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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need a little help here...
First woodworking project :)
Building farm house style table with rough unfinished cedar using Ana White plans. Frame is complete, ready to assemble the top. Top consists of 5 6 inch wide x 1inch cedar planks and 2 live edge planks. Plan to do a breadboard ends with live edges.

Here is the question: the table frame is a bit out of square and bit out of level.
As I am ready to assemble the table top planks, what is the best approach given it is a bit out of level?

I have read that mortise and tenons will help. How do I affix the planks to the frame?

tks for your patience.

Jeff
 

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For one thing, if you assemble your table legs and apron upside down on a known flat surface (like a good table), it should be flat and level.
If you glue all the planks together into one big board, look up "Z" Clips. Rockler - Woodcraft - Home Depot etc. all carry them. Assuming your boards are all glued together and the grain is running left to right, the z clips would be added to the end aprons and cross members 'across the grain' of the top. That will allow for expansion and contraction. Depending on how dry (% Moisture Content) the top boards are will determine how well the bread board ends will work. If the moisture content is high, the top may warp and result in splitting the ends.
For indoor furniture, Moisture content should be between 6% to 8%.

A bit out of level? How much and can it easily be pressed flat?
 

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Ana White all I can say is get a bonafide woodworker to look at the plans before you do anything!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
awesome. thanks for reply!!!! I assume I would attach the Z clips to the end AND side aprons and to each of the 12 cross members supporting the top. Right?
 

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Z clips on end apron pieces and any supports running front to rear. NOT side to side. The top will expand and contract from front to rear and will slide along the slot running from to rear.
I dont know about ypour cross members. seems like a lot. How wide is the top from left to right that you need 12 supports?
 

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Egg Spurt
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Cedar isn't a particularly good table top wood IMO..too soft and you'll find a lot of dents and other imperfections in it over time, but that's another story. If you're ok with that then you're ok with it.
As for things being out of square you might want to think about starting over with the frame. Take it apart board by board them make sure all parts are squared up, not bent or cupped. All parallel parts are truly parallel and the exact same lengths. As it sits you'll be fighting with things every subsequent step of the way. If you have to slice off a fraction of an inch to get there it won't hurt anything, but just make sure everything is square before moving on to the next step.
As for the top you have to decide how you are going to hold the pieces of the top together before affixing it to the frame. Cedar takes glue really well even from endgrain in a lot of cases, but it also swells and shrinks a lot over time and it does bend fairly easy depending on the thickness. Breadboard ends aren't quite as easy as old Anna might have you believe so if you just glue the ends up to the planks you will likely find things really out of whack and not even close to flat on down the road..
Do yourself a huge favor and research a bit about different methods of making breadboard ends and then decide if it's appropriate for what you're trying to achieve. You might just glue up the planks and cut them off nice and square and call it a day. Cedar endgrain looks pretty nice IMO, but it's my opinion..
You didn't mention which cedar species you're using. Personally I like eastern red cedar, but there are others. Western red is even softer than eastern and the endgrain not quite as smooth and attractive as eastern..
I work with cedar quite a bit and it's getting really hard to find in my neck of the woods so tread carefully..
 

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I just looked up Ana White. She would never be my go-to person. These designs are basically knock together 2x4s. No real joinery.
If that is what you want, go for it. I personally would not call it woodworking. Its just knocking things together.
 

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I just looked up Ana White. She would never be my go-to person. These designs are basically knock together 2x4s. No real joinery.
If that is what you want, go for it. I personally would not call it woodworking. Its just knocking things together.
Absolutely right Tony ..not only is it knock apart stuff it's typically overly reliant on pocket screws on high stress areas..Maybe great stuff if you don't have a clue and all you're going to use it for is sitting in a corner and just putting a piece of paper on it, but a small starving overactive gerbil might break it in no time..
Actually it's more geared towards people with extremely limited skills who are on tight budgets with very limited tools to work with..
There is a huge market for that segment of the population..If business doesn't pick up for me I might tap into the same market..
 

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you guys are a little rough on a new member. i've noticed a pattern with newbies
is your plan to run off all new members so you can can have your own forum?

426522


this project looks like a great beginner tale, looks a lot like my beginner projects 100 years ago
@jeffj what is out of level? are the legs different lengths or is the frame twisted a bit?
you might try to set the table base on a level surface, loosen a few screws and see if that fixes it a bit
a bit out of square will be hidden when the top goes on, a lot out of square won't

if everything is a lot out of square, you need to go back and look at square cuts
i'll assume your using a circular saw, a speed square and a new blade will improve your cuts
every cut being a little off can snowball into a table that won't sit square or flat
i didn't see any corner bracing, if you can find someone to cut 4 of these on a table saw or a good miter saw
these would help squaring up the table frame, they also add a lot of strength to the leg



as for fastening the top, the top will move quite a bit as the wood dries and with seasonal movement
i've never used them, but these figure 8 clips look easy to install
drill a shallow hole in the top rail to attach as many of the clips as you need, then screw on the top
thehandymansdaughter.com/figure-8-table-top-fasteners/
you don't need the forsner bit, a spade or paddle bit will work fine



post up a few pics when you finish the table, don't be afraid of these curmudgeons
their bark is worst than their bite
 

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Egg Spurt
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Ogre, better to be a bit hard on people than to steer them down the wrong path right from jump. Not everything is a quick fix and a lifetime of quick fixes doesn't teach a heck of a lot..
I remember my vocational training where old methods were taught, but when I started working in shops they only wanted speed and quality went right out the window. When I moved on to quality shops I was glad I learned some of those "old methods", but I leave it up to the reader. If quick is all they want then so be it. There's plenty of people more than willing to give them quick fixes for just about anything.. I'm not against quick, but it has it's limits.
By the way..plenty of methods for fixing a top to the base without spending a bunch for parts that may or may not be available locally.. Personally I'll usually cut wooden buttons..but that's up to the individual..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
you guys are very helpful. Thanks. Give me a bit to absorb your comments. I realize someone at my very limited skill level, and patience, can be quite frustrating for you skilled guys. But, I am learning.

Jeff
 

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you guys are a little rough on a new member. i've noticed a pattern with newbies
is your plan to run off all new members so you can can have your own forum?

View attachment 426522

this project looks like a great beginner tale, looks a lot like my beginner projects 100 years ago
@jeffj what is out of level? are the legs different lengths or is the frame twisted a bit?
you might try to set the table base on a level surface, loosen a few screws and see if that fixes it a bit
a bit out of square will be hidden when the top goes on, a lot out of square won't

if everything is a lot out of square, you need to go back and look at square cuts
i'll assume your using a circular saw, a speed square and a new blade will improve your cuts
every cut being a little off can snowball into a table that won't sit square or flat
i didn't see any corner bracing, if you can find someone to cut 4 of these on a table saw or a good miter saw
these would help squaring up the table frame, they also add a lot of strength to the leg



as for fastening the top, the top will move quite a bit as the wood dries and with seasonal movement
i've never used them, but these figure 8 clips look easy to install
drill a shallow hole in the top rail to attach as many of the clips as you need, then screw on the top
thehandymansdaughter.com/figure-8-table-top-fasteners/
you don't need the forsner bit, a spade or paddle bit will work fine



post up a few pics when you finish the table, don't be afraid of these curmudgeons
their bark is worst than their bite
Ogre, I think that you are totally out of line on your comments. I believe that our members are just being honest with newcomers such as this. What do you want. Should they lie about the quality of what is being proposed or give honest answers. Currently they are giving honest answers.

In general honesty is much better than lying, being evasive or just ignoring problems that can be anticipated. If that is what you want our members to do then I think you are in the wrong place.

George
 

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@_Ogre your statement "you guys are a little rough on a new member. i've noticed a pattern with newbies is your plan to run off all new members so you can can have your own forum? "

I looked back at all the posts in this thread and failed to find one instance where anyone here attacked Jeff J. There wasn't even any of what some might call constructive criticism of him. We offered information. Any attacks were against Ana White.
 

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@jeff j ......Your limited skill level is not the least bit frustrating to us. If it were, there would be no replys.
There are some people on here that just want to play sheriff.
 

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I raised 2 kids on a dining room table of western red cedar, it was 5' 8" diameter. Much too soft, the ghosts of many, many school assignments were indented into that tabletop.
Again? I'd try to find locally milled birch and apply a thin dark stain.
 

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Do not build a table top like Anna White suggests. It is prone to failure.

This is the same construction as the $1600 table somebody had problems with a month or so ago. The table started splitting once winter set in.

The original builder initially blamed the owner for not oiling the table or some such nonsense. Then he was going to take a look at it and fix it. He didn’t even know that you can’t build a table like that, yet considered himself expert enough to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
just letting you know, I am still here. Just process the various comments to chart a path out of the forest I created.:)

Jeff
 

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I would suggest you start with what you’re going to do about clamps, b/c with out them you can’t build the table.

God bless you, Kreg Sommerfeld, but amateurs and even some good ww’ers get sucked into thinking pocket screws will make them a furniture builder.
 
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