When it comes time to install the top on a table, it is important to come up with an approach that allows the table top to expand and contract freely with seasonal changes in humidity. If we don’t accommodate this movement, bad things are bound to happen. The table top could crack, or the movement could cause structural problems to the base.
The way that many woodworkers choose to install the table top to accommodate the movement is to use some sort of table top fasteners. You could choose to make your own table top fasteners, but there are also commercially viable options available that are inexpensive and easy to use. One of the popular types is a clip that attaches solidly to the table top, and the other end goes into a slot in the table rails. The slot is where the expansion and contraction can safely occur without causing problems to the table.
Installing a table top fastener clip requires an understanding of the mechanics of the device so that you can achieve maximum holding power. You can choose to cut the slots using a table saw, or as George demonstrates here, you can also use a biscuit joiner for this task. The basic steps include:
Determine the slot position. You need to establish the correct distance between the slot and the table top for optimal holding power, and George will show you the secret for doing this right.
Mill the slot. Once you’ve identified the fence height it is as simple as cutting a biscuit slot.
Install the clip. After the top is positioned, attach the clip with a screw and you’re done.
Now that your table is complete, take a look at more furniture making videos to determine what your next heirloom project will be!