The table-top requires more 'making' than if it were plain, and it may be as well to say here that the construction of tops for plain pedestal tables is exactly the same. As no object would be gained by using mahogany or other superior wood for the part that is to be covered, or as it is generally called lined, it is made principally of pine. The edges have a piece of mahogany or whatever the wood being used is, of the same thickness jointed on, either plain glued or dowelled as described in the chapter on jointing up. Similar pieces are put on the ends, and those who have read the chapter just referred to will know that neither plain glued edges nor yet dowels will be the best method of jointing, as both the pieces are end grain. It may be noted that these ends should be put on before the sides, as after they are on, the edges can be shot truly to receive these. At this stage there is a pine top with a mahogany (or other) framing clamped on. The width of these pieces is unimportant. Some cabinet-makers make a practice of having them of precisely the same width as the veneer which forms the margin round the leather lining, and though there is little to be said against this it may be stated that such exactitude is not necessary when the work is properly done. Indeed, it may be urged, and not without some degree of reason, that it is better for the veneer to cover the joint on account of the extra strength gained thereby. It will not, however, do for the worker to trust to this too implicitly or think that because covered the joint may be made in a careless manner. If it is not substantial and yields the defects will be visible through the veneer. When the joints are set this is put on afterwards, the grain throughout running in the same direction as the wood on which it is laid. It will be found convenient not to work the mouldings on the edge till the last thing, i.e., after the veneering has been done. Lining the table tops is upholsterer's work, and does not concern the cabinet-maker.
Fig. 178. - Flap Table.
Flap tables are very useful when it is desirable to economise space. They are known in the trade as Pembrokes, Sutherlands, and by other names, which, however, do not concern the reader, as with few exceptions the lines of demarkation are not distinctly drawn. The great advantage possessed by flap tables is the ease with which the size can be altered, but with this must be coupled the slight disadvantage that they are seldom so rigid when open as an ordinary four-legged table.
In the commoner forms of flap tables, one of which is shown in Fig. 178, the edges are shot square and hinged by means of back flaps let in below. These must be sunk flush in most instances in order to allow for the bracket or support of the flap when up passing freely under them.
Fig. 179. - Folding Bracket.
Fig. 180. - Knuckle Joint. A, plan. B, elevation.
To support the flaps movable brackets are used. These when folded lie under the fixed top and against the framing, as shown in Fig. 179. The best form of hinging is that by means of the knuckle joint, which is shown in Fig. 180. It is, however, not altogether an easy one, though with care and by working to the following directions there ought to be no great difficulty in making it: - The piece of wood used should be preferably hard, nothing being better for the purpose than a good clean piece of mahogany. It must first be cut straight across, the sizes of each piece depending on circumstances, Now, on the edges of the ends which are to come together mark with the compasses a circle as nearly as possible the thickness of the wood in diameter, as shown in Fig. 181. Then from the back corners mark off with bevel through the centres, as indicated by the dotted lines, gauge down the front in continuation of these and remove the wood down to the circle, giving as result the shape shown in Fig, 182. Next set off exactly the intersecting parts, and be careful when sawing these out to allow for the thickness of the saw in order that the hinge when brought together may fit closely. Some care will be needed when doing this to get the parts to work easily and closely without binding. When they are ready it merely remains to connect them with a stout wire pin or piece of iron rod, the hole for which must be bored accurately through the centre. If it is not so placed and perfectly straight it is useless to expect the joint to work properly. The shaping of the brackets is entirely a matter of fancy. The fixed piece is fastened on to the framing of the table by screws or otherwise. It may be well to caution the novice to see that the joint is fixed quite perpendicularly, as otherwise the top edge of the loose portion will incline upwards or downwards when opened outwards, with a corresponding slope of the table flap. In order to facilitate the drawing out of the bracket it is advisable to cut away a portion of the thickness, or at any rate to round the edge at some portion of the curve.
Fig. 181. - Setting out of Rule Joint.
Fig. 182. - Shaping of Wood for Rule Joint.
If this is done the tips of the fingers can be inserted behind the bracket when it is folded against the frame and cause it to open more freely than it otherwise would.
A modification, and one that is more commonly adopted, as it is simpler and more easily constructed, is that shown on Fig. 183. In it the sockets on the loose piece are bevelled off, to allow the projections of the other to pass. This joint, it may be mentioned, is equally as strong as the other; its only objection, and that not a serious one, as the brackets are seldom visible, being that it is not so sightly.