Stage 3 of making a dining table top is the glue up. Once we're satisfied with the edging on all the boards we can move on to ordering them to get the best aesthetic out of the timber we're using. We want to get all the boards to work in unison, so that the change from one to the other across the table top is subtle and complementary. I still smile a satsfied smile if when I'm sanding the top of a dining table that's made up of say 4 boards glued together; I can't make out if i'm sanding just one of the boards, or am in the middle of two, because of how subtle the glue line is and how well balanced in colour and grain the boards are.
Once the boards are ordered, we mark them up and cut various slots along the edges with a biscuit jointer.
Having cut all the slots we apply glue to the edges of the boards, making sure to spread the glue with a brush so that the entire edge is covered and to get a decent amount into each biscuit slot. Then we tap the biscuits in and give them a coating of glue.
Now we can knock the boards together. The biscuits help to level one board to another and to line them up to their mark. Once knocked together, we use clamps and clamping strips to squeeze them all together as one. The clamping strips are there to help direct where the pressure of the clamp is applied. The aim being to squeeze the boards together without the table top cupping or bowing. If it starts to cup a little, then we need to loosen the clamps, lower the clamping strips a touch and then re-tighten.
Once all the clamps are tight and we're satisfied that our dining table top is flat, we want to wipe clean any 'squeeze out' of glue with a damp cloth. If we don't do this it just makes for a slightly longer sanding process as the glue will harden and need to be sanded off the top.
Then we're done, we have glued together the top of the dining table and we need to leave it in clamps for 24 hours before we can release them and start stage 4 - trimming, sanding and finishing.