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Frothingham card table

I’m often asked about blocking on feet (sad, but true). Woodworkers want to know how bracket and ogee feet were attached and how to deal with cross-grain gluing. The answers to these questions are: lots of ways, and you don’t necessarily have to because they didn’t.

Cross-grain gluing and consideration of expansion and contraction wasn’t a universal primary concern. Now, I know the first photo isn’t of feet, but it illustrates my point. The Boston card table top is attached to the base of the table with…glue blocks; both with and across the grain. This is not atypical for period construction.

You have to remember that their environments within their homes was only marginally different from the environment without. This means the materials are going to expand and contract pretty much the same way they did when they were stickered and drying – at a rate about equal with the changes in the weather. But the important thing is the old guys knew the overall trend for wood is contraction.


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