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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. This black walnut that fell last summer keeps on giving! My last project is this desk. I'll post a pic of the top, and then the base which I bought on ebay, it's from an old industrial sewing machine.

My question is, the more curved edge of the desk I always presumed would be the front, where I sit. But as I sand this and get to know it, I'm kind of in love with the straighter live edge. The base as you can see is not symmetrical, so it matters what I decide to be the front and back of the top.

I started thinking, the main thing that will sit on the desk is a largish computer monitor (I'm a graphic designer). So to me, it almost makes sense to have that curve in the back of the desk where the monitor will sit.

Opinions? I mean, do you look at that top and think very clearly that the more curved edge belongs in front?

Oh that board on the sawhorses will be a stringer (?) that goes between the two base pieces, in the back. Making it even more definitively one direction.

Thanks.
Ed.
 

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Nice looking table. Good way to use that walnut.

I think conventional design approach would place the curved edge at the front.

The distance between you and the monitor is likely the same whether the curve is at the front or back.

The nice aspect of a custom design is that you can chose which way works for you.

By the way, did you glue on the bread board end pieces? This is a large table top. It is going to move with changes in the seasons. If the bread board ends are glued on, something will have to give to allow the movement. Pieces like this are best glued in the centre, but attached in some method to allow the table top to expand and contract with the seasonal changes.

I expect your shop is higher humidity than the office where you will use the table so initially some moisture is likely to be lost.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, they're glued on. I don't really know what I'm doing. :blink:

If I cut the more curved piece off, which is an option I'm contemplating, my desk will be 26" x 70". A bit narrow but still a lot of working space.
 

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The curved piece will not matter since the glued on pieces end before the curve.

The width is the issue, not the length. Wood moves mostly parallel to the grain, and not much along the grain.

Think of the wood grain as long straws, which is what they are. The straws contain moisture. As the moisture changes, the straws will shrink or expand. The forces are very strong.

Whatever finish you put on the table will reduce, but likely not prevent moisture change.

One site for calculating wood movement with moisture change.

http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/shrinkulator.htm

Another one. Always good to try more than one.

http://www.woodworkerssource.com/movement.php

I expect you will not want to spend the time to redo the end pieces, but do not be surprised if one day/night you hear a big sound, and then next time you go to the table and see a big crack or cracks.

I can understand wanting to hide the end grain, but the present method of attachment is likely to give future problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I understand. My comment about cutting that curved piece off was a separate thought, back to me liking the other end as the front.

So the risk would be the end pieces cracking or separating? Yeah those end pieces are to cover up some issues with the boards I used, if it was just grain I would have left it.

Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated.
 

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So the risk would be the end pieces cracking or separating? Yeah those end pieces are to cover up some issues with the boards I used, if it was just grain I would have left it.
No, the risk is the end pieces are stronger than the main board and will prevent the boards from shrinking, then cracking the boards.

I am not finding a thread from some months ago where a person commented on having a table with bread board ends glued, and heard a large sound during the night. Next day he found a big crack in the table top and was asking how to fix.
 
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