The harvest table in our kitchen had become too small when our daughter and her family come to visit. As a result, a few months ago Sandy asked me to make an add-on top, to make the table top longer and wider. With five girls around, every inch of table top is needed at meal time – or when the crafts come out.
To make the modifications I used four 8-foot pine pieces from the home improvement center for the actual top, and 4-inch stock for the aprons. I installed cleats under the top, to ensure perfect alignment with the harvest table that would now support the new top.
This arrangement worked for several months. But recently, with the arrival of granddaughter #6, getting around the table to the back of the kitchen became hazardous – i.e., it became almost impassable, with two or three girls moving toys in and out of the kitchen while adults moved hot dishes to the table.
It was time to make the wide table top a little narrower. Sandy requested I remove one of the boards and make it a folding one. I moved the top to the shop, and started work. First I moved the cleats that allowed tight fit in the narrow direction; and I had to move only one of the end cleats. Then I used a hand saw for the first time in possibly two or three decades, and made short work of cutting the aprons to the new dimension, allowing a two-inch overhang.
I wanted to salvage the removed apron and the fourth board (the one I removed), as they were already painted to make them look 100+ years old. It turns out that pine, and most lumber, does not take well to hard pounding with a mallet, as it splits along the long grain.
Scrap the idea of a folding piece.
I did manage to salvage the apron that was attached to this board with cut nails, by carefully pounding on the wide board with the mallet while holding the apron in my hand.
Ultimately I re-assembled the now narrower top to fit over the very old harvest table. And we can now navigate around the table much more safely.
- My practice sessions with the dovetail saw helped me tremendously using the saw for this job – I was able to saw to the line!
- Don’t pound on pine, or it will split along the grain, on either the first or second strike.