The first step is to mill up the core staves of a stable soft wood. I used Douglas Fir because that it what I had a surplus of. Pine or cedar would have been fine too. They should be about six inches longer than required. Preferably the staves have the grain at a 45 degree angle to vertical and should be no wider than they are thick.The thickness is determined by subtracting the outer veneer and backing veneer from the desired thickness. When I mill them I keep them sorted as they come off the table saw and then they are sorted on a flat surface so staves that are bowed are either eliminated or are alternated up and down to even out any tension in the board.
Here the object is to get a slight space between each stave so they cannot influence each other. Flip the staves on their side and at each end run four layers of tape across them all. Cut the tape between each stave and flip them back up so now there is a tape spacer between each. Bind the panel together by wrapping the ends with some tape. This only takes a few minutes to do.
Now the staves have been flipped back up and will be bound at each end with tape. You can see the slight gap between each stave.
Press the backing veneer onto the staves. Solid wood veneer should have the grain at 90 degrees to the staves. However, I could not find any solid wood veneer locally so used 1.5mm marine plywood as a backing veneer. One sheet did all four sides of the two boards. I used West Epoxy and rolled the glue so there was enough for a proper bond but tried to avoid too much so it would run between the staves. A fine balance.
Now the two ends have an inner edging applied. I used Tite-Bond III for this. This covers the end grain so the final edging after veneering has something to bond to.
Ash veneer was milled on the bandsaw and planed to 2.5mm in the planer using a backing board
The Ash veneer is edge glued into flat panels using Tite-Bond III
The veneer panels are now glued to the cores using west Epoxy and my improvised press. I had a piece of 1.5 inch fir plywood with formica from a kitchen that I could use as a flat press base and the top board is MDF with lead shot bags and clamps.
Here is a cross section of the board before applying the outer edging. The thick veneer ensures that the table can be re-finished. Some of the thickness is lost to final sanding of course.
The finished table with the hinges installed. The repeating pattern of the edge grain ash is easy to see here.
Installing the bottom supports and hardware. I made little leather pull tabs for the supports and tabs to keep the barrel bolts closed.
The table is 34 inches wide open and 44 inches long. No problem for four people to sit around, six if cozy.