made from a large plank of bubinga.

With the dovetail mortises completed on the long aprons, I could move to the work on the rest of these joints. The battens are mechanically tied to the aprons using the dovetail bar mechanism, which the battens themselves are located and aligned by a pair of stub tenons, mechi. While it would be nice to use a single jig to cut both the dovetail and the stub tenon mortises, that was not so easily done in this case, so I elected to use two jigs. Here is the jig for the mechi hozo (mortises):

The critical thing when using two jigs in the same location is that the second one be able to index precisely to the first. I formed a dovetail stub piece and attached it to the underside of the jig in a centered groove:

The jig must also fit to the piece so that it is in the correct (90˚) alignment:

Before I got started with the mortising, I set up the table’s central rail with the battens attached on top of both long aprons so as to label the pieces to one another:

Right, with my abc‘s complete, I started the mortising work:

A bit of minor chisel work to clean up the corners:

Once the mortises were done, I could start fitting the pieces:

The battens were a snug fit and required very little adjustment. The adjustment required was typically involving the set back of the male dovetail stubs on the aprons, which I had left a little fat by about 1/32″ for this very purpose:

A little more chisel work, and the batten seats fully down:

Five battens are now fitted to the one long apron:

A little while later, the other assembly is complete:

A view from the other side:

I have to trim the bottom of those dovetail mortises square as a next move, and then complete the cut out of the locking mechanism, and then do some fitting work.

That’s all for today. More tomorrow. Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. –> on to post 27

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