Once the cross-members are milled to length and width, I’ll use the Domino once again to create the mortises on the ends. I then use a hand-held router and a round-over bit to give the cross-members their final shape. During the routing process, I noticed a small knot that was easily repaired with some epoxy.
At this stage, we are ready for a critical dry assembly. Putting the pieces together gives us a good perspective on the final look of the piece. This is pretty much our last opportunity to fix any major issues. Are the feet too wide? Are the ankles blended well enough? Are the cross-members too thick? There really aren’t any right or wrong answers here but you should take your time and think critically about your choices.
The top receives a nice low roundover from a special table top bit (174-4055). This is not quite the same thing as a regular round-over bit as you’ll see in the video. It creates a profile that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also to the touch. This is very important for a surface that will have to support my arms for a long period of time. The top will also receive two relief cutouts in the back for wires. This will allow the table to be pushed right up against the wall.
The top is secured to the legs with screws in elongated holes. The elongation is necessary because the top will expand and contract with seasonal changes. Since these screws are going right into the leg tops, it’s a good idea to cover the screw heads using a plug. Instead of using an end grain plug from a dowel, a face grain plug will provide a much nicer effect. If you match the grain properly, you might never even notice the plug.
The finish of choice for my trestle table is General Finishes Arm-R-Seal, a very high quality wiping polyurethane. Prior to applying the poly, I apply a single coat of dewaxed shellac to help speed up the finishing process. A coat of 1 lb cut shellac dries within 30 minutes or so and helps seal the surface nicely. This helps the varnish build faster and cuts some time out of the finishing schedule. Four to five coats makes a terrific durable finish.
I included two additional discussions in this episode: one focused on lung safety and respirators and one focused on pore-filling products.