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post #1 of 32 Old 01-21-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Dining room table top

I'm looking to build a dining room table, and it has become clear that doing it with biscuits is not going to work. We're talking about 3' wide & 8' long, give or take. The main thing is I don't have acess to a planer that big, so after glue-up, the top has to be very flat already, enough to clean up with a random orbit sander. The equipment I do have is a 6" jointer, table saw, 12" planer, and router. Obviously, some type of interlocking joint is in order. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 32 Old 01-21-2010, 08:29 PM
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What are you using the biscuits for that you say they won't work.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #3 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 01:45 AM
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build it in smaller sections and then join the sections.
use a caul and clamp system to keep the section's tops relative to each other.

Read this Forum Topic starting here: http://www.diychatroom.com/f49/gulf-...26/#post372059

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post #4 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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On my last project, (a Nightstand), it was clear biscuits won't work because even on those small panels, there was some misalignment. I had to pay a local wodworking shop to plane the top. The problem would only be bigger with a large tabletop. And I did use cauls on that project, didn't totally work. I can't afford to take a couple hundred dollars worth of lumber and take a chance on it being misaligned when assembled, and then have to go on a bug hunt for a planer big enough to handle it.

Last edited by TooPicky; 01-22-2010 at 05:45 AM.
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post #5 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 07:32 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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The best way is a commercial Wide Belt Sander

http://www.grizzly.com/products/43-2...t-Sander/G0486
After you've done your best to align the planks with splines in a dado or slot, or a glue joint bit and used cauls on the glue up. A ROS will take forever to remove a mis-alignment. A portable hand held belt sander, 3" or 4", is better than a ROS, but requires a skilled operator. The learning curve isn't too bad but not on your finished workpiece.
If you have a router hand or table use this type of bit:
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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 32 Old 01-22-2010, 07:43 AM
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As Woodnthings says, use a wide belt sander. It is not that difficult to learn to use. I have an older 3" sander that I use to smooth any large built up surfaces.

For the most part I just let the weight of the sander do the work. I keep the sander moving and have the direction of belt rotation along the grain.

There is no inherent reason for biscuit joints to be out of alignment. It really is a matter of technique and careful attention. That is unless you have a biscuit jointer that is itself not good. That does happen. I know because I once had one.

George
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post #7 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 09:00 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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"Wide Belt Sander"

Is not a hand held sander. It is a cabinet shop machine 30" - 50" in width used for surfacing doors and large surface panels. Planers wide enough to do a dining room table top would be difficult to find. A commercial door maker will have a wide belt sander and probably finish sand it beautifully for a nominal fee. bill
http://www.grizzly.com/products/43-2...t-Sander/G0486

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-22-2010 at 02:15 PM.
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post #8 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 10:12 AM
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If you can`t hier a wide belt sander...the router bit joint is good for alignment. And the old school way of flatening a top is to use a long (maybe 2 ft x 3" wide board that is absolutly flat and sticky back 80 grit sandpaper attached. Sand across grain...then 45 degrees to grain and then finnish with grain...reduce grit as you near the desired flatness. Rick

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post #9 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 10:36 AM
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If you really want to get crazy you could flatten out a top with... dare I say, a hand plane!

I know, it's kind unconventional and all, but it just might work.


With that said I still believe that biscuits are the best way to go with limited tools.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Last edited by Johnny Yuma; 01-22-2010 at 11:28 AM.
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post #10 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 11:03 AM
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If you clamp it up properly and sandwich it between a couple straightedges and take your time you should get them very close. Use plenty clamps and take your time. That said, a belt sander would really help you out.

Josh Jaros Remodeler in The Woodlands, Texas www.jarosbros.com
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post #11 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 12:35 PM
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If you are having difficulties joining a large area because of many boards you can do it in smaller sections. Glue up 3 sections of 2 boards each. Then take the 3 boards and sand them flat while they are small and don't sand to much near the outer edges. Then glue up the three sections and do the same. Or if that is too much just glue up two sections and then add the last one to it.

Make sure your boards are true to begin with. You need to have a square edge on the gluing surface, or two complementary angles. When you joint the board put the face of the 1st board against the jointer fence and the second board away from the jointer fence. So even if your fence is out by a bit the opposite angles will cancel each other out and give you a 180 surface. Put equal pressure on the top as well as the bottom of the glue up. Check to see if it is straight while in the clamps. If it isn't, likely when it comes out it won't be either.

When you are clamping up, start from one end of the board and go to the other. You can adjust the surfaces to be flush as you go along. When it is flush clamp it hard and move onto the next one. A clamp every 8-10" is the way to go. I rarely use biscuits for flat glue ups. But for miters and other types of angles they work great.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #12 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 04:26 PM
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When gluing up boards to become panels or table tops or whatever the process I've found most effective at maintaining alignment is simple but seldom seen in magazines or video instruction. I start by edge gluing only 2 boards at a time. I apply a clamp to one end while ensuring the boards are aligned within a few inches of the first clamp. I move down the board and align the boards in the area around the second clamp. I continue down the length of the boards aligning as I clamp. This process will ensure the surface edges are aligned. I only clamp and glue one joint at a time. I then glue the sections together using the same process.

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post #13 of 32 Old 01-22-2010, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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LeoG & JohnV51, you guys are the most in tune to what I'm doing, I think. After reading everything, I think maybe I should glue up 2 6" boards using biscuits, plane them when dry & then glue up 3 of those to make a 36" top, using the clamp & align method. Actually, I'm in the sheetmetal trade, and we call the machine everyone referred to a strokesander. We have one at work, but the only way we have to work the surface is a 6"x6" hand-held paddle. This might give the same effect, (wavy), as a belt sander. I did try a belt sander on the nightstand top. Didn't go too well....Anyways, thanks everyone for the resposes, and if there are any more please feel free to add your 2 cents....
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post #14 of 32 Old 01-23-2010, 07:33 AM
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With any sander, you can't stay in one spot, you have to keep moving. A trick for using a belt sander is to draw lines perpendicular to the boards and then sand until they all disappear. Keep it moving and don't ever try to stay in one spot to remove unevenness if you want to end up with a flat piece.

Josh Jaros Remodeler in The Woodlands, Texas www.jarosbros.com
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post #15 of 32 Old 01-29-2010, 03:05 PM
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I used all of these techniques when I made my table top. I used 2" wide boards and the porter cable biscuit joiner. For some reason I could not keep all of them perfectly flat so I used a handplane to take some off as well as a belt sander and then finished it off with an orbital sander.
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post #16 of 32 Old 01-31-2010, 08:39 PM
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I have used my router with a slot cutting bit to make tounge and groove joints to glue up table tops. Also, I have made what I think is called a loose tenon joint with my router. Make a mortise on both edges and slide a tenon (much like a biscut but thicker) the thickness of the mortise. Either method will align the boards for glue up and minimal sanding afterwards.
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post #17 of 32 Old 02-01-2010, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooPicky View Post
I'm looking to build a dining room table, and it has become clear that doing it with biscuits is not going to work. We're talking about 3' wide & 8' long, give or take. The main thing is I don't have acess to a planer that big, so after glue-up, the top has to be very flat already, enough to clean up with a random orbit sander. The equipment I do have is a 6" jointer, table saw, 12" planer, and router. Obviously, some type of interlocking joint is in order. Any thoughts?
You could run the top to a shop with a commercial size drum sander to smooth out your top. Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks. Then you could finish up with your orbital sander at home. I used to do this with glued up panels before I bought a Woodmaster drum sander.

James
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post #18 of 32 Old 02-04-2010, 04:12 PM
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I agree with WOODENTHINGS

I think either a glue joint or lock miter type bit would get you the best joint with level faces. After that, you may have to break a sweat and use the ol' hand plane! Make sure it's tuned up well and SHARP and you should have success.

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post #19 of 32 Old 02-04-2010, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I think either a glue joint or lock miter type bit would get you the best joint with level faces. After that, you may have to break a sweat and use the ol' hand plane! Make sure it's tuned up well and SHARP and you should have success.
I'm not going anywhere near a handplane. First, I don't own one, and second, I had terrible luck with them in high school......Could you point me in the direction of a lock miter or glue joint bit that will do a 2" top? Grizzly has some that will do no more than 1" or so, I'd hate to have to go back and clean up the other inch and risk the joint not coming together on the bottom half nicely.
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post #20 of 32 Old 02-05-2010, 06:33 PM
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oops!

I don't know of one that can do a 2" thick. That's quite the beefy table top. You planning on butchering dinner on that?

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