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post #1 of 12 Old 01-22-2014, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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oval table top

I am working on a cherry oval table table top with a walnut edging going around the out side. The walnut edge will be 2"s wide. I plan on 4 leaves each 12's wide. Here is my question. When I have done farmhouse tables with a bread board end I usually do a sliding dovetail but do not glue them to allow for expansion and contraction. My question is joining the outside walnut piece to the inside cherry piece on the curved ends of the oval. I have considered using a jig and template following router bit to get the best fit between the 2 pieces, but if I want to cut a mortise and tenon along the curved piece to strengthen the joint is it as easy as just increasing the size of the outside piece and then routing the mortise and tenon for it to slip into? Is this making any sense to anyone but me. Wish I had some pictures.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-22-2014, 05:49 PM
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Are you planning for the Walnut edging to do the entire edge of the top?






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post #3 of 12 Old 01-23-2014, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jsr View Post
I am working on a cherry oval table table top with a walnut edging going around the out side. The walnut edge will be 2"s wide. I plan on 4 leaves each 12's wide. Here is my question. When I have done farmhouse tables with a bread board end I usually do a sliding dovetail but do not glue them to allow for expansion and contraction. My question is joining the outside walnut piece to the inside cherry piece on the curved ends of the oval. I have considered using a jig and template following router bit to get the best fit between the 2 pieces, but if I want to cut a mortise and tenon along the curved piece to strengthen the joint is it as easy as just increasing the size of the outside piece and then routing the mortise and tenon for it to slip into? Is this making any sense to anyone but me. Wish I had some pictures.
I think what you are saying makes sense. I would think it might be easier to glue up the curved edge in halves, and then cut the middle of the oval apex afterwards. Then make a mortise in both ends with a loose tenon glued into one side.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-23-2014, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Yes the walnut edge will go all around the oval. The length of the oval will be 70" and the width 54. The cherry will run uninterrupted across the 54" width. I think what you saying is to join the walnut together in 2 pieces and then cut the curve to match the table? Router and pattern? I'm assuming to get the cleanest cut to join. Now that mortise and tenon part. Do you have any pics stashed any where or maybe a video that might show that? Thanks for all your help on this. I have sunk some $ into this wood and don't need anymore firewood.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-24-2014, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jsr View Post
Yes the walnut edge will go all around the oval. The length of the oval will be 70" and the width 54. The cherry will run uninterrupted across the 54" width. I think what you saying is to join the walnut together in 2 pieces and then cut the curve to match the table? Router and pattern? I'm assuming to get the cleanest cut to join. Now that mortise and tenon part. Do you have any pics stashed any where or maybe a video that might show that? Thanks for all your help on this. I have sunk some $ into this wood and don't need anymore firewood.
Oh I see. You only have a joint across the narrow width of the oval. What I meant was to glue up the curve (laminated strips) in halves and then cut at the narrow ends to have your 4 pieces, because I thought you were doing this in 4 loose quadrants.

You seem to know what you are doing, so I guess I'm wondering what your real question is.

Now I see I didn't understand what you were referring to with the 4 leaves 12" wide since you say this is 54x70. You want to cut the curve out of 2" thick blocks of walnut? I thought you meant 2" tall, not 2" thick. How thick will it finish at, 3/4"?

If you are doing the oval in 2 pieces like this < > then I'm wondering why you don't just make a template of the inside cherry piece and use it for your glue-up jig for a laminated walnut edge.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-24-2014, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks builder64, yes probably finish 3/4. I will stop whenever the cherry looks as pretty as I think I can get it. It is abot 5 quarters now. It would be ideal if I had enough walnut to do the curved end of the oval in one peice and then join it with the staright pieces that will go down the sides and attach to the end of the leaves, but I may as you suggest have to put 2 pieces together at the ends. Don't know how much more $ the wifes sense of humor will allow for this project. I guess I will just oversize the curved waulnut pieces for the ends and then use the jig from the cherry pieces to rout a mortise to slip into the cherry's tenon. Would you glue that or pin it and let it float? I am in Colorado and our average humidity is 13% so its not a huge expansion, contraction neighborhood.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-29-2014, 04:56 AM
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I would let it float.

Are the pieces kiln-dried?

I'm curious as to how your inside pieces will change in size.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-29-2014, 06:11 AM
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I'm just thinking that if you wrap a wood edge on an oval, and expect the top edge to stay tight against the Cherry, it won't happen if there is any movement. No matter where the vertical seam on the edge is placed, in the event of movement, it will separate, leaving a gap.

You could use a nice piece of Cherry plywood, and the edging would stay intact to both the edge and the top. No movement issues.





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post #9 of 12 Old 01-29-2014, 07:13 AM
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I don't think it's very practical to make the walnut banding to float with the sliding dovetail. You would have to make the dovetail so sloppy in order to physically push it around the oval it wouldn't help your cause. I've seen many oval and round tables with a solid wood edge and all were glued and nailed on. There were a few issues with wood movement but not severe.

If you are going to do it, it might be easier to run a T-Slot on the walnut and install it with T-Slot bolts through blocks on the underside of the top. That way you could clamp the walnut to the top and leisurely install the blocking on the underside.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-29-2014, 10:37 AM
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What you plan to do will not work. The solid wood center piece will want to expand and contract with changes in the moisture content of the wood. The outside solid wood rim will be attempting to restrict that center piece movement. The result will be some warping, splitting, seam opening or other damage.

The way to do what you want is to use a cherry veneered plywood for the center section. Because the plywood is stable and won't want to expand and/or contract, the walnut rim will not be attempting to restrict any movement.

When making large panel pieces like tabletops always keep in mind that the panel will expand and contract. Design and construct your table keeping this movement in mind.

Howie..........
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-29-2014, 10:58 PM
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I agree with the other posters about using plywood, and I apologize for not suggesting that earlier. We know that a solid inside slab with solid edgebanding is definitely 100% impossible to work, but this is not what you are doing.

I was initially thinking 4 joints in the edging. One at each end of the oval, and one at the halfway point. The more the better, and after reconsidering the size of your piece, it might need more joints on the edge.

I guess what I should ask is if you want a purposeful reveal at your edge joints. A better look might be a lap joint instead of tenons. Then you can pocket screw the edging on and the joints will allow the movement. If you don't want 1/16-3/8" reveals around your tabletop, then you definitely need to go with plywood.

I've made a desk with a curved butcher block front that had lap joints. The panels were screwed on from the back to allow movement.
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-30-2014, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. Let me clarify a few points. The leaves of the table will be the only place a sliding dovetail would be used. Those would basically be a breadboard end with the sliding dovetail unglued to allow for any expansion. The walnut on the ends of the leaves would be the same 3" width to match the walnut piece that wraps the rounded end of the oval. I would like to do a mortise and tenon joint in the rounded end to connect the 3" walnut edge to the center cherry piece. The cherry has been purchased and will be used to make the top. I am hopefull that if there is any movement in that cherry piece, that the movement will go toward the center of the table that will match to the leaves when installed. There will be no walnut on that end restricting movement to the inside toward the leaves. I am hopeing that the worst that can happen is the leaves are pushed a little farther apart. As I have said, I am in Colorado and after 40 yrs. of woodworking here, I have seen movement in wood once. We just don't have the humidity to make it a problem.
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