How to join 4x4 posts to make thick table top? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-05-2016, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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How to join 4x4 posts to make thick table top?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum so apologies if this question has been asked elsewhere. I'd like to glue up several 4x4 hem fir posts (6' long) to make a tabletop. Yes, it's going to be heavy as heck, but I'm ok with that. I'd like the table to be perfectly flat, but the corners of each post are currently slightly rounded. Additionally, there are varying amounts of bowing in each post. What's the best way to join/square the faces of each post so they're flush when I glue and clamp?

I have 10" table saw, 7.25" circular saw, and router. I don't have easy access to a bandsaw, joiner, or planer.

Thanks for any help!

Adrian
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-05-2016, 11:48 PM
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The process is the same for 4x4's as 3/4". Probably what I would do is glue together as many 4x4's as the width will allow in your planer. Glue them up and surface them to a uniform thickness. Then straighten them out on a jointer and glue the sections together to make the top. Since it will be heavy and thick you might size the wood so when the top is glued together it is the correct size. Then put a piece of 3/4" stock on both sides to protect the edges from clamp marks.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 04:06 AM
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Without the very least, a decent hand plane you're in for a tough time with this idea and without quite a bit of practice even then you're unlikely to get it true and flat.
There is another option that might work for you, a router sled and a 1" flat bit..
First glue the edges, clamp and let dry then use the router to finish it up..
If I'm not mistaken there are a few threads here on making a router sled and you can acquire an inexpensive router at Harbor Freight if you don't already have a router..
Here's a google link to router sleds..
/search?q=router+sled&oq=router+s&aqs=chrome.1.69i5 7j0l3.7051j0j4&client=ms-android-hms-tmobile-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#xxri=0

Woops.. I guess the entire link would be more helpful..
https://www.google.com/search?q=rout...obile&ie=UTF-8

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 12-06-2016 at 04:08 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 06:40 AM
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You first have to get square, flat surfaces to glue these posts together. That is going to be a problem without a jointer. You can do it by hand, but it will take time and a lot of practice first.

After you do this you can start working on making the top flat. I think the router method will be best for that task.

George
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 08:04 AM
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use a different type of wood!

Quote:
Originally Posted by utadrian View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum so apologies if this question has been asked elsewhere. I'd like to glue up several 4x4 hem fir posts (6' long) to make a tabletop. Yes, it's going to be heavy as heck, but I'm ok with that. I'd like the table to be perfectly flat, but the corners of each post are currently slightly rounded. Additionally, there are varying amounts of bowing in each post. What's the best way to join/square the faces of each post so they're flush when I glue and clamp?

I have 10" table saw, 7.25" circular saw, and router. I don't have easy access to a bandsaw, joiner, or planer.

Thanks for any help!

Adrian
4 X 4 post with rounded corners will cause you untold grief for this project. You don't have the proper machines to do this,.... a jointer and a thickness planer. You can't get there from here.

So, if you want a thick table there is another way. You can make it look thick by adding a piece of wood all around the edge of a thinner glue up, maybe 3/4" or 1 1/2" thick boards without the "rounded corners". You may as well use hardwood boards if you are going to all this work. The cost of the wood will be greater, but you will have a "cool" table afterwards.




The other issue with 4 X 4's is that they always split! They are cut from the center of the log and shrink. Look and the end of a 4 X 4 and you'll see what I mean.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
4 X 4 post with rounded corners will cause you untold grief for this project. You don't have the proper machines to do this,.... a jointer and a thickness planer. You can't get there from here.

So, if you want a thick table there is another way. You can make it look thick by adding a piece of wood all around the edge of a thinner glue up, maybe 3/4" or 1 1/2" thick boards without the "rounded corners". You may as well use hardwood boards if you are going to all this work. The cost of the wood will be greater, but you will have a "cool" table afterwards.




The other issue with 4 X 4's is that they always split! They are cut from the center of the log and shrink. Look and the end of a 4 X 4 and you'll see what I mean.
Outstanding advice, especially what I've highlighted in red. You will invest a tremendous amount of time joining the 4x4 posts. Then find out that you've chosen an extremely poor material for you project. Your next post here will be "why did my table split?".

Save the posts for the legs, use better wood for the top.

My Daughter and I built this table with a wide edge as woodnthings describes.

woodnthings and meserj like this.

Last edited by shoot summ; 12-06-2016 at 09:27 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. The router sled is a good idea for making the tabletop flat after final glue-up. I've used that approach for an end-grain cutting board before, to varying success (the top came out flat, but I noticed router bit "trails" in the maple and walnut. That's a different post altogether).

Agreed with everyone that getting the 4x4 faces flat without a router or planer will be difficult, which is what prompted this post in the first place. I was wondering if there were any secret tricks to do this without said equipment, but it sounds like the answer is no.

woodnthings - thanks for the feedback on fir posts. I'll keep this in mind for future projects. Your table looks great! What kind of wood did you use?

Same comment for shoot summ - great looking piece. What kind of wood?

Thanks everyone!
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 07:48 PM
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not my table!

Quote:
Originally Posted by utadrian View Post
.....

woodnthings - thanks for the feedback on fir posts. I'll keep this in mind for future projects. Your table looks great! What kind of wood did you use?

......

Thanks everyone!
Not my table, just an image I grabbed off the web. It does look nice though.....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 01:12 PM
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I just stumbled upon this post but it sounded somewhat similar to my issue.
Are any of these steps like planing critical if I wanted to glue 4x4’s together for a bench seat to set within my outdoor concrete structure?
My plan was to of course glue,sand,stain,wearherize and use lag bolts toward the edges in intervals to hold the bench down to the concrete.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-11-2019, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swolyo View Post
I just stumbled upon this post but it sounded somewhat similar to my issue.
Are any of these steps like planing critical if I wanted to glue 4x4‚€™s together for a bench seat to set within my outdoor concrete structure?
My plan was to of course glue,sand,stain,wearherize and use lag bolts toward the edges in intervals to hold the bench down to the concrete.
With any wood you have to be careful bolting it down. Wood will expand and contract with the weather and you need to fasten it down in a manor that will allow it to do that. If where you are bolting it down the mounting holes in the bench are elongated then that would be alright to use lag screws. You don't tighten them down hard, you just make it snug enough the wood doesn't rattle. Then if the wood shrinks it can do that.

What happens if you fasten wood down so tight that it restricts movement is the outer edges are locked in place. Then when the wood shrinks it can't so the wood will often split to releave the pressure.
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