Reclaimed Oak Table Question!!!! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-08-2016, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Reclaimed Oak Table Question!!!!

I have to admit I'm totally new to woodworking!!! However we built a new house last year and my wife found a table idea on Pintrest. I consider myself pretty handy so I made the table out of some 150 year old reclaimed oak from a barn that was taken apart and stacked neatly (outside). Long story short, it turned out much better than I had anticipated and I have since built another one for a family member.

My question is when assembling the table top, there are no gap between the boards, when taken into the house the wood "moves and changes" and gaps form. Is this because of moisture? I should also say, the oaks table boards are 2-3/8"thick x 9-1/4"wide and if they want to move it doesn't seem like I can stop them.

The reason I ask this question, I have had inquiries from other people that want to pay me to build them one. I don't want to take money if I can't guarantee that the table will stay the same as it is when I give it to them.

I have a attached some pictures of the 2 I have already done, would be anxious to see what everyone thinks about them?

Looking forward to getting some input.

Keep in mind I have never done any type of woodworking before this.( not even as much as a shop class in high school)
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-08-2016, 09:23 PM
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I'm not sure what I'm seeing. If the four boards on the first picture were glued together if the joints failed you either didn't joint the wood straight enough or mounted the top so firmly not to allow the wood to shrink. Wood is going to expand and contract with the weather and you have to let it. Rockler sells table fastener clips which is an excellent way to mount a table top to the base. They allow the top to breath. The bottom line is there is too much difference between the humidity levels in your shop and house. The wood is just drying out and shrinking.

The table in the third and fourth picture how did you mount the breadboard ends? Again, wood is going to expand and contract and if you dowel and glue wood in a perpendicular direction it won't work. If the wood on the body of the table shrinks cracks will form. The boards on the ends won't shrink in length so the top will crack to re-leave the pressure. Usually a breadboard end is done with a tongue and groove joint and only glued in the center. This allows the body of the table to expand and contract at will.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-27-2016, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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First 2 pictures- I did glue the joints, and I do realize now that I probably did not joint the wood well enough.

but the second table (bottom 2 pics) I did a much better job getting the boards straight and fitting them together. I did not however glue them, maybe just me inexperience but I didn't think the glue helped with the first table to I did not see any reason to do it on the second. as far as the beadboard end of the table, every board on both tables is secured through framework of the table with structural wood screws (bad idea?) and nothing is jointed or dowels together.

I know now looking back it almost has to be the moisture coming out of the wood, my question is, what should the moisture content be before starting to work on another table. I don't want this to happen again.

thanks for the help!!!
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-27-2016, 02:00 PM
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There is some information in the two links provided that is essential to understand when building tables.

Breadboard ends are made to allow the other boards to expand across their width:

Information on fastening tops to bases is available here:

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #5 of 5 Old 12-27-2016, 03:47 PM
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This is good information. I made a table for the dinning area, and I also noticed the wood would expand / contract depending on the season. However, it is very minor and I'm the only one who noticed. No one else cares. My table top is made of 3 planks of pine wood 1" thick, 12" wide and 72.5" long. I didn't glue them together because I do not have a jointer or planer. So, I just kind of sanded the high spots to the best of my abilities.

Your table looks awesome though. I wish I could find cheap walnut wood plants in CA. Everything is expensive here.
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