Primitive table top twists - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Question Primitive table top twists

I am helping a friend who is making a primitive dining room table out of hard maple abut 2" thick. The top is 2 slabs about 18" wide and 80" long with bark on the outer edges and the two slabs edge glued together. There is a terrible twist in the table top. When it is placed on a flat surface one can place a 1" spacer under diagonal corners to keep it from rocking. He has already tried to flatten it by overstraightening and clamping for a month with no results. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 12:45 PM
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plane it flat with a router sled if there is sufficient thickness to sacrifice to such a significant curve.

cut it into 6" strips, joint and plane, rejoin.

both options suck, maybe someone else has a better idea.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 04:34 PM
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I'd say the router sled would be the way to go, but if you can get a 1" spacer in there, it may be too much material being removed. By the time you get both sides flat, your top would be too thin.

I'd try and cut it up and re-glue.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 04:47 PM
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Trying to plane it down in any fashion would result in a lot of material loss given the amount of twist/cupping. Unless he wants his 2" top to turn into a 1" or less top I would abandon it.

Any way you cut it, if 2" thick wood is twisted that bad you wont have enough material left to work with for a table top by the time you mill it down.

Last edited by Chamfer; 12-19-2014 at 04:50 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 04:56 PM
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I don't know if a skirt was part of the original design but I think it is the only way to flatten out a top like that permanently. You need a pretty solid way to attach the legs anyway for a top that heavy.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 05:31 PM
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I think if it is twisted it will continue to twist and no matter what you do to it you will end up having to replace the top. You might as well save yourself a lot of work and get some different wood now.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-19-2014, 05:43 PM
where's my table saw?
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slabs that large will twist

You can cut them into 6" wide planks, but there is an issue with twisted boards on a table saw....kickback. The twist will cause the work to either wedge against the blade or the fence and jam or kickback.

A better method would be to use a circular saw and a straight edge to rip the pieces into 6" planks. The next issue is that the edges won't be 90 degrees to the faces for proper joining and glue up because the wood is slightly twisted. A 6" jointer will surface and square the edges ...if you have one?

Planing or a router sled will waste too much material. JMO. It's a tough call to just abandon the whole top without trying something. also JMO.

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 #8 of 10 Old 12-20-2014, 12:22 AM
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Everyone is giving advice on "untwisting" but you need to know first is WHY it's twisting. What is the MC checking???? is it fresh off sawmill???? It definitely doesn't sound dry. Did it twist as soon as unclamped??? after finishing??? after installing in a house??? was it finished only on one side???
I've worked with maple from start/logging through building heirloom pieces.What I find when most people have this type of issues are:
#1 is usually Moisture Content issue usually way too high and NOWHERE close to a safe area range of 6-10% to build interior furniture at.
#2 is a design flaw preventing the top to "float" as MC changes....YES it will constantly change the rest of it's build for it.
#3 inexperience in glueup joints....sloppy workmanship...lack of knowledge.

You came to the right place....MOST of the guys here are great about helping and I'd take advice from them....BUT NOT ALL. As the beginning statement says inbetween the lines....we sometimes forget to go back to the beginning and get enough info...we assume all this was correct. I was over on competitions website (not allowed to mention names here!!! LOL)and a newbie doing the "rustic" thing had been given bad advice prior to asking for guidance, his cabinet guy said it would be dry enough if AD for 1 month after sawing ...WRONG!!!!.

Believe me ALL of us have made at least a FEW mistakes but IF we learned from it we became better at our trade.

Give us more history on the wood and your skills along with the top's setup and we can give you more accurate advice. ALL the untwisting advice won't do any good IF the MC is'll warp again.

Check out my website to see the many stages of sawing and drying...ALSO note EVEN at my best there is still wood that will twist in the drying stage...we attempt to tame it but some has a mind of it's own....then we build accordingly to it's character.

Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim John 3:16-21 ..........
Reveling God's awesome beauty while creating one of-a-kind flitches and heirlooms.

Last edited by Tennessee Tim; 12-20-2014 at 12:30 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much. I will ask my friend to write some history of the slabs and bring whatever he provides to the forum.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-21-2014, 06:55 PM
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trying to flatten a 2 inch thick slab will be virtually impossible. short of through bolting it to steel beams underneath, or an 8 inch thick post, you're just going to be out of luck.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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