tabletop out of hardwood floor - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-25-2008, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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tabletop out of hardwood floor

I (possible stupidly) decided to order enough hardwood flooring to make a tabletop. It's going to be 3 feet wide, and about 4 1/2 feet long, made of 2 1/4 inch strips.

I just wanted to seek someone else's advice before I go ahead and start building the thing. First of all, do I have enough bracing underneath? The apron will be 1x3 red oak from home depot (cost more than the entire surface...), and the legs will be whatever I can find for cheap. How do I attach the surface, especially considering that the end pieces are hardly supported?

Second, what kind of glue should I use? The planks fit together tightly, but I'm sure that the amount of surface contact is nothing like with standard joining using biscuits. Lacking power tools this is what I've got though... I figure on using yellow glue, but would poly be better? The finish will be stain topped with polyurethane.

Third, I didn't realize this when I ordered the wood, but it's beveled so there will be grooves on the table. I don't think I've seen this before in a kitchen table, so how can I fix the grooves? Will expansion affect the filler material?

Alright that's it for now, but I will keep you guys updated on this somewhat experimental project! Thanks
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-25-2008, 10:54 PM
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green. Hardwood flooring, especially red oak moves a lot. (expansion contraction) it's why there is a substantial space left where the boards meet the wall when flooring is laid down. Red oak is notorious for cupping when making large tables out of it hence the reason for good ol' oak plywood. You can alternate end grain patterns to limit your table from bowing, but this won't do you much good since you have flooring planks which has the back side plowed out with large grooves (I'm assuming. That's how most flooring is milled to allow for air flow) If you glue it. It will most likely crack "somewhere" the pressure has to release itself laterally in most cases.

So here's my second thought. I got a chuckle when I started reading your post because about ten years ago I took two large barrel fulls of red oak flooring scraps 3.25" wide from a job that was laying out near the dumpster. After staring at it for a few months I decided "Hey, why not make a small work bench top out of this!" Ten years later the bench still stands. The surface actually never gapped, but some of the shoddy wrap around treatment I did just for appearance has huge gaps in it. Do not glue it up. If it's tongue/groove just let it float. but they will need something snug around them to keep them in place.

I actually now have MDF screwed down to the top of it. MDF makes a nice cheap, disposable and flat work surface that you can replace as soon as it gets all nastied up.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-25-2008, 11:18 PM
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Greenbeing.
You got some good advice from joesdad and I agree with him , also I would like to add that if you use polyurethane and the wood moves it can cause cracks and runs in the surface it does not happen all the time however it can.

This is only my opinion others may think differently.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-26-2008, 12:04 AM
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greenbeing...just re read your post. You said the apron is red oak. It would help if I'd read things more than once before spewing my long winded stories. So after looking again at the pic you posted, what are the surface boards, maple? Same theory applies, but not as nasty as oak.

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-26-2008, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, thanks for the responses, I wasn't expecting them so soon! The top is 3/4 inch thick, 2 1/4 inch wide American Cherry. I also forgot to mention that I'll be moving from Colorado to Illinois in 6 months, which is a significant increase in humidity....so I probably don't have to worry about the boards shrinking.

I was thinking that I should build a poplar frame and glue the planks to that, but not to each other. Maybe use some of that flexible construction adhesive. I want a tough coating since we'll have dogs and I, well I just like the satisfaction of having turned wood into something I can spill water on without worry. Yes I would prefer hand rubbed oil, but it's not durable enough. Can I coat the whole surface at once, or should I individually seal each plank then assemble them with glue from below?
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-26-2008, 05:42 AM
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My area of (laugh) expertise is in turning logs into lumber - not lumber into finished goods. But I see it differently. I would glue the flooring up. Then attach it to the frame in such a way that the attachment points could slide to compensate for seasonal moisture changes. You definately don't want to glue the boards to the frame.

I know you dont have power tools but if you could get a router and a table saw with the appropriate attachments you could make a breadboard sides.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-26-2008, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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After drooling over some expensive select-grade flooring, I decided to order another $18 box of cherry. I'll assemble it as flat as I can, then trim the edges square with my pull saw. If I do a breadboard it's going to be "interesting". Probably I'd get 1x2 oak, tack it onto all 4 corners, then permanently tie it to the top with dowels drilled through to look like pegs. Somehow this is going to have to stay the same length as the 5 foot edge, which according to various sources could expand up to an inch. Maybe I should just find someone with a router lol.

Last edited by greenbeing2; 08-26-2008 at 08:33 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-26-2008, 10:16 PM
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When you drill the holes for the dowels through the breadboard and ends of the boards (max 3 holes) remove the breadboard and elongate the both outside holes on the boards so they can shrink and expand with moisture changes. Likewise, cut the slot in the breadboard longer than necessary to give room for expansion.
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