Requesting tips on joining boards for table top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 39 Old 08-04-2007, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Requesting tips on joining boards for table top

G'day. I am new to the craft and have been reading a bunch and am about to start my first project.

One of the questions that I have is the joining of boards to make a table top. I have some 3/4" red oak that I need join. I've read about simple butt joins, t&g joins, biscuit joins. But my experience with wood to date has been with nails and screws.

Can you achieve a lasting join if you have true edges and just use glue....a straight butt join? Or would you use some type of fastener?

Thanks,
Terry McManus
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post #2 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 01:18 AM
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yes,a simple glue up with proper clamping pressure will do fine. make sure when the top is fastened to the base you allow for movement
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post #3 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 02:50 AM
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joining boards

All other methods now superceded by pocket holes. all you need is the Kreg jig costing a few $.
I admitto being a fervent convert.
Have a look at the videos on the Kreg site or on utube.
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post #4 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 04:42 AM
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Table top

I also am a member of the PSLA (pocket screw lovers army) but I would hessitate using them for a table top. All those holes visible from underneath (or the outline of the plugs if you go that route) would detract from the look of the finished project in my eyes. Glue only is perfectly acceptable for long grain to long grain joints but biscuits or stopped splines sure do make the glue up much easier.

My $.02

Ed
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post #5 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 06:54 AM
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A butt edge glue up without biscuits, splines, and most definitely pocket screws, is the way to go. Using cauls when clamping will help insure an even glue up. Try not to make any of the series too wide.

Biscuits do not insure alignment, and many of the applications suggested for pocket screws I don't agree with. I hate to speak my mind, but I like to tell it like it is (at least the way I see it). Some applications that have quickie fixes aren't always the best way to proceed.
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post #6 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 10:31 AM
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I have 1/100 (or less) the knowledge and experience of Cabinetman but I agree with him.

On the pic, you can see a coffee table that I made in Japan some 10 years ago and it moved from Japan - to Israel -to Poland...simple butt joint...still, it's difficult to see where is the glue line...

niki

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post #7 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 10:37 AM
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If you have a good jointer that can do a good job, butt joints with glue and clamping is probably the best way to go--with biscuits or splines if you so desire. I would NOT try to glue up a tabletop with pocket screws--I wouldn't like the underside of a tabletop to look like Swiss cheese, and there is ALWAYS the possibility of the screw taking a wrong turn and penetrating the top. Pocket holes have their place, but not, IMHO, on a tabletop glue-up.

Nancy

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post #8 of 39 Old 08-05-2007, 02:20 PM
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joining boards

Perhaps I have been a bit too enthusiastic re pocket holes, but I do not have a jointer, router, table saw, or morticer.

thus if I don't use pocket screws then would have to screw on batten underneath or use metal straps.

questioner did say he was new to woodworking and therefore may have few tools. If he has to buy a router, jointer etc, then may as well buy the table in the first place as likely to be cheaper.
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post #9 of 39 Old 08-06-2007, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, this is some qood stuff!

formula462, by sufficient pressure, if I have a series of clamps, evenly distributed along the clamps what would sufficient pressure be?

Johnep, thanks for the pointing to the Kreg site.

I have one board that I plan on planing up and cross cutting, using a router to smooth the edge before gluing (I do not have a jointer).

edp, long grain to long grain...taking the crosscut sections and gluing along the edges that were not crosscut....is this long grain to long grain?

Nancy, you mention a good jointer...do you have success using a table mounted router to smooth the edges?

Cabinetman...I'm planning on four sections of app eight inch width(three joins) gluing at the same time....two wide or would you do one join at a time? I just did a search on the web for 'caul' and

Niki, I can't see the joins....which is what we're after.....

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the help. I am writing this in Africa where I am away from my project. It gives me a lot of time to think up questions, but not much time to research. When I get back to the project I find I have a lot of questions when I get ready for the next step.

Terry McManus
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post #10 of 39 Old 08-06-2007, 08:56 AM
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Terry

Yeah you got it right, placing the boards side by side so that the grain is running in the same direction is "long grain to long grain".
If you are going to use a router as your jointer, might I suggest using a hand held router and a straight edge clamped to the board as a guide. Route an edge, place this against teh rip fence on the tablesaw and cut the other edge paralell.

Ed

p.s. the Kreg pocket screws are a great assett for joining the apron to the legs for your table.
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post #11 of 39 Old 08-06-2007, 06:45 PM
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sufficient pressure will be when you get an even glue squeeze out from the joints and as stated use cauls to hold the work flat
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post #12 of 39 Old 08-07-2007, 04:27 PM
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Folowing comment about 'swiss cheese' I decided to experiment with filling pocket holes. first I cut some 3/8" dowel and this worked fine, then tried wood filler.

If pocket holes underneath a table then a casual glance would be unlikely to notice. If your guests are regularly under the table for whatever reason, then yes pocket holes may be seen even if filled.

Unless your guest is an experienced woodworker, not likely to cause any comment.

Today used pocket holes to make a T beam under a sagging shelf. would have been very difficult to do any other way.
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post #13 of 39 Old 08-07-2007, 10:25 PM
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they do make plugs specifically for the pocket hole,looks pretty good as far as a pocket hole goes....
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post #14 of 39 Old 08-07-2007, 10:58 PM
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Glue and butt, it's been done for a few hundred years (with FAR less superior glues than we have now, bone glue, rosins...) I do some resto work on 150 yr old+ furniture, with proper joinery you still cannot take it apart without breaking wood fibers . Good joint, "dry wood",clamped well it will outlast you...and your heirs. I am not even going to reread this thread and comment on any other suggestions (pocket holes?)
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post #15 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 03:07 AM
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Ah Yes. methods of construction should be for the type of product you are producing. For fine heirloom quality furniture, then nothing but fancy dovetails etc. However, being a philistine and completely non artistic I could never aspire to the quality of work shown on this site.

I can only produce practical functional items and previous joints have been made with angle brackets or end screws. Hence, to me, pocket screws are a revolution.

each to their own.
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post #16 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 07:32 AM
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I did not mean for my post to sound snide and directed at any one in particular. I could have been more pleasant in my response. I had a bad day yesterday, ever have one of those ? Terry is new to woodworking and should stick to the basics/tried and true for the first project. We who have been at it a little while get caught up in the woodworking tool catalogs that get foisted on us and get a little "tool happy" at times . Most often, but not always, the simpler the better. I have seen some mighty fine table top joints made with a hand plane, glue, and a 1/2 dozen clamps. Contrary to popular belief it does not take $20,000 worth of tools to make a $200 table .
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post #17 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 07:50 AM
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A glue joint, when done properly, is definitely the best way. However, having said that, and having been a pocket hole fan, I MUST tell you to go out and buy a Festool Domino. You can do everything you want with that and you might not even need glue with the precision of that machine. All roads lead to the Domino now. :-)
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post #18 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 06:26 PM
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Hi Daren

I must agree with you in two things...

Yes, everybody has "one of those days" and sometimes it's reflected at home or in the forum...

And yes, it does not take $20,000 to make a table...

My "heavy machinery" includes Table saw and Router (no planer, jointer, band saw, radial arm saw) and still I could make the unit in the pic (3 separate units) and I don't have Panel raising router bit nor strong enough router to turn it.

Terry
The glue-line of the coffee table top on the pic above was made first on the table saw and then refined with 1 Meter (1 Yard) of #60 sanding paper stick to an L shape, and sanding till I got tight fit.

You said that you have a router so it's easier and quicker to do it with a straight edge and you get 100% fit every time or as I call it "Idiot proof method" (because I know myself).

I will post a new post titled "Glue line with hand held router", the idea is not new at all, I just improved it for easy positioning of the straight edge.

Regards
niki

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post #19 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 06:31 PM
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Niki is that your work? Very impressive. Thanks for posting the pictures we like that.
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post #20 of 39 Old 08-08-2007, 06:41 PM
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Thank you so much TexasTimber

I posted it just to re-enforce Daren's opinion that you don't need a $20,000 equipment to make it.

If you noticed the Bonsai...it's of plastic ...but the planter is made of wood

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