Should I be able to join s4s boards? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Should I be able to join s4s boards?

So my team and I have been planning to build our conference room table. We got the wood from our local lumber place and had them do s4s since we don't have a planer or a jointer here in our office(obviously). From there it's just a matter of doing biscuit joints(purely for alignment on long table), gluing it up and clamping it together. Obviously sanding and making sure everything is level will be done after.

We got our wood yesterday and I'm baffled as too how massive the gaps are between the wood when putting them up against each other. You can see the first 2 boards on the left, the space towards the end there is about 1/8" and then the 2nd and 3rd boards are so far from parallel that it's a joke.

Should I be pissed? I understand that we'll probably have to do some work to tighten things up but I was under the impression that s4s boards are run through a planer and then jointer...or at least ripped straight. Was I mistaken? Should I call the shop and be pissed? I'm not totally sure what to do as we have over $1k worth of wood that still needs a TON of work. We'll put in the effort to get it done right...I'm just a little upset. Maybe I should have known this ahead of time that s4s still needed to be jointed?

Also, they specifically got 2x6 boards and cut them to be s4s so I would have thought the edges should have been straight
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Last edited by jkanter; 09-28-2016 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Added additional info
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 11:46 AM
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There is definitely a couple of bowed boards there.

As long as the sides are 90 deg. to the face, you should have no problem closing the gaps with clamps.

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post #3 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 11:52 AM
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Good glue and plenty of clamps.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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1 of the boards is bowed a lot and some others very slightly, yes...I'm working on seeing if I can flatten it by wetting the underside and letting it sit overnight.

Should I worry about the tension pulling apart the glue? I have 12 5' pipe clamps that I plan to put every 8 inches or so, alternating.

Picture to show the clamps
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Last edited by jkanter; 09-28-2016 at 12:23 PM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 12:45 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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do a "dry" clamp up first

Do a dry clamp up before gluing for 2 reasons. You need the practice and to see how hard/easy it is to close up the gaps. Orient the boards so the best grain is up then flip them end for end, so the grain direction alternates and so the curves are opposed to one another.

You did not state the finishes sizes? H, W L of the boards? and the orientation ... vertical stacked or laid horizontal? The curved condition will be easier to correct when oriented vertically, but that uses more boards and it may not matter based on a "dry" run?

http://newwoodworker.com/cauls.html

You did not show the use of "cauls" to maintain flatness of the glue up. Usually they are located on each end and a few in the center:


This is not a beginner woodworking project and it will take some research and experience to get it right! You may need more clamps and hardwood boards for the cauls.

If you are in over your head, you have the option of "farming it out" to a cabinet or woodworking facililty OR buying more clamps and wood .... ? The cabinet shop will also have a means of correcting the badly curved boards, and be able to "wide belt sand" the entire finished top after it's glued up. This will eliminate a whole lot of hand planing and sanding for your "team" ... :smile3: You can also do the glue up yourself, then take it to a shop for the wide belt sanding and save a lot of effort as long as it comes out relatively flat. Only you can make that determination.
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Last edited by woodnthings; 09-28-2016 at 01:59 PM.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 12:53 PM
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Keep in mind the force needed to force crooked boards together is how much force there will be in the boards pulling apart or splitting. S4S just means the boards were surfaced on four sides, not that the boards were straightened first and ready to be glued. If you don't have a jointer you need to find a shop that will straighten the wood for a glue up. Better yet if you find that shop just have them glue the top together for you and sand it if they have a wide belt sander.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Do a dry clamp up before gluing for 2 reasons. You need the practice and to see how hard/easy it is to close up the gaps. Orient the boards so the best grain is up then flip them end for end, so the grain direction alternates and so the curves are opposed to one another.

You did not state the finishes sizes? H, W L of the boards? and the orientation ... vertical stacked or laid horizontal? The curved condition will be easier to correct when oriented vertically, but that uses more boards and it may not matter based on a "dry" run?

http://newwoodworker.com/cauls.html

You did not show the use of "cauls" to maintain flatness of the glue up. Usually they are located on each end and a few in the center:


This is not a beginner woodworking project and it take some research and experience to get it right! You may need more clamps and hardwood boards for the cauls.

If you are in over your head, you have the option of "farming it out" to a cabinet or woodworking facililty OR buying more clamps and wood .... ? The cabinet shop will also have a means of correcting the badly curved boards, and be able to "wide belt sand" the entire finished top after it's glued up. This will eliminate a whole lot of hand planing and sanding for your "team" ... :smile3: You can also do the glue up yourself, then take it to a shop for the wide belt sanding and save a lot of effort as long as it comes out relatively flat. Only you can make that determination.
I appreciate the help with this! I totally agree this is not a beginner woodworking project but I have had a lot of experience doing stuff like this...but haven't had some of the limited resources I have now. I had expected the wood to be a little more finished based given the fact that I knew we'd be working with limited resources. I spoke the lumber guys and let them know specifically what we were looking for.

The boards at 2x6x11' and will be cut down to about 10ft when completed(there are also 2 2x4x11' as extras). These will be laid side to side and edge joined to create a 120" x 45" table. To be honest, I'm not as worried about sanding or anything to get it perfectly flat once it's glued up. We have 10 guys here and many of us have done woodworking so sanding/planing/etc to get it flat is the least of my worries. I was mostly just worried about being able to edge join the boards. They are 90* to the planed tops though so that's def good.

We will almost certainly be using cauls in order to keep the boards flat. I'll be using biscuits in order to help with general alignment w/ the cauls to keep them flat once they are glued up.

Thoughts?!
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 01:34 PM
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having done such things for my shop benches . . . which don't need to be as "pretty" . . .

2x6s:
- if there is any twist in the board, abandon all wood that enters there
- sharp 'hooks' at the ends (like the one on the left) are very unlikely to clamp well
- long bowed sections over most of the length is much more likely to succeed
- you will need the caul type clamping ability, yes - you will
- likely not possible to glue up the full width and then clamp out the gaps - too much clamp force required
- be sure to put a softer cushion board under the clamp pads

if you have some bowing, select at most 3 pcs, clamp & glue. do not do the biscuits on the 'next to be glued edge' until it the current batch has been glued and set up.

within reason, this can be done. 2x10's - not gonna get far; 2x6 is doable.

some sanding required . . . .
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 02:33 PM
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Just thinking out loud...if two of the boards won't pull together, use a circular saw to rip the joint. A guide board for the saw would be a big help.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 05:13 PM
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Here is a table I built for a lady for her dining room. She loves it. It is made from 8/4 hard maple and very heavy.

The finished size is 39" x 60"

Since I started with rough lumber, I had to joint each piece flat on one side and one edge. To do that, I had to call upon a friend that has a 8 inch jointer.

Then I used the table saw to rip the other edge parallel.

Then many passes through the planer to get the desired thickness of about 1 5/8 inches.

I glued up three pieces, then the others, and finally glued them together to form one piece. Finally, I used a track saw to cut the top to the final width and length. And then the sanding started! :frown2:
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Stringer View Post
Here is a table I built for a lady for her dining room. She loves it. It is made from 8/4 hard maple and very heavy.

The finished size is 39" x 60"

Since I started with rough lumber, I had to joint each piece flat on one side and one edge. To do that, I had to call upon a friend that has a 8 inch jointer.

Then I used the table saw to rip the other edge parallel.

Then many passes through the planer to get the desired thickness of about 1 5/8 inches.

I glued up three pieces, then the others, and finally glued them together to form one piece. Finally, I used a track saw to cut the top to the final width and length. And then the sanding started! :frown2:
Looks awesome! The cauls are going to be necessary to ensure that I get it as flat as possible, then it'll just be a whole lot of planing/sanding to get it perfect.

What I'm most worried about is the jointing at this point. Getting the wood to another location is going to be a LOT of work.

More to come...thanks guys!
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 06:55 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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get those boards off the floor

Any freshly milled boards will tend to warp if not stored so that air can circulate freely. I also store some with binding tape on them if they are thinner. You can clamp them together until you are ready to use them.

I see a radiator of some sort, hopefully not steam which would heat the room unevenly. Maybe it's not in use yet.
Avoid direct sunlight also. Flip them over so they are exposed evenly.

Finally, I would not use biscuits as alignment aids. They can be a pain if the slots are not equal distance from the "show" face and will actually induce a misalignment. Build up the table in 3 board sections, them glue the sections together. You can control for flatness/alignment easier this way.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-28-2016, 07:57 PM
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As woodnthings suggested glue up the top in sections rather than trying to control it all in one go. I would select two straight and one curved if you are doing it in threes, that way the two straight will be dominant over the one curved one, two curved with one straight may give you a curved panel.

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post #14 of 19 Old 09-29-2016, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
As woodnthings suggested glue up the top in sections rather than trying to control it all in one go. I would select two straight and one curved if you are doing it in threes, that way the two straight will be dominant over the one curved one, two curved with one straight may give you a curved panel.
Very interesting idea w/ the 2 straight and 1 curved! I will say that I was already planning on 2 at a time, just to make sure things go well but if we have a curved one, def a good idea to do 3.

If I do 2 or 3, you all think Biscuits aren't necessary? Still should use Cauls for those, right? Thanks!
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-29-2016, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkanter View Post
Very interesting idea w/ the 2 straight and 1 curved! I will say that I was already planning on 2 at a time, just to make sure things go well but if we have a curved one, def a good idea to do 3.

If I do 2 or 3, you all think Biscuits aren't necessary? Still should use Cauls for those, right? Thanks!
My thinking is...you have a lot of money invested. Take your time and do it right. Just hoping the joints will pull tight is just wishful thinking.

Spend a little time on You Tube (search for DIY ripping sled) and figure out how you can make a ripping sled for a circular saw that will work for your project. Being able to cut away the bowed portion of the board, resulting in a straight edge, will make your glue job a lot easier.

Note: I always use some of the rigid foam under my saw so I don't cut into the work bench or saw horses or whatever is supporting my work piece. If needed, lay a second work piece beside the one you are cutting so the saw/sled will have additional support.

Just my way of thinking. It know this works because I have done it more than once.

Good luck.
Mike
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-29-2016, 08:15 PM
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Yes you should still use calls, when I speak of curved boards I am only thinking of 1/8" or so gap in the entire length.

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post #17 of 19 Old 11-14-2016, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a couple months and I wanted to give everyone here an update! The 11' boards were way too much to move and bring to a jointer. That being said, I managed to get a Track Saw from a coworker which was huuuuuuuge! So anyway, Here we have our 125" x 42" Oak conference room table, fully sanded and ready for a stain/seal!

Some of the edges aren't perfect but overall, everything came out amazing. Thank you again to everyone for helping with some suggestions on all of this. So happy w/ how it looks!
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post #18 of 19 Old 11-15-2016, 05:31 AM
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That looks great, thanks for the update, people here really appreciate hearing how these projects work out.
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post #19 of 19 Old 11-15-2016, 09:29 AM
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Well done, so far.
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