All About That Base – Part II

With the base’s side assemblies glued up, I turned my attention to the top and bottom stretchers. Using the material on hand, I took the following approach: First, I oriented the top stretchers so the side grain faced up. This made the top stretcher assembly more like an I-beam and adds tremendous rigidity. Second, I turned the bottom stretcher so the long grain faced up. This adds a slight amount of flex but it adds visual weight to the bottom, where it’s needed. I did this by gluing a few boards together. You can see in the images below that I was pushing the limits of the table saw to get the angled cuts. I cut the bottom first and then snuck up on the final length of the top pieces (hence, why they are clamped together).

At this point I had angled side assemblies, angled top stretchers, and angled bottom stretchers. I was suffering from angle madness to be sure. But during this stage of the project I was pretty familiar with the correct orientation of the domino relative to the orientation of the mortises. The bottom was pretty straightforward 30 mm plunges on the side assembly and 70 mm plunges into the stretcher.

One thing I found useful was to listen for the “click” of the stop pins. As you tilt the fence relative to the angle of your workpiece, the stop pins will make an audible click when fence and workpiece are perpendicular. This works when the angle is obtuse relative to the reference face of the work. When the angle is acute I was able to get away with plunging at 90°. Simply put, don’t over think it. Just make some test cuts and you’ll figure it out.


With all dominoes installed I did a test fit. It seemed pretty rock solid, but I’m a belt and suspenders guy. So I took some off cuts and made internal bracing for the top assembly. Then I busted out the glue and long, long clamps. I also used several angled scraps to keep clamp pressure in the right spot.

Finally, I pinned the joints with homemade dowels.

Visually, I’m quite pleased with the final result. Hopefully it’ll mate well with the top and stay rigid for years to come.

About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
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5 Responses to All About That Base – Part II

  1. tombuhl says:

    That base should remain solid for longer than you will.
    What is the deepest cut you can make with your table saw (at 90 degrees)?
    I like the looks of things at this point. Well done.


    • I’m not exactly sure of the capacity at 90 degrees but the bottom measured out at a little of 2.5″ and about 50″ long so it was stretching things more on the length side than on the height side.

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I just put on the last coat of paint last night and it’s looking pretty sweet in jet black. The top just received it’s final coat of finish too and I hope to mate them up soon.

      The one last thing giving me pause is connecting the base to the top. I’m thinking of pocket holes with elongated holes for wood movement. Any thoughts on this?


      • tombuhl says:

        Well, I have never been able to bring myself to use pocket holes and screws. I might consider figure “8” fasteners or wooden buttons (might not be easy to cut grooves with tight spaces after glue up, but you are a problem solver and I am sure you can do it). I trust top is oriented so that cupping/bowing will leave outer edges down. I unless a more creative thought entered I’d lean towards counterbored screws. That gives you holes but they are facing downwards and will only be noticed by spiders and crawling humans. Pilot holes away from middle can be a bit oversized to allow for movement. How thick is your top? Amount of overhang?


  2. tombuhl says:

    I using counterbored screws I would not bother plugging. Never know when you might prefer to separate the top and base. For screws you could use cap (?0 screws and even washers if you’d like a bit more area contact.


    • Hey Tom, good adds.

      The top is another story altogether but to make a long story short, it’s just under 2″ thick. The overhang left to right is about 13 – 15″ and around 18″ on the ends. I really gotta get you on Instragram for more “real time” updates. = )

      I thought of counterbores as well. The top base assembly is about 2 3/8″ thick so I’d need relatively deep counterbores. Not impossible but just tricky now that everything is glued up. I won’t be plugging them as I can’t get it up the stairs without separating the top. I’m not too picky on aesthetics for the spiders. I also thought of using my WW wood taps but I don’t want to make this last step another project in and of itself, you know?

      I’m leaning toward the counterbores so I can use a more substantial screw as well. Maybe something with a pan head like the ones made by Spax.

      Thanks as always for the advice.



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