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post #1 of 8 Old 05-30-2008, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Table Trim

Hey, I'm currently working on an oblong table that's posted in the design and plans section and was trying to figure out what to do about the outer edge of the tabletop.

I've heard that since I've made it out of several 4" strips of wood, there's a risk of them separating at the edge if I don't put something on that will hold them together. Seeing as I don't have the tools needed to steam a peice of wood to wrap it around the corner I was thinking of layering 4 - 1/4" strips of Veneer.

Also, since it would be difficult to match the grain exactly, I was thinking I would choose different wood types for each layer either in a zebra pattern or gradually fading from dark to light. Also, I will be using a roundover bit on the top and bottom, so the different layers will be a little more visable.

I just wanted to know if anyone had done anything like this in the past and how it turned out.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-30-2008, 05:29 PM
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Squillis, since I've been posting in your other post regarding this project, I'll add my two cents here too.

Steam bending is actually very easy and doesn't require much at all. I've built a steam box from a couple of 2x4s and duct tape that worked perfectly well. 1 8' 2x4 cut in half for 2 4' pieces, topped with a 1x6" board and "capped" with duct tape on one end and a towel on the other. I used some 1/4" thick flexible tubing (like for a clothes washer) and a standard tea kettle to put the steam into the box. The whole thing cost me about $8 and was easy to take apart when I was finished. If you need longer than a 4' box, just adjust accordingly. (I made an 8' box also for about $12.)

Basically I just steamed the box first, then stuck my materials (I was making kayaks) into the box for about 90 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes, depending upon dimensions of the piece, and then removed them and immediately bent them around my frames. If you have a reverse cut from your table top (the left overs of the piece you cut the top from) you could use that to help support the edge piece and clamp while it takes shape. Generally you only have a minute or two out of the steamer to get your bend set and then it more or less stays. I'd clamp for longer than that though, say 5 to 10 minutes, and then it will retain it's shape well and you can either glue or nail/screw (or both) it to the table edge. If you glue it, make sure to wait until all the moisture from the steam has dried or your glue won't make a good bond and it will de-lam.

That said, if you have a thin strip (say 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) of 1" wide veneer, you shouldn't have any problems bending that without steaming. You could do the same with a slightly thicker piece of oak stained as an accent/contrast piece to your table top but it may require the steaming. Either way, you wouldn't have to worry about grain matching multiple pieces unless you really want to worry about it for a stylized accent.


Last edited by frankp; 05-30-2008 at 05:34 PM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-01-2008, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot Frank, I'll definitely have to look into making one of those steam boxes and testing a couple pieces to bend. If possible, I'd like to put a strip that's 1.5"-2" of the same red oak around the edge, I think this would draw little enough contrast to fit the rest of the table, but enough to (around the part it perpendicular to the grain) show it off. I'll let you know how it went in a few days!
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-01-2008, 10:28 AM
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Could you post a pic or two of the box? I'm having a senior moment and can't get in my head how that goes together. Thanks...

I cut that board three times and it's STILL too short!!!...
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-01-2008, 01:30 PM
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Frank, If you could post a picture of the Kayak...that would be cool! I have a bunch of Red Cedar and would love to build a Kayak. Rick

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-02-2008, 09:28 AM
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pianoman, I think there are a few pics of my kayak in my gallery or whatever the new photos thing is. I didn't do a strip boat though (which is most likely what you'd want to do with the red cedar) as I built mine from 4mm Okoume panels.

Terry, sorry I didn't take any pictures of the box. Literally all I did was tape up a box with two 2x4 boards parallel to each other and the 1x6 boards against the short edge of the 2x4s. Duct tape did the rest. I taped the boards together and taped one end to close it off. I used a hand towel draped over the other end as a "door" that I could easily get boards in and out of when necessary.

Hopefully this google sketchup will work (it's a JPEG)

Table Trim-steambox.jpg
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-02-2008, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Steam Box

Hey Frank, I built that steam box, and though it seemed to work decently, after speaking with my grandfather, I'm gonna try a change on it. Instead of using lumber, I'll use an 8ft long piece of PVC pipe. The disadvantage I had is when I had a board in there there were always 3 sides exposed to the steam, but 1 was face down and didn't heat up. When I pull the test board out, the outer 3 sides were soft and wet (and hot) but the bottom was dry (and only warm). If I were to use a piece of PVC pipe, I would have all 4 sides exposed as there would be a gap underneath the board letting the whole thing steam. Anyways, sorry I tend to drag on when I type while tired. Let me know what you think of this mod.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-03-2008, 10:36 AM
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Squillis, I'd say you probably needed to steam it a little longer, but the PVC is also an excellent solution. It will make it easier to get even steaming (though it shouldn't be a major issue) which will reduce the likelihood of tear out during bending. Just get a cap for one end and it will have the added benefit of not having the walls of the "box" absorb any of the steam. You'll probably need less time "preheating" the box and your woods will steam faster, so probably a better solution than mine. I'd still get only a 3" or 4" pipe though, (assuming that you don't plan on steaming any larger pieces) as too large a volume will be take longer to fill with steam and will have more temperature variance at different areas of the pipe.
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