Joining 2" (8/4) Hard Maple w/ No Jointer? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-17-2019, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Question Joining 2" (8/4) Hard Maple w/ No Jointer?

This will be my first REAL wood project (I've built a lot of stuff, but nothing with hardwood, and nothing that didn't come from Home Depot!) Admittedly, I'm pretty nervous as I want this piece to come out nice, and this wood AIN'T CHEAP! :) I am making a sofa table from 2" (8/4) Hard Maple. It'll be 8.5-9' long x 16" wide. I'll be joining 2 planks at about 8-9" wide each, and they DO have some slight bow/cupping. I need to cut straight/glue line ready edges, as well as cross cut to final length once it's glued up.

I DO have a DeWalt Contractor's table saw w/ a small outfeed table- but even if I create a straight line jig, I seriously doubt I could feed it through properly and consistently enough to get a glue ready edge. I also borrowed a Ryobi Planer, as well as biscuit cutter. I have a small hand planer, but I've never used it, no clue how to tune it, and don't think it's big enough for the length of stock I'm working with...

I plan on planing each plank the best I can until they both seem relatively flat on each side. I'm considering clamping a manufactured edge as a guide- and using either a flush trim router bit, or, a 10" circular saw for the glue line edges. I'd still need to cross cut to final length once glued up.

1) Which is better to use- router or circular saw?
2) Is there a GOOD manufactured edge I could buy at the big box stores that's 9-10' long? I was considering a metal stud (makes me a tad nervous if I'm using a flush trim bit and the bit slightly knicking the metal stud)?
3) Probably most important- which blade/bit should I use? I'm on a budget so a nice $100+ blade is out of the equation. I don't mind a $30-ish blade if it's possible :) Keep in mind I'll also need to cross cut to final length once glued up.
4) Once cut, should I lightly sand the glue line edges before gluing up, or leave them be?
5) Any other advice for tackling this project?

I sincerely appreciate all input on this project! Thank you!
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-17-2019, 10:01 AM
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It will be extremely difficult to get edges jointed well enough to glue directly off any type of saw.

The usual approach in milling is to get one face flat, plane other face parallel then address the edges. There are several ways to get one face flat: jointing by machine, with a hand plane, or a router sled jig. I highly recommend doing this in stages and stickering for at least a week to allow the wood to acclimate. Do NOT take the boards down to final thickness yet.

Next you need to address twist. Twist can be an issue that follows you all the way through a project. This is using done with winding sticks and a hand plane.

Now you can address the edges. In your situation, my approach would be start with a straight line rip of one edge, then tune with a #7 or 8 jointer plane. You may achieve a glue joint good enough to satisfy you, but if you're looking for an invisible glue line, I just don't think there's a more reliable way than a jointer plane.

Take your time, use an accurate square and straight edge & frequently check your work.

Last edited by DrRobert; 12-17-2019 at 11:10 AM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-19-2019, 06:35 AM
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A couple of comments,with a question included.First of all you will need to get the maple planed on both surfaces-whatever you decide to do-and not only planed but parallel too.At which point you can cut the joint faces with a router,using the "mirror cut" technique that kitchen fitters use to join solid surface worktops.You will need a straight edge on one side of the joint and it should be set so that it is about 1/16 further from the edge of the board than your router base is wide as you will be using it to guide the router.The other board needs to be set so that it is a little less than the tool diameter away.Then you can cut along the gap,skimming a little off both sides and going down in stages as it is a huge depth to attempt in one cut.It won't matter if the straight edge is a tiny bit off dead straight as the trajectory of the router will be out by the same discrepancy on both edges and they should fit.

You do need to be very careful not to allow the router to drift away from the straight edge at all times.It would be easier if the top were of such a thickness that you could do it with a single pass.Now for the question-why have you chosen to make a table top of such enormous thickness?It will cost a lot,as you noted,and it will weigh a lot, additionally without some careful edge treatment it may end up looking a bit clumsy.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-19-2019, 06:32 PM
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This is a most ambitious undertaking. A glue line like that is difficult even with heavy equipment. There's some good advice above about tools and methods. Let me add a bit about the wood.
For this to work, the wood needs to be stabilized. The latent stresses in 2 hard maple planks like those is huge. This is a challenging wood to work with.

How long have you had the wood, and where did you buy it? If it came from a wholesale hardwood lumber yard with a large stock, it is more likely that it has been carefully dried since the industrial users they cater to require reliable stock. Hard maple is not as hard to dry as some species, but 8/4 stock of any hardwood species needs to be approached cautiously. You can not just buy this stuff, take it home, and cut it up. If you bought it from someone who handles only a small quantity of this material, you can't count on it being ready for your end use. It needs to sit. I don't see your location; but if this wood was cut in another climate than yours, it needs more time to acclimate. The best hard maple comes from the northern US--the Lake States or New England. It will have 10-12 growth rings to the inch. If this is southern stock with less than 6-8 growth rings to the inch, you need to be even more cautious. Users of large dimensioned southern stock are not necessarily looking for stability, so the drying can be rushed to keep cost down. Kiln stresses in stock this large are no joke.

Is sounds like you will be using full length planks. Is the wood end sealed? Stock like this is frequently end coated with some waxy material early in the process since it may be stored in less than ideal conditions. If the ends feel waxy, cut off 1/4" to open up the end pores after you have it in a controlled indoor environment. Do this at least 2 days before you work the edges. If you leave the end seal on, the ends can dry out after you think you have a glue line edge and shrink putting huge stress on the glue line.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-20-2019, 06:51 AM
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The fact that you are only joining 2 boards will play in your favor. I think with a little patients and care, you should be able to get a couple edges straight enough with the table saw. You will probably need to make a longer fence given that you are trying to rip such a long board.

If you are still hesitant, you can cut the boards to 4' and stagger the joints. The 4' boards will be much easier to get a glue edge.
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-20-2019, 08:26 AM
where's my table saw?
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Get a barn door sliding rail 10 ft long

It will be a "U" shape with rolled in edges and straight enough, but sight them first before coming home with a curved one.
Standard cold rolled steel bars, tubes or angles, from a steel supplier will also work.

Next, butt your slabs to be joined together after hand planing the high spots to make them as straight as possible.

Rune your 10" circular saw down the seam using the channel as a straight edge guide.
Make certain nothing moves in the process.
Even if you only get a partial flat from the saw kerf it will serve as a registration surface for a bottom bearing bit in the router OR a reference surface for you hand plane. Color it with marker or chalk to see it better when hand planing.
This will give you two surfaces that are very close to flat and straight.
A hand held power plane can be used IF you are very cautious not to "violate" the reference surface.

I used this technique when I need to straight line rip my 14 ft Oak boards for this trailer:
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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 #7 of 8 Old 12-20-2019, 08:42 AM
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I have had a problem making a straight cut with a circular saw. (just like in my putting I sometimes get the yips) A long cut is particularly challenging to me. When it is really important to make this cut straight I have added a guide on the outside of the saw.

You have to be very careful to get the spacing on this guide. I set it up and check it with the blade of the saw withdrawn so that it does not touch the saw. You want to fit to be just touching, but not tight. The saw must travel freely. It will take you some time to be sure you have the setup correct.

Good luck on your project. It will be beautiful when finished.

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post #8 of 8 Old 02-27-2020, 11:14 AM
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After a lot of false starts, I was able to joint perfect 8’ long edges using my router with a 3/4” straight fluted pattern maker’s bit. For the straight edge, I used the factory edge from a piece of 3/4” MDF.

I cut several 6” wide by 8’ long strips of the MDF with my circular saw. I clamped and glued two strips, including one with the factory edge. I used the router with the bit to route the cut edge flush with the factory edge. Repeated this three times, until my MDF straight edge was 5 layers thick. Now I have a 8’ x 6” x 4.5” fence for my router table. It’s also a perfect straight edge for the router.
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