This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The table frame is cleaned off with the hand plane in all parts, the tops of the back legs are cut off, and the upper edges of rails planed, to receive the top. The frame is 3 ft. long by 1 ft. 8 in. broad, and the top 3 ft. 6 in. by 1 ft. 10 in. It is planed both sides with half-long, and squared, then nailed down to frame at back and ends; the front is fastened by 4 screws passing upwards through the rail over the drawers. The top is planed flat to agree with a straight-edge, hand planed, and sandpapered; each corner is rounded off and sandpapered. The nail holes in the top are stopped with white putty. The bottoms of the legs are cut all to the same length. Turn the table feet up, take 2 straight-edges, and place one across each pair of feet; the eye will at once detect whether the legs are all one length or not. Cut a little off the foot that carries the straight-edge too high. Bore a 5/8-in. hole in the centre of each drawer front for a 21/4-in. patent zebra knob.
A modified form of kitchen table is shown in Fig. 5S5. The slab a is 1 1/2 in. thick; the legs b are 2 ft. 2 1/2 in. high from floor to slab, 3 in. square, and are slightly bevelled inside; the rails c are 4i in. deep, and are attached at each end d by means of a double tenon, let into mortices in the legs to the depth indicated by e, the inner half of the tenon shown by the line / on d entering the leg only so far as the line g on e. The mortice and tenon joints are glued and pinned with wooden pegs. The top is fastened down to the frame by one of the following methods: - (1) It may be screwed to the rail c as at h, by making a small recess in c and driving the screw somewhat diagonally, assuming c to be stout enough for the purpose; (2) it may be nailed or screwed down from above, the holes in the slab being afterwards stopped with putty; (3) it may be secured by a number of wooden buttons placed about 1 ft. apart all round it, and each revolving on a screw as at i, the flange on the button is fitting into a groove l cut in the rail c, this plan presenting the advantage that the top may be removed and refixed at will.
The rail c is generally "blocked," or strengthened by a series of rectangular wooden blocks m glued into the angle between the top a and rail c.
The construction of a gipsy table is a very simple matter. This form of table consists of a top, usually round, supported on 3 legs, which converge from near the margin of the top to a wooden ball about midway in height from the top to the floor; from this ball start 3 other legs diverging so as to constitute a tripod stand. The top of the table is built up of boards pinned together, and is usually provided with a fringed cover. Underneath the top is attached a second thickness of wood to receive the upper ends of the 3 top legs. The lower ends of the top legs and the upper ends of the bottom legs fit into holes in the ball, and are secured by glueing.
One more example of the arrangements adopted for supporting table tops must suffice. This consists in having crossed legs ()(-shaped) at each end of an oblong top, see Fig. 586, a. The top is formed in the usual manner of 3/4-in. boards joined up by tongueing and grooving and by glueing, with 2 or 3 cross ledges b screwed on beneath to give additional strength. These cross pieces should come so near the ends of the top a (say within 6 in.) as to afford space for the legs c (top ends) to abut against them, and be flanked in turn by a rail d without the rail coming within say 2 in. of the edge of the top. The legs c are of red deal, about 3 ft. long, 6 in. wide, and 1 1/2 in. thick, and are halved into one another where they cross. They are held in position by the rail d and the bar e at top, the latter being run the full length of the table and pinned outside at each end f; and by a second stouter rail g passing through the legs at the point where they are halved into each other, and held by a pin at h.
It is obvious that any desired ornamentation by carving, etc, can be given to the legs and rails.