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Thread: question about glue up the table top

  1. #1

    question about glue up the table top

    Ok so i have the hickory boards all planed down to the thickness I want, about 1.5" think. I jointed them with my table saw and flat edge and took the twist out of one board and a bow out of another with my planer and a flat board sled with shims. All looked good until the last board I saw a twist had developed after I planed them down, not much but its there. So here is my question, I can get the boards to flatten I am sure with my camber cauls and clamps but will it stay flat? I am worried about this board with a twist causing the top to warp overall. All I have seen so far is just to alternate the pattern of the grain with each board. Lastly, Is there a good place to put it? maybe the middle so the weight on either side of it will help keep it from twisting further? Also when I get it glued up should i leave it in my garage until I get ready to put the top on the base? I still need to make that so i am afraid of putting inside then back out a few times and it dealing with temp and humidity fluctuations. Thank, just worried about doing the table and them something happening to it to ruin it before i am even finished.
    Last edited by Daniel Dmochowski; 05-17-2019 at 4:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    1,464
    If it were my table, I would:
    1) Arrange the boards for the best visual arrangement I could, regardless of the twist.
    2) If the twist is that bad, I would only glue that board to another board and let that single glue up dry rather than fight the twist plus the other glue ups at the same time. I would use cauls for all of the glue up work.
    3) Attaching the top to the base (allowing for movement) should pull the top down flat if there was any slight unevenness remaining. Note that larger table tops are not all dead-on flat and no one can see this or notices any issues with use. There do exist the slightest of "waves" across the top in some instances.
    4) I would not do the top glue up until I had the base ready to go so that I could attach the top to the base immediately after finishing the glue up and ensuing planning/sanding work. That way the top does not have time to sit around for a few weeks and decide to do something stupid.
    5) My projects (and all of the individual pieces) all stay in my non-climate controlled shop until they are fully completed and ready for delivery. I do have fluctuation in temp/humidity like most other folks and have not seen any problems with that.
    6) Other folks may very well respond with different suggestions and I bet their methods will work fine. In my opinion, structurally, the base is the more important part. You don't want twists in the base unit, use good joinery techniques, have a flat base to attach the top to, etc. The top can always be tweaked down the road by doing a little spot planning or sanding to get rid of some "rocking" if need be.
    Last edited by David Eisenhauer; 05-17-2019 at 4:53 PM.
    David

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    2,299
    I agree with Davidís post. Especially the part about having the base done before the top is glued up thatís exactly what I do.
    You should be considered about that one unruly board most likely it will be fine.But we never know till we try.
    When I pick out my boards for a table top always have a extra.
    A home made table should have a top that looks good with harmony in the grain arrangement. With zero glue lines and hopefully no twist.
    All this easier said then done.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  4. #4
    I have dealt with hickory quite a bit recently. I'm currently making a cabinet that is 30" tall and 20" deep. The sides are flat boards glued up. I'm working with 3/4" thick lumber so your twist may resist more than my 3/4" material will. The top panel decided to cup slightly after glue up. When I assembled the top to the carcass, the screws mount the top to the upper frame pulled the top panel down and it is now flat. I also had a couple of pieces that were slightly bowed that I adjusted during glue up to straight boards on either side and they have stayed flat after glue up. I'm not sure that you will be able to de-twist 1-1/2" thick stock.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
    Ok thanks guys, guess I'll get some wood for the base this week and get started on that. I will watch that piece and if it gets worse see about getting a other board. I could always use that twisted one for a bench top and plane it down a bit more.

  6. #6
    Oh just thought of this, is there anyway to know if its gonna tweak the table before I glue it up? Or just gotta try it and see? And pocket screws I do t think would do anything to help that's all I have for alignment help

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    1,464
    We can't see how bad it is twisted, so it is hard for us to help you decide. I don't use pocket screws, dowels, bisuits or that Festool gizmo to align edge glue ups, but I don't use bad-bad twisted material either. Bows are not as bad to deal with as twist. If I was as worried as you seem to be, I would buy another board, but I also have to watch my wood costs and use stuff that is kind of sketchy at times so I am not dogging you at all. If you screw the top down to the base, it is not going to be able to twist the base very easily at all. Give it a try, most likely it will be OK and, if not, try again. I doubt anyone but you will ever notice any deviation from true. Worst comes to worst, replace the top with another one you build and then cut out the bad area on the first top and use the remaining pieces for a coffee table, end tables, blanket chest, etc. It is all a learning journey anyway.
    Last edited by David Eisenhauer; 05-17-2019 at 9:51 PM.
    David

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