If you've checked out my other woodworking projects, you know what I'm doing here. I couldn't find a good wide sapele board for the table top, so I found two boards about seven inches wide that had similar grain patterns and coloring, and I jointed them using biscuits and urea glue to make one wide board.

The top for the library table is five feet long and one foot wide. Here, I'm running the entire tabletop through the planer to get it to a uniform thickness and erase the glue line as much as possible. 

I made the initial table blank about six inches longer than the final size, to compensate for planing snipe. After thinning the top to about three quarters of an inch, I cut off the sniped ends on my table saw.

Here's the completed tabletop blank, after jointing, thinning, and cutting off the sniped ends. I really like this photo, because it shows off the wonderful striped figure of the sapele. 
To give the tabletop a little pizazz, I decided to chamfer the top edge. This is my chamfer setup on my table saw.

I took a piece of waste plywood and clamped it to my saw fence to make a sacrificial fence. Then I angled my blade to forty-five degrees and moved the plywood into the blade until it began to cut, with a cutting height of about a quarter inch. Now all I have to do is run the tabletop through the saw blade on all four sides.

Here, I'm actually chamfering the tabletop. I'm very careful to use a push stick here, because I can't see what the blade is doing, and I don't like surprises. You can't see it, but I'm also using the featherboard to keep the tabletop snug against the sacrificial fence.
Here's the result--a very nicely chamfered tabletop. The chamfer gives the tabletop a little more character, and it also makes it a little consistent with the tapered legs.

A little light sanding to clean the line up, and this tabletop is done!

Total time spent on the top (minus twenty-four hours to allow the joint glue to cure): about three hours.

These are the boards I'll use for the front, back, and side skirts on the table. After giving it a lot of thought, I finally decided to make the front skirt with two drawers. Because of that, I need to build the front skirt first, because the width of the front skirt will determine the width of the back and side skirts.
The first job is to mark out the placement of the drawers on the front skirt. I decided to leave one inch above and below the drawers, and to place the drawers right in the middle of the line from the midpoint to the ends of the skirt.

So, first I needed to mark the one-inch margins, which you can see here. In this picture, I've marking the midpoint of the board, which I'll use to mark out the actual drawer positions.

The first cuts I need to make are to remove the one-inch top and bottom margins of the front skirt. You can also see here the layout lines for the drawers.

Note again the use of the featherboard and the push stick. I cannot stress this strongly enough, or often enough. Safety first!

After removing the one-inch margins, I mounted the crosscut sled on my tablesaw, and attached the front skirt to the sled using clamps and stop blocks (can't see that here, but you'll see them later). Since the sled is perfectly squared to the blade, I just slide the sled to crosscut straight lines to separate the drawer fronts from the rest of the front skirt.

Confused? It will make sense in a minute.

Okay, so here's the layout after all the rip cuts and crosscuts are made in the front skirt. The two long pieces in the middle are the drawer fronts.

I build the front skirt this way so that I will get continuous grain lines across the skirt itself and the drawer fronts. It makes for a prettier workpiece.

The next step is to glue the whole thing back together.

Before gluing everything back together, I need to do a couple of operations.

Rick's Woodworking Tip #47--always mark your workpieces to align at multiple points. This gives you the best continuity in the grain lines when you do glue the pieces back together. The triangle with a vertical line through it is a good practices. Each triangle then gives you three different alignment points. The vertical line also provides a reference point for cutting the biscuit slots.

I do this one each of the three middle pieces in the front skirt, top and bottom.

You should recognize this bad boy by now. This is my Freud biscuit jointer. It cuts a hemispherical slot in the wood, into which I put a beech biscuit. The biscuit swells in the joint, centering the two pieces and also acting as a sort of tenon to strengthen the joint. I use six biscuits on the front skirt, three on top and three on the bottom. Without them, I'd be making basically a butt joint,which isn't terribly strong.

By using the biscuits, I'm building a front skirt that will stay glued forever, and on which you won't be able to tell that it was ever cut into seven pieces!

I've glued and clamped the whole front skirt back together. Now you can see how it all works. The two pieces lying on the benchtop are the drawer fronts. When I finish the drawers and install them, I'll have continuous grain running from one end of the skirt to the other, even across the drawer fronts.

I mentioned before that the front skirt would determine the width of the back and side skirts. By making the rip cuts for the top and bottom of the skirt, I made it narrower than the other pieces. The fix? Easy! I just use the reassembled front skirt to set the distance from the tablesaw fence to the blade, and then rip the stock for the rear and side skirts to match.

After using the crosscut sled to cut the back and side skirts to length, it's time to make the tenons I'll use to attach the skirts to the leg using mortise and tenon joinery.

If you read my Morris Chair build diary, you may recall that I used a tenoning jig to cut those tenons. This time, I'm doing something a little different.

I want to use half-inch tenons for this project, so I use clamps and a stop block to set the distance to the tablesaw blade, and then I clamp the front skirt flat to the crosscut sled base using more clamps and some waste 2"x2" stock. I set the blade height to one quarter inch, and then just run the whole shebang over the blade to give me perfectly squared tenon cheeks.

Here's the entire tenoning process demonstrated on one of the side skirts. Remember that I wanted to use one-half inch tenons, so I cut the workpiece an inch longer than the nominal length of the skirt itself.

In the first picture, I'm cutting the cheeks of the tenon, using the stop block to assure that both sides of the tenon cheek will be square and the same depth. After making the main cheek cut, I back the piece away from the stop block, and start nibbling away the waste using successively closer passes. I can't cut any deeper than the main cheek cut, because the stop block will prevent that. The second picture shows the finished nibbled tenon cheek.

I could do this using a dado blade, of course, but it takes a much shorter time to clamp on a stop block than it does to change saw blades, and using a dado blade would really mess up my crosscut sled. In the end, this is quicker, easier, and just as effective.

In the third picture, I've raised the blade from one quarter inch to one inch. I've placed the workpiece flat against the back fence of the crosscut sled, and I just run it through the blade to cut the vertical line of the tenon shoulder. I cut the shoulder because I don't want any of the tenon to show in the finished table. By cutting the tenon shoulder, the actual skirt will be glued to the table leg, and no sign of the tenon will be visible. The mortise and tenon joint is much more stable much stronger than a simple butt joint, which is doomed to fail at some point in the future.

In the fourth picture, I simply cut off the rest of the tenon shoulder waste using my bandsaw. This doesn't have to be a pretty cut, as long as I don't cut into the skirt itself, because once this is glued up nobody will ever see this tenon again. It just has be to square on the cheeks, to give a good tight joint.

One of the most satisfying parts of woodworking is when you dry-fit the entire project together for the first time. This is when you find out whether you've cut everything correctly, and how it all mates up.

Nothing in this picture has been glued, but it's all standing together with just a single clamp. Looks like I've done everything just right so far!

Of course, we still have a lot of things to do before final assembly. Even so, I took a few minutes to sit and stare at the dry-fitted project and imagine how it would look in the den after finishing!