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Volume 48/Issue 3

Project Articles
The English Flip-Top Chair-Table
The Oval Magazine Rack
Laminated Wooden Domino Set

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Letters from Owners

Academy Notes
Joinery - Solving the Puzzle
Service Pointers
MARK V as a Table Saw

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The English Flip-Top

An attractive table - an extra chair - a place to store whatever you like. It's a project you're sure to flip over!

The origin of this chair-table design dates back to 16th century England. It's an excellent example of multipurpose furniture, offering a draft-free place to sit near the fireside - a round-top table when the chair back is lowered - and a generous 13" x 23" x 7" storage drawer.

It's an idea that remained popular among furniture-makers on both sides of the Atlantic until well into the 19th enduring concept that's not exactly what you'd call “a flash-in-the-pan”.

Today, there are several companies around the World making “convertible” furniture. Chairs that become beds. Cocktail tables that convert into dining tables. Chests of drawers that “hide” plasma TV's. Where did it all start? Chances are...a chair-table like this one marked the beginnings of multi-purpose furniture nearly four centuries ago.

1: Cut all parts to size, following the List of Materials. Start by studying the list and finding all of the parts that are to be cut to equal widths and lengths. Rip-cut your parts first, then crosscut them to length. By grouping all same-sized parts together during this step, you'll save lots of time that would otherwise be required to make duplicate set-ups. NOTE: See Step 2 for special instructions on cutting out the top.

2: Make the Top (J), by first drawing a 42" diameter circle on the shop floor. Arrange the boards you're planning to use for this piece on top of your drawn circle to maximize the use of your available stock and determine the ideal grain patterns.

Cut all of your pieces to approximate length with an ordinary combination saw blade...then use a Hollow-Ground Blade to “shave” them super-smooth and bring them to their final lengths. Run all ripped edges over the Jointer in preparation for glue-up.

Glue all of the Top boards together. Use dowels or biscuits if you like, for reinforcement. Shopsmith's 48" Double Bar Clamps will help you hold everything flat and true while the glue dries.

Once everything has dried thoroughly, mark the center of your glue-up, draw a 42" diameter circle and cut the top out using your hand-held sabre saw, a Bandsaw or a Scroll Saw to make your circular cut. Stay slightly outside your cutting line so you can go back and sand everything smooth to the line with your Disc Sander.

ALTERNATIVE: As an option, you could make the top from ¾" solid core veneered plywood and cover the edges with veneer edge banding.

Continue . . .