Here is the Butterfly Table that I have been reproducing. After working the rule joints, I assembled all the components. I included the rotating wings as shown but they are not fixed yet. There are dowel joints at each end of the wings and those joints are not glued. Therefore, I can raise and lower the wings at this stage. However, they need to be fixed in a position that will result in the wings holding the drop leaves at the proper height (that is, where the wings are flat with the center top). Also, I wanted a way to accommodate a future fix for the doweled wing joints. If a dowel were to break (not so likely, as they are ash), I wanted a way to remove the wings and refit the dowel joints.
Here is a picture with the wings set at a height to create a flat surface across the span of the top. Yet, I still need a method to fix those wings at this optimal height. You can see part of the lower dowel as it enters the lower stretcher on the right. The wing itself does not ride on the top edge of the stretcher, rather it is raised off the surface. This is the way it is on the original piece. So, I now need to come up with a way to fix this position yet allow a future fix if necessary.
Here is the assembly upside down so you can see the sockets in the block and the lower stretcher.
Below, I’ve shown the wing pressed down on the underside surface of the top leaf. Then I drove a dowel down through the socket in the lower stretcher. That socket is a “through” socket. The dowel was hammered down until it bottomed out in the wing’s socket. Then I cut the dowel flush with the bottom surface of the lower stretcher. I made a brass plate that covers the socket and dowel-end fixing the wing’s up-down position and preventing the wing from dropping down.
Sign up for eletters today and get the latest techniques and how-to from Fine Woodworking, plus special offers.