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Thread: Problems with Edging Around Tabletop

  1. #16
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    It doesn't matter whether the wood is kiln dried or air dried. The problem is that it changes with seasons and wood moves as it gives up, or takes in moisture. It gets wider across the grain when it takes up moisture (typically in the summer when indoor relative humidities are higher) and it gets narrower when it dries out (typically in the winter because indoor RH values are lower). But it only gets longer/shorter ACROSS the grain (length along the grain doesn't appreciably change), which is why the end pieces are now longer than the width of the table. OP needs to change design.

    I would recommend the OP google "humidity, wood movement and furniture design" before building any more furniture. After reading and understanding that, maybe venture into "bread board table design."

    In the near term, I like Andrew's suggestion for a kludge as much as anything else. Short of redesigning and rebuilding, there is no way to "fix" this table. The best one can do is shmutz a pretty face on it, plead ignorance, beg forgiveness and hope for the best. I don't think anyone who ordered such a table based on the Pinterest photo was expecting Fine Furniture. It is what it is, and caulk (with maybe some foam carpet padding behind it) may be the OP's best friend. Good luck.
    Last edited by Jacob Reverb; 03-22-2020 at 4:01 AM.

  2. #17
    You may be able to fix the top.

    You might be able to rip the top in one or two places, rejoint just the edges and carefully Reglue to get a flat top. You won’t be able to do any post glue sanding and staining (unless u strip the table) but you will only know If it looks good after regluing.

    I would research “breadboard ends”. Make new ones, thicker and wider. You have to attach it to the table so it does not constrain the table expansion width wise. Better to read an article for me to explain how to attach. A larger breadboard end will help the top stay flatter next time. That exposed end grain is always going to happen as the seasons make the top expand and contract so that must be expected. When you attach the top to the base, you also need to take care to allow movement.

    The basic thing about table construction to know is that because the top wants to expand and contract in width, any other parts that are attached to it, need to allow it to still do that, while simultaneously clamping the two pieces together. Proper attachment of the bb ends and to the base can help keep a top from warping.

    You will get through it. Valuable lesson, and not the end of the world. Good luck.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 03-22-2020 at 7:51 AM.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    In making a top like that, I make it extra long, cut both ends off, and fold under and glue. Grain will match perfectly. On outer two boards, rip length wise, fold under and glue. Then glue outters to field boards. To help make top sound thicker, in area where it single thickness, use a sheet of 3/4" MDF. Use screws to attach MDF to bottom of top. Be sure and elongate the holes. Attach legs and rails to MDF with pocket screws. DAMHIK, but I did learn after only one try.
    You can repair the existing top by cutting short pieces of matching wood and glue the to the underside of the table on each end with the gran aligned, not cross grained. Most likely once you remove the end strips the top will flatten out on its own.
    Lee Schierer
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  4. #19
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    Good responses here. There are several proven ways to handle wood movement at the junction that failed. Breadboards are common. With quality material many designs survive without any end cap at all. The material in your pictures looks like common dimensional lumber or you've done a good job of making something else look like it. If it is construction lumber it is not going to do well uncontrolled and maybe not even then.

    If the replacement is going to be stained as dark as the picture, "brown maple" (a secondary grade of poorly colored maple, soft or hard) can be a money saver. Just as the grade implies, it is color inconsistent so you would possibly have to dye it for consistency. I would just move to a good maple grade, dye for color and top coat but, joinery is the real question here.

    Breadboards:

    breadboard-flagged.JPGbreadboard-continuous.JPG

    Kit-Hut-(74).jpgKit-Hut-(145).jpg

    Media Cabinet (117).jpgMedia Cabinet (125).jpg

    Niki CT Dresser (69).jpgNiki CT Dresser (156).jpg
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 03-22-2020 at 11:29 AM.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
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  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    I did read it the first time. I still would have no idea what MDF would add to the folded edge or otherwise. No matter. Is what it is at this point.

    The MDF adds bulk to table so it's weight matches looks. It deadens sounds, and allows a surface to attach the apron too, along with top layer. The elongated holes in MDF for fastening top allow for seasonal movement

  6. #21
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    Unfortunately the problem with any of the breadboard or folded solutions in this situation is it's one of the million people seeing table on pinterest and wanting it reproduced for likely pennies on the dollar (hence the framing lumber) and the only thing to follow is a lengthy, likely failed, attempt at educating them about wood movement and that the table they are requesting is doomed to failure which is then followed by them holding up the phone, pointing at it, and saying "but look it's right here this guy made it and THAT is what I want, I don't like the bread board ends, this is what I want". At that point your option is to refuse and walk away or hand them a contract that states the design they have demanded is guaranteed to fail and they are fully aware, and you have no responsibility.

    At that point they will likely walk away and go find the guy who knows no better and wash rinse repeat.

    These picture framed tables are all over pinterest and a direct result of HGTV et al. Even more sadly the big furniture manufacturers have seen this demand and are now mass producing look alikes with veneered tops which further fuels the fire for the new/small woodworker.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Unfortunately the problem with any of the breadboard or folded solutions in this situation is it's one of the million people seeing table on pinterest and wanting it reproduced for likely pennies on the dollar (hence the framing lumber) and the only thing to follow is a lengthy, likely failed, attempt at educating them about wood movement and that the table they are requesting is doomed to failure which is then followed by them holding up the phone, pointing at it, and saying "but look it's right here this guy made it and THAT is what I want, I don't like the bread board ends, this is what I want". At that point your option is to refuse and walk away or hand them a contract that states the design they have demanded is guaranteed to fail and they are fully aware, and you have no responsibility.

    At that point they will likely walk away and go find the guy who knows no better and wash rinse repeat.

    These picture framed tables are all over pinterest and a direct result of HGTV et al. Even more sadly the big furniture manufacturers have seen this demand and are now mass producing look alikes with veneered tops which further fuels the fire for the new/small woodworker.



    Why is that sad? To me that is the correct solution if you want that look. It may be faux rustic, but at least it will be stable and not self destruct in half a year. What's sad is when unknowledgeable "furniture" makers agree to make those designs without understanding what's going to happen.

    The existing table tops the OP has made may be able to be saved by cutting the ends off and installing new ones on sliding dovetails, pinned only at the center. It should definitely work on those that are not already bowed. On those that are bowed I would cut the ends off and see if they flatten out when the MC equilizes. If they do, then install the new ends; if they don't, build a new top.

    John

  8. #23
    That's a very helpful tutorial/reminder Glenn. Thats for posting it!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    The MDF adds bulk to table so it's weight matches looks. It deadens sounds, and allows a surface to attach the apron too, along with top layer. The elongated holes in MDF for fastening top allow for seasonal movement
    We have a vendor at local flea market who makes his tables this way. He has been in the table business for over twenty years. His tables sell in the 2-5K range, so they aren't "curb furniture."

  10. #25
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    Unhappy

    I was too embarrassed to show this table I built 4 years ago but Eddie's project brings up the memories. I know this violated every woodworking principle in the book but I built what the lady asked for and carefully explained to her there would be no guarantees and why. She gave me a Potter Barn picture or a large farm table and asked for one built like it. The main kicker was she didn't want the boards glued together, but visible cracks (think 44"x9' picnic table). I probably used a few pounds of screws and lag bolts assembling the thing. I cringe every year when we go to her Christmas party, thinking I'll walk in and find a pile of twisted warped lumber in her dining room. But to my surprise 4 years later is actually still looks pretty nice. I've been scared that someday someone will call and ask me to build another one since all of her friends love it.

    **Sorry, I couldn't get the last pic rotated upright. If mods know how to flip the pic, please feel free.
    DSC_1567.jpgDSC_1609.jpgDSC_1623.jpgIMG_1339.jpg
    Last edited by julian abram; 03-23-2020 at 10:50 AM.

  11. #26
    Julian, if I'm seeing this right, it looks like you didnt break as many "woodworking principles" as you might think.
    *The boards that go cross grain on the underside look like they only attach to each board in the table top in about its middle. Because of that, and the gaps between them, each board is able to expand/contract across its width. Maybe her picnic table idea actually saved the top?
    * It's hard to tell for sure, but the boards on the ends (that look like faux breadboards) seem to be fastened into the boards around them in a way that doesn't constrain wood movement.
    * Thinking about it, maybe the screws also give just a little (bend or flex) in a way that a rigid glue joint wouldn't.

    Is that actually what you did Julian? I cant tell for sure but I think that would explain why it's holding together. (I think!) If so, good for you man!
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 03-23-2020 at 7:35 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #27
    I don't think it's sad that people new woodworkers make mistakes; it's sad when experienced ones discourage and disparage them. It's furniture. Nobody's dying. The OP's willing to fix mistakes and is asking to learn.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I don't think it's sad that people new woodworkers make mistakes; it's sad when experienced ones discourage and disparage them. It's furniture. Nobody's dying. The OP's willing to fix mistakes and is asking to learn.
    Bingo! This is spot on. It's a learning and teaching opportunity. Let's play nice, folks...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by julian abram View Post
    I was too embarrassed to show ever this table I built 4 years ago but Eddie's project brings up the memories. I know this violated every woodworking principle in the book but I built what the lady ask for and carefully explained to her there would be no guarantees and why. She gave me a Potter Barn picture or a large farm table and asked for one built like it. The main kicker was she didn't want the boards glued together, but visible cracks (think 44"x9' picnic table). I probably used a few pounds of screws and lag bolts assembling the thing. I cringe every year when we go to her Christmas party, thinking I'll walk in and find a pile of twisted warped lumber in her dining room. But to my surprise 4 years later is actually still looks pretty nice. I've been scared that someday someone will call and ask me to build another one since everyone since all her visitors love it.

    **Sorry, I couldn't get the last pic rotated upright.
    DSC_1567.jpgDSC_1609.jpgDSC_1623.jpgIMG_1339.jpg
    The gaps between the planks are what saves it. That isolates each board so the frame only has to deal with the movement of the two outer boards they attach to, which is fairly minimal. Same concept as frame and panel doors, or board and batten doors. When you glue the boards together now the frame has to deal with the movement of one huge 44" wide board, which is not minimal.

    To the OP:

    I doubt there is enough money in these tables to do breadboard ends. Especially if you have limited tooling. I like the idea of making the top a couple inches longer on each end, and cross-cutting a strip off the ends then glueing those to the bottom. If you top planks of the table are 3/4" then this will yield a 1-1/2" thick end. Trim it flush and then attach a 1-1/2" strip along the edges. This will give a "slab" look your customers will probably like (exposed end grain)

    This works because the strips you are glueing on the ends have the same grain orientation as the top, meaning they will move at the same rate as the top. What you did before was glue a strip on the end with the grain running 90 degrees to the top (across the width versus end-to-end). So when the table top shrinks the end strip stays the same length and something has to give.

    If your customer demands the table be wrapped in trim on all four sides, then you really need to have small gaps between the boards so that movement can be taken up in those gaps instead of changing the overall width of the table. Of course most people would not like little crumb catching gaps in their dining table. So I would try to steer them towards the slab style.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    That's a very helpful tutorial/reminder Glenn. Thats for posting it!
    I hope it helps. Trying to nudge the thread back on track. The OP has a question/problem, we should try to help ;-)
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

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