Help choosing plywood or other material for table tops - warping? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-22-2018, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Help choosing plywood or other material for table tops - warping?

Friends, I posted this in another forum, would like to get some input here.
I am hoping to get some advice on plywood or other suitable material to build several square bistro table tops for a restaurants of some friends. They will replace the existing table tops. The current tables are made of two sheets of plywood glued together to 1.25” thickness and have pine moulding. Total dimension is 24×24 in. I built prototypes by glueing 3/4 + 1/2 in birch plywood and then trimming them to size (22.5 in per side). I added 3/4 poplar moulding. The problem is that the prototypes are not flat, most of them exhibit some warping. The table tops, by the way, will be painted.
I am looking for recommendations on which material to use, or how to use it. I have thought of trying Baltic birch plywood or a Spanish product called Garnica; glueing so that the grain is perpendicular and so forth. I will appreciate hearing what people know about this topic.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-22-2018, 11:41 AM
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When I need a absolutely flat surface I use MDF. I usually top it with Formica but it could be surfaced with wood veneer depending on the decor. Usually I trim the perimeter with hardwood.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-22-2018, 12:20 PM
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If you are gluing two sheets together if you have a work bench with a heavy top you could clamp the sheets to the table until the glue dries. If you had an extra table saw with a cast iron top you could clamp the material to that. Anything to force the plywood flat would do it. Once dry it should stay.

Another note, when gluing together sheets like that using wood glue the glue tends to dry around the parameter and stay wet in the middle for a long time. Either a resin glue or hide glue would work better for that application.

Then when painting be sure to paint the underside of the table. Warpage is normally caused by an imbalance in moisture content from one side to the other. Even though the tops are thick moisture from the air can make the sheet on the bottom to swell and the top will curl up.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-22-2018, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
If you are gluing two sheets together if you have a work bench with a heavy top you could clamp the sheets to the table until the glue dries. If you had an extra table saw with a cast iron top you could clamp the material to that. Anything to force the plywood flat would do it. Once dry it should stay.

Another note, when gluing together sheets like that using wood glue the glue tends to dry around the parameter and stay wet in the middle for a long time. Either a resin glue or hide glue would work better for that application.

Then when painting be sure to paint the underside of the table. Warpage is normally caused by an imbalance in moisture content from one side to the other. Even though the tops are thick moisture from the air can make the sheet on the bottom to swell and the top will curl up.
Thanks for the answer. What are some examples of resin glue? Are they readily available?
Marc
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-22-2018, 03:59 PM
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Thanks for the answer. What are some examples of resin glue? Are they readily available?
Marc
A resin glue is a two part adhesive. This one has the two parts in powder form so when it's mixed it's activated. Any resin glue you mix only what you need at the time as it will harden even if you put it in an air tight container. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Dap-Weldw...&wl13=&veh=sem
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-24-2019, 08:50 AM
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I would use baltic birch or Apple ply for the tops. Other than Home depot, they will always be flat. I would use nothing but for table tops. The extra cost is always worth it.
If that is what you are already using, find another source.
As for the adhesive, titebond is more than sufficient.

Your biggest problem here is that it is for a FRIEND. If you underestimated the cost, that's all on you. If you ask for more money, that will kill any confidence he has in your ability to do it properly.

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post #7 of 12 Old 03-24-2019, 09:07 AM
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1) There is no need to add Resin glue to your products, wood glue will work fine.

2) Screw the 2 sheets together, don't just clamp them, you need pressure all over the sheets, not just the edges.

3) When you screw them together work from one end to the other so you don't trap a "bubble".

The "flatest" materials will be MDF or Baltic Birch. If you need to use a cheaper product consider using a thicker edge banding and cut a rabbet in it, this will help draw the panels more flat.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-24-2019, 05:48 PM
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Well guys he got this project 8 months ago, wonder what he did?

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post #9 of 12 Old 03-24-2019, 07:00 PM
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Well guys he got this project 8 months ago....................
I need to start looking at the dates.
Thanks

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post #10 of 12 Old 03-24-2019, 10:21 PM
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Well guys he got this project 8 months ago, wonder what he did?
HAHAHA, man I got suckered on that one, I didn't check the date either, my bad...
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-25-2019, 08:46 AM
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HAHAHA, man I got suckered on that one, I didn't check the date either, my bad...

Made a table, the restaurant friends said, "That's awesome! Thanks, dude!," and then realized the expense of commercial tables was negligible when tacked on to the overall business loan, and bought them from a catalogue.
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-25-2019, 12:44 PM
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Let's see if @MarcNY is "one and done" or if he comes back to tell us how it worked out. Sometimes a "mention" gets people to come back.
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