Help with a table top and cabinetmaker
Hi all, I am not sure if I put this in the right place, but here I go.
I wanted a table to house a 20 gallon palladium. I settled for a coffee table as it was at the height I wanted, but couldn't find one in the right length. Long story short, I hired a cabinetmaker to build a basic table top that would be 33" x 52". I don't have a lot of money to allocate to this project, so I just ordered a table top and use the apron and legs I already had.
He made it out of three 2 x 11 douglas fir boards from a lumbar yard and doweled and glued them together. Now I told him I would be finishing it myself, with stain and a poly coat, so he would just have to give it a rough sanding and that I had a sander and could do the finer stuff.
He emailed me and said the wood he had bought had warped, so he got some more. The end product I received, the middle board has a crack that goes right through the top and bottom going nearly 3/4's of the length of the board. The crack juts out about an 1/8" in the middle. Neither of the boards on the sides are flat, and one sticks out about 1/4".
When he delivered it to me, me I didn't have a chance to look at it as I was on my way out. But looked it over when I got home that evening and discovered the flaws.
I told him that two of the cleats would be sitting in the middle of the crack in the middle board and fear that they will cause the board to break and that I think I would have to scrub (?)plane everything down just so it will sit level, which was more work that I had planned on doing.
He said he explained that lumbar yard wood is unpredictable and that I should have expected the cracks and warping as it is natural when using lumbar yard wood. (i am not a carpenter, I don't know anything about this, which is why I hired him.) He told me to try and sand everything down and attach it to the apron, regardless, and if it doesn't work, he will refund everything and eat the costs. He was upset that I suggested the planing because he assumed I would have been willing to do that myself, since I didn't tell him to do it when he was building the table. I figured planing wood was a normal part of building tables.
I browsed several forums and tried to find pages that would show me how to repair this, but from what I am gathering, it's not going to work. The screws will rip out from the table top under pressure and I don't have the money to invest in a hand plane. I told him it really isn't going to work, but again, he demanded that I still put in the effort to screw it down and plane/sand it all up and then take pictures to prove it didn't work. He won't give me a refund otherwise.
I have uploaded two pics that show part of the issue.
So, my question for you all is can this thing be salvaged and repaired? Or should I be demanding my money back? I am not a very diplomatic person and tend to solve my problems in ways that are typically frowned upon. So if I should get a refund, how would be the best way to word it?
Thanks for reading..