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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay folks, I'm interested in feedback. My current job is a set of bookcases, 14' long, 12" deep, and 36" high. They will be built in three sections and joined side by side upon installation. They will be up against a 36" high wall. Behind this wall is open space. It is the edge of a loft space, and there is a vaulted ceiling behind it, living room down below. Anyway, the bookcases will be getting a solid alder top, and the top will extend across the bookcases and the half wall. These bookcases are also in between 2 walls (at either end). So, I've got a finished top that will be 14' long, by 18 1/2" front to back. I cannot build it in a single section for several reasons. So I am making 2 sections, which will be joined together end-to-end onsite at installation. This will all be pre-finished in my shop. I need these 2 mating surfaces to join up EXACTLY flush. They also need to be scribed to the walls at either end. What kind of joint do you think I could use to accomplish this? A scarf joint is all that comes to mind. Any better ideas out there?
 

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I believe I would

consider a butt joint and pocket screws on the underneath after scribing/fitting was done. Dowels would be another great option.

Ed
 

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could try kitchen work top bolts with a butt joint if thick enough, otherwise a scarf joint or even one of splice joints depending how strong you want it, it depends also on the front edge of the top are you going to put a trim on or let the end of joint show in which case the butt or scarf might look better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
-dowels won't work because you have to be able to have the pieces apart the length of the dowels. The 2 halves butt against the walls at their ends. No room. And I cannot preassemble them because of obstacles on the walls. I could not slide them into place, fully assembled.
-the butt joint with pocket screws is a possibility to consider. However, the top is 13/16" thick, and the steep angle of the pocket holes would be difficult to do. I'm not willing to shell out for a pocket hole jig to drill a few holes.
-what do you refer to as 'kitchen work top bolts'. I've no idea what you're talking about. Could you be more specific?
 

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the butt joint with pocket screws is a possibility to consider. However, the top is 13/16" thick, and the steep angle of the pocket holes would be difficult to do. I'm not willing to shell out for a pocket hole jig to drill a few holes.
you could make your own jig like as described here, in any case let us know how it went and if possible post some pics:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
the deed is done

Thanks to all who replied. The bolts are familiar to me, and I've used them before. I know them as connector bolts and the terms threw me off. Yes, they could work for this application. But I decided after all to go with the scarf joint. I think I'll like the look on the front edge better than the butt joint the bolts would give me.

As for pictures, I cannot post pictures to this site. I've tried and been told that my file is too large. Don't know enough about these things to know how to shrink them. Probably won't photograph this piece anyway. Nothing really noteworthy about it.
 

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I used to install counter tops along with millwork in commercial applications. We used to cut the tops to fit tight, then add a 3/4" spline that will keep the joint stable. Add some wood glue to the joint and bring them together in place, kinda like a draw bridge. Then use a deadblow mallet to level the seam. Wipe the glue with a wet rag and it worked every time.
 

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I did a wall unit a few years back that was about 15-16 ft across from wall to wall. They had a gas fireplace in the middle and wanted a top shelf area and bookcases on each side of the fireplace. I used through dovetails to join 3 panels, made up of solid walnut to span the entire width. The middle panel had dovetails on both ends and the end panels had them just on the corresponding end.
I was able to get a perfect fit before committing the glue and was also able to leave each panel in place to scribe to. They came apart relatively easy to cut for fit. I prefinished them with lacquer and when I did put the glue on, just wiped the squeeze out with a damp sponge. Came out well, if I do say so myself and the customer loved the look. When looking at it level, it looked like a solid 15 ft long board.
Don't know if it would work in your situation.
 

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pocket hole jig

Hey MMwood,
You mentioned you didn't want to spend the money for a pocket jig for just a few holes. Two things, Kreg does sell a small portable, clamp on jig for drilling holes in place. It is inexpensive. The other thing is, have you ever looked into all the uses for the pocket holes? I use them for just about any time I need to put a carcass together, valances between kitchen cabinets, fixed shelves, just to mention a few. It is one of the easiest and fun tools to use. I have two Kreg kits. I bought the original and then a few years ago they came out with the improved model, so I got it. Just a thought.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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I also have the original version kit and use the system all the time, where it's the best, most cost effective way to go.
The one I will order soon to stay in the trailer is a new version of a portable system. Actually, it does more than the bench-mount variety.
It's K-3 Standard Pack
http://www.kregjig.com/
 

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If the joint falls over a cabinet it gives you a start. I would have used a butt joint, and pre fitted it for a good match. The two pieces could then be matched back up on top of the cabinets, and screwed from under the top of the cabinet below. To get both pieces even can be done with shims between the cabinets and the top if necessary.

If the joint does not fall on the cabinets below, and both pieces are 13/16", it will be a weak joint even with glue and a blind spline.

A scarf joint will be difficult to get and keep flat.



 
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