Wood movement questions — coffee table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Wood movement questions — coffee table

I am hoping someone can help me with two wood movement questions. I am trying to make a coffee table from an old stained glass window. Question 1: The table will have a rabbeted top frame that sits atop (and fits into) a main box. It must be removable so I can access electrical components inside the table. Currently the frame has a friction fit, but I’m wondering if I should be cutting the rabbet wider to allow for movement — and perhaps then adding some sort of rubber inserts to keep the frame from moving around? Question 2: I am ordering a 3/8-inch piece of protective glass that will sit on a shoulder just above the antique glass. How much shorter should that glass be than the overall opening, to allow for movement? The seam between the glass and window will be somewhat visible, so I’d rather not have a huge gap if I can avoid it. Hopefully that all made sense!

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Last edited by difalkner; 11-06-2019 at 09:31 AM. Reason: show photos
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 10:21 AM
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Good morning MN1987,
I've done some stained glass in the past. How are you supporting that stained glass inside the box? I don't think you can rely on the weight of the glass to be supported by the solder. Over time I think it will sag without good support, and eventually destruct.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 10:34 AM
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I did not think about it before. but Possum has a good point.
stained glass projects are made to be installed vertically - not horizontally.
this project requires a bit more planning.
if you have a stained glass shop in your area, it might be to your advantage
to drop by and ask them for their ideas on your project.
GREAT photos, BTW - it helps to tell your story. good work !!

Edit: can you put another piece of glass under the stained glass panel
for support ?? it will never be seen, if you have room in the rabbet.
.

.
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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 11-06-2019 at 11:10 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 11:04 AM
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The reason for frame and panel construction is that the narrow frame members won’t change enough to cause problems. The size of the panel and its larger amount of movement is what you need to worry about. Since you are using glass, you won’t need to worry about wood movement. The frames will expand and contract outwards if glass is constraining movement.

Work out support for the stain glass and proceed with project. Maybe a glass sandwich with a couple narrow standoffs to keep the glass “sandwich” from sagging.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that sagging question, as this is another thing that’s been on my mind. My thought was that it might not be a problem because of a piece of moulding trim on the underside of the window that effectively supports the shoulder area on the top side (see images). Do you think I should build in more support? I will reach out to the stained glass shop, but if you have any suggestions for that it would also be appreciated. I see a suggestion for another piece of glass, but I guess I’m not following how that would reduce the sagging — since the antique glass is not flush with the window frame.
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Last edited by MN1987; 11-06-2019 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Spelling/update
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 12:55 PM
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I'm thinking hinge it like a door, couple magnets to hold it tight. Then the rabbets can be loose fitting or whatever you want.



I'd be more worried about warping than movement. Assuming the wood is well acclimated, it should be negligible. I suggest you keep the wood stored in the house for a while prior to assembly.


Regardless, I would be looking at some way of holding the panel down flat, as mentioned, magnets would be a good way to do this.
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, DrRobert. Magnets are a good suggestion to hold it down. Do you think I should back off the rabbet a bit for movement purposes? Or will wood movement not be much of an issue?
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 02:05 PM
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It appears the window has substantial support if those solid bars run side to side, I think you should try it as originally planned.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN1987 View Post
Thanks for that sagging question, as this is another thing that’s been on my mind. My thought was that it might not be a problem because of a piece of moulding trim on the underside of the window that effectively supports the shoulder area on the top side (see images). Do you think I should build in more support? I will reach out to the stained glass shop, but if you have any suggestions for that it would also be appreciated. I see a suggestion for another piece of glass, but I guess I’m not following how that would reduce the sagging — since the antique glass is not flush with the window frame.
I doubt the frame moulding will be enough to support your glass; in fact I'm sure it won't. It looks like the glass is held together using channel frame, which is stronger than traditional solder. But that just means it'll take a little longer to sag.

Glass underneath the stained glass would allow your light to shine through without shadows you'd get from other structure support methods. If you use tempered glass underneath (especially if it's designed for tabletops), it will not sag, and should provide ample support for your antique (bolded for importance) stained glass.

Until you have some proper support for that stained glass, do as was mentioned before and store it vertically.

P.S. Your project looks very nice so far. I look forward to seeing it complete.
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Opposum. And I appreciate the kind words -- I've really tried to challenge myself with this project, which has been ongoing for quite some time. How would you suggest supporting that lower glass?
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-06-2019, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN1987 View Post
Thanks, Opposum. And I appreciate the kind words -- I've really tried to challenge myself with this project, which has been ongoing for quite some time. How would you suggest supporting that lower glass?
It looks like the quarter round moulding you are currently using is at the very bottom of the table top? So no way to move it further down to account for the depth of another piece of glass.

What if you move up, instead? The top wouldn't be flat, but you could border the top glass with wood. Chosen right, might make a nice accent?

So there's another potential problem; that top, with 3 layers of glass, is gonna be HeAvY. And obviously, fragile. And you'll need to ensure that the way you construct the top can hold the weight of all that glass. Hopefully moving the table, or accessing the electrics isn't going to be a frequent occurrence.

Just so you don't feel discouraged, we've all had our first "well thought out" projects, and had lots of questions. And we've all screwed up, and had to move backwards. And we've all learned from our mistakes. Part of the fun.
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-07-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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That quarter-round piece is actually part of the original window. So I'd rather not mess with it too much if possible. A friend posed another possible solution -- curious what you think. He suggested supporting the lead with clear acrylic material assembled into a cross with a half-lap joint. Then I would add several acrylic posts at the base of the box to support that cross. That might eliminate the need for extra glass, and give the middle of the window something to sit on.
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-07-2019, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN1987 View Post
That quarter-round piece is actually part of the original window. So I'd rather not mess with it too much if possible. A friend posed another possible solution -- curious what you think. He suggested supporting the lead with clear acrylic material assembled into a cross with a half-lap joint. Then I would add several acrylic posts at the base of the box to support that cross. That might eliminate the need for extra glass, and give the middle of the window something to sit on.
I think the acrylic is certainly something to look into. You might consider more than just one crossmember to support more of the window. Building a structure that supports all of the window joints would be optimal. Better safe than sorry.

Depending on your light source, acrylic may still introduce some shadowing, but the effect may not be noticeable.
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