Fly Rail

Last week I wrote about how you could use a simple jig setup to begin the steps to make a knuckle joint for a Pembroke table – same jig used to make box joints and moldings. After you have your knuckle joint constructed, what do you do your the “fly” rail to make it work? The rail should swing out to support your table leaf. And while not at work, it conceals the the fixed apron set behind it.

Some woodworkers take a shortcut and make the parting cut using a compound miter saw, but that design is somewhat suspect. (You can find aprons cut at a compound angle across the rails to produce a fly rail – there’s a historical example of almost anything if you dig deep enough – but it’s not common.)

An ogee cut on the end of a fly rail is what you’re more apt to discover when looking at antique Pembroke tables. And if you want to replicate that design, it gets tricky. The ogee cut is no worry. It’s how you bevel the ends of the fly rail and fixed short rail that make the task a task.

About That Jig

For that, I built a simple jig that’s used much as is the bandsaw dovetail jig you can read about in this free article. To form the beveled on the ogee-cut ends, I built an angled platform that works at my spindle sander.

With the jig positioned with the taller end toward the spindle (shown at the left below), you form the bevel on the fly rail. With the jig flipped with its lower end facing the spindle (at the right), you bevel the end of the short fixed rail to which the fly rail meets.

By the way, there is another step that you need to do as you lay out the cut area on your rails. To learn that you’ll need to be a member, and download the free, full project online course building a Pembroke table, which should be available late this month or early in October.

— Glen D. Huey

Not a member? Join here. Plus, there’s already five online courses you can access.



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