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Thread: Cutting through glueline on laminated table leg

  1. #1

    Cutting through glueline on laminated table leg

    Im making a 6 foot QS white oak table. Ive laminated 3 QS boards for the legs. The legs are now 3.5 square. I planned to do a 2 side taper, down to 2.
    I just realized, Ill be cutting through one of the laminated glue lines to do this. The table will just be getting an Arm-r-sea finish. The runout through the laminated glueline will be on the inside of the leg, since the tapers are on the insides.
    Alternatively I could keep it at a 1 taper And go from 3.5 down to 2.5, and avoid cutting through any of the lamination. But I dont find this as aesthetically pleasing as going down to 2.
    What wins here? Less taper and dont cut through the glueline.
    Or stick with the larger taper that looks better, but cut through the glue line.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Perhaps you could do a glueup of some scrap and make a test cut at the proposed angle to see what it might look like. With a shallow taper like that, you might get a fairly wide band of glue showing. Making the test cut and then finishing it as you plan will make it easier to decide before you risk the real parts.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    Thanks. When you say a wide glue band, is this better or worse than a narrower band seen in a steeper angle?

    I plan on doing a test, but was wondering if I could just get lucky doing a one-off and possibly miss some common problem I may encounter when I do the other 4.

    I.E. could I be lacking a little glue in an area and end up cutting through that region? Granted I rolled the glue on thick, but just curious if there are any known concerns like this.

  4. #4
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    I'm pretty sure you're not going to like seeing that glue line. One fix you might consider is to taper the leg the way you want, and then apply a layer of veneer on that face of the leg to cover the glue smear.

  5. #5
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    You might even veneer three faces of the leg, so you don't see any glue lines at all.

  6. #6
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    Just try it out and see on some scrap (make another leg and try it). You are the one who will see it and decide if you like it or not. I made a coffee table for my daughter a couple years ago with tapered legs and I figured it out like this. Made an extra leg from 2x4 and played with it to decide.

  7. #7
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    If you are using QS stock two of the faces are going to be plain sawn - boo. You could have the taper you want, no visible glue lines, and QS grain on all faces if you cut the tapers and then glue QS veneer on the two plain sawn faces. A small chamfer on the edges will make the veneer edges invisible.

    John

  8. #8
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    I think the taper cut will show something but the good news is only another woodworker will notice. And if he or she has any integrity they will evaluate your whole table and not just the legs.
    Others who know nothing about woodworking will only look at the top.
    A beautiful table has a beautiful top.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    If you are using QS stock two of the faces are going to be plain sawn - boo. You could have the taper you want, no visible glue lines, and QS grain on all faces if you cut the tapers and then glue QS veneer on the two plain sawn faces. A small chamfer on the edges will make the veneer edges invisible.

    John
    Good thoughts guys. How do you glue the veneer over the angle where the leg goes from straight to starting to taper? Do you just bend the veneer over the angle and press it down, glue and clamp it? Will it crack? Or do you cut two pieces and somehow mate the seam?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Goraj View Post
    Good thoughts guys. How do you glue the veneer over the angle where the leg goes from straight to starting to taper? Do you just bend the veneer over the angle and press it down, glue and clamp it? Will it crack? Or do you cut two pieces and somehow mate the seam?
    Forget about wrapping veneer around the corners. Do two opposing sides, flush off the overhangs and repeat. If the veneer is thin enough the joints will be obscured by easing the edges. Commercial sliced veneer will be quite fragile in use- I would resaw and sand to around 1/16" for a bit more substance. If you don't have access to a thickness sander you could apply thicker skins and reduce them after lamination.

  11. #11
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    I agree with Kevin to use veneer you slice from the same wood, 1/16" or so, sanded smooth. You won't be able to bend that over the straight to tapered transition, but it shouldn't be hard to deal with. On a test piece I would first try gluing the veneer to the tapered section, trimming it flush, then gluing the piece on the straight section and sanding it smooth where it overlaps the tapered piece. The other option is to cut a miter joint where the two pieces meet. That will give you the cleanest transition but will be more challenging. A shooting board set at the correct bevel angle would make it pretty easy to cut those joints.

    John

  12. #12
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    There was an article in Fine Woodworking about curved strip laminated legs. That guy tapered the laminations and glued up to nearly the final form of the leg. No cutting through the laminations.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    You won't be able to bend that over the straight to tapered transition, but it shouldn't be hard to deal with.

    John
    I haven't done it myself, but I have heard of craftsmen steam bending sawn veneer to do things like this. It wouldn't take much steam, or much time. If the straight to tapered transition is not significant, simply soaking or misting the veneer might be enough. Even just laying a damp, hot towel over it. Like they used to do when giving you a shave at an old time barber shop.

  14. #14
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    For true QS WO on the legs, you really do need to do the veneer thing or it's going to look wonky on the tapers that intersect glue lines as well as on the straight faces that show the laminations. Veneer is the only solution there.

    If true QS isn't required, sourcing thick rift sawn stock solves the issue without the veneer work as all four faces will be nice straight grain, top to bottom, regardless of contour.
    --

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

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    For true QS WO on the legs, you really do need to do the veneer thing or it's going to look wonky on the tapers that intersect glue lines as well as on the straight faces that show the laminations. Veneer is the only solution there.

    If true QS isn't required, sourcing thick rift sawn stock solves the issue without the veneer work as all four faces will be nice straight grain, top to bottom, regardless of contour.
    This is what I did! I had two 8/4 RQS boards that were nearly 12 wide. I just stole the rift from them. It was a shame to cut up boards that were that wide and flat, as I dont know if Ill ever find that nice of straight material again. But I had no other use for them. And this is a forever table. Thanks dudes.

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