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Thread: How do you suggest I fasten maple to the frame of this bench for a seamless look?

  1. #1

    How do you suggest I fasten maple to the frame of this bench for a seamless look?

    My initial thought is to countersink, glue, screw, and conceal screws with matching plugs. Iím afraid it wonít allow for proper wood movement though. I live in an area that doesnít have wild seasonal shifts so feel a bit better about that. But I am taking precautions when milling before itís time to assemble; acclimate stock inside the house, mill to rough dimensions, bring stock back inside after being in the shop, mill to final dimensions before assembly (obviously the maple in photo is incomplete). The bench is 72Ēx16Ēx18Ē if that helps. Face boards will end up 3/4" after final plane.

    Any other ideas or am I overthinking it?

    Sorry for sideways photos.

    IMG_7477.jpgIMG_7478.jpgIMG_7479.jpg

  2. #2
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    Look into table top fasteners -- sometimes called figure-8 clips. They allow a sliding joint between your frame and the maple. You'd glue one edge of the maple panel, and use the fasteners to hold the rest of the panel to the frame. I'd probably glue the top edge for a gap-free fit to the top, and let the seasonal gap happen at the floor. There's gonna be gaps at the floor in any case; no floor is flat.

  3. #3
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    Tongue and groove?
    You only need 2 tools in life. If it's supposed to move and doesn't... use WD40. If it moves and shouldn't... use duct tape.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Look into table top fasteners -- sometimes called figure-8 clips. They allow a sliding joint between your frame and the maple. You'd glue one edge of the maple panel, and use the fasteners to hold the rest of the panel to the frame. I'd probably glue the top edge for a gap-free fit to the top, and let the seasonal gap happen at the floor. There's gonna be gaps at the floor in any case; no floor is flat.
    The figure 8 fasteners would be the easiest way to mount your panels since your frame is already assembled.
    mb62uza.jpg
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Look into table top fasteners -- sometimes called figure-8 clips. They allow a sliding joint between your frame and the maple. You'd glue one edge of the maple panel, and use the fasteners to hold the rest of the panel to the frame. I'd probably glue the top edge for a gap-free fit to the top, and let the seasonal gap happen at the floor. There's gonna be gaps at the floor in any case; no floor is flat.
    Thanks for your reply. That makes sense. I've used figure 8s attaching a few table tops.

    In addition to gluing the top edge, are you saying I should glue up the front (and sides) to create to a large panel? Originally I was thinking attaching board by board. I guess my concern is if I glue up a panel then there will be some wonkiness as the front would be 72x16" and the 4 boards will be pretty thin once they're dimensioned. I started with 4/4 stock.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Torrey Cazalas View Post
    Thanks for your reply. That makes sense. I've used figure 8s attaching a few table tops.

    In addition to gluing the top edge, are you saying I should glue up the front (and sides) to create to a large panel? Originally I was thinking attaching board by board. I guess my concern is if I glue up a panel then there will be some wonkiness as the front would be 72x16" and the 4 boards will be pretty thin once they're dimensioned. I started with 4/4 stock.
    The solid panel will make everything stiffer. 3/4" thickness should be plenty. You could get away with less thickness if you want less weight.
    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

  7. #7
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    Torrey, I don't see wood movement being very much of a problem but, if you're concerned about it, how about drilling oversized holes 3/4 of the way through the frame from the outside and putting screws from the inside into the maple through the oversized holes ? This would allow for firm attachment yet movement.

  8. #8
    This ^^

    That said, this time of year I would butt them tight. In the winter I would leave a 1/16" gap.

    Just for information purposes, in the old days, the craftsman often used nails to attach cleats, drawer runners, etc, which will bend if movement occurs.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    ...this time of year I would butt them tight. In the winter I would leave a 1/16" gap.
    Actually, I was thinking the maple boards were going to be edge glued. If there would be gaps wood movement would not be a problem and the boards could be attached firmly.

  10. #10
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    Jamie is right about no floor being flat, this bench will probably not make good contact under the legs, which is where you want it. If you are going to fix it to a wall it will be nice and stationary but may still not be optimized for pounding on. So plan on shims as needed. If it may be moved around then add feet.

    Will you be joining the corners with dovetails or finger joints? If you don't know how to do them I would suggest that with a little practice, handcut finger joints are easier. Cut them for a little protrusion then belt sand smooth and round over.

    Another way to deal with expansion is to leave a very small gap between boards and make a 1/8" chamfer on each edge. It will hide the gap and any misalignment in the boards. This will be fine with dovetail or finger joints too.

    Even 3/8" thick will be really robust if it is a solid carcase and well fastened to that massive base. A car would bounce off it and hardly leave a mark. (how do I know this?)

    To fasten to the base you can glue blocks to the back side then use pocket screws.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Jamie is right about no floor being flat, this bench will probably not make good contact under the legs, which is where you want it. If you are going to fix it to a wall it will be nice and stationary but may still not be optimized for pounding on. So plan on shims as needed. If it may be moved around then add feet.

    Will you be joining the corners with dovetails or finger joints? If you don't know how to do them I would suggest that with a little practice, handcut finger joints are easier. Cut them for a little protrusion then belt sand smooth and round over.

    Another way to deal with expansion is to leave a very small gap between boards and make a 1/8" chamfer on each edge. It will hide the gap and any misalignment in the boards. This will be fine with dovetail or finger joints too.

    Even 3/8" thick will be really robust if it is a solid carcase and well fastened to that massive base. A car would bounce off it and hardly leave a mark. (how do I know this?)

    To fasten to the base you can glue blocks to the back side then use pocket screws.
    I installed some heavy duty leg levelers that raise it ~1" to account for the uneven flooring.

    I still haven't decided how they'll be joined at the ends. I don't feel comfortable with dovetails/finger joints, as I have little practice with them and need to complete this project fairly soon. Unfortunately, I'll likely go with butt joints... Anyway to make them more presentable?

    Here's where I am at so far- I have the three panels individually glued up (front & sides). I plan to drill elongated holes and use GRK screws from the inside. Order of operations is: attach front panel, then sides, get them flush, then move on to the hinging the lid.

    Thanks for your reply!

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Torrey,
    For the corners, are you trying to hide the end grain or present a decorative edge or make it appear more seamless (like wrapping the grain around a box)? The simplest method might be to use some molding on the corners to cover your butt joints if you are simply trying to hide the end grain ... That or use a mitered corner, though the corner might gap over time.

    As for the sides, why not use a ship-lap joint? That way you can leave a small gap between the top board and the next-lower board that will give room for expansion and could end up decorative if you add the 1/8" chamfer that Tom suggested. You could even get fancy and put a bead on it, if you wanted.

    (Maybe I missed it, but what is the purpose of the bench? Seating?)


    Patrick

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