Pocket holes or glue alone for table top? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Pocket holes or glue alone for table top?

Hi all -- I'm in the process of building this table, but using old barn wood boards for the top (and skipping the breadboard ends).

I am tempted to use pocket holes to join the boards together, along with glue, just to ensure they're firmly connected. But I'm worried the pocket holes might prove problematic in the future, as the wood moves. I live in Minnesota, where we have fairly humid summers and dry winters (indoors).

Should I just glue it using clamps? Or will the pocket holes not be a problem?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 02:36 PM
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Pocket screws really nothing to the solidity of your table top. In my opinion they are just a far more time consuming substitute for clamps.

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 02:41 PM
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I recommend using a spline between each board. Fast and strong.
Start and end the spline about 2" from each end.
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If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 03:08 PM
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If you get the boards fitting together with no gaps, etc. glue alone is all you need. Glue up two boards at a time, then glue the pairs together, use cawls if you are having trouble with the boards creeping as they are clamped.

Anna White has probably created more grief with her plans than anyone else in history.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #5 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
I recommend using a spline between each board. Fast and strong.
Start and end the spline about 2" from each end.
Splines (or biscuits) are an excellent way to join table top boards. Make sure the grain of the splines runs perpendicular to the grain of the top or the splines may split when the wood moves. I often use 1/4" plywood for long splines. However, I spent a good amount of money for my DeWalt biscuit joiner, so I use it a lot. I'm also a bit lazy and biscuits are quick. Never had a biscuit-ed joint come apart.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-12-2017, 08:25 PM
where's my table saw?
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old barn boards, Heh?

The old boards may be warped or twisted and may be of unequal thickness..... so, there may be issues no matter what method of joinery you choose.

Certainly, pocket holes can be used in lieu of clamps to hold the boards together while the glue dries, however alignment is critical.
Splines and biscuits add NO strength, but do serve to align surfaces IF they are inserted an equal distance from the face side. All that is critical in this case because the old barn boards will need to be sanded flush IF they are out of alignment. Sanding will destroy any patina on the boards.

There are too many variables here to offer sound advice in my opinion.... What surface finish is desired? Will the boards be planed to an even thickness. Do you have a jointer to square and straighten the edges before glue up? and so forth......

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 9 Old 07-12-2017, 11:18 PM
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Well aligned dowels..I'm a dowel addict and they're darn strong too.

Pocket screws schmocket screws.. bah!

There's 20 different 1 1/2" oak dowels in this and it's not coming apart now or ever..I have so declared. lol

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 07-12-2017 at 11:25 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-14-2017, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all! I'm going to try to get them as straight as possible and glue it all up.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-14-2017, 01:26 PM
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Just glue, and I really like Titebond III just in case your roof leaks on your old barn wood farm table LOL
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