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Discussion Starter #1
I've built some boxes and other stuff, now I want to graduate to a coffee table. I have some nice rough maple that is 18'' wide, and walnut that is 21". My planer is only 12". What I'd like to know, is it better to use one wide board for the top, or several like 6" boards glued together. I want to put bread board on the ends. Do you think a maple top would look good on top of a walnut apron and legs? I don't have a set of plans but I think I have enough info between books and the Internet. I'm just doing something very basic. Any thoughts and idea's would be very helpful. Thanks.
 

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You are going to get more than one answer about wide boards versus glue ups. Here is mine, I like them wide. There has been discussion about it here before. http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=702&highlight=wide+board

I think it is a shame to cut wide boards into little piece, then glue them back together. About the 12" planer, no problem. It can be done with a hand held belt sander (or hand plane :huh:), followed by a random orbit. If you think about, not as much work as cut/plane/glue/sand.

Maple and walnut are meant to be together. They are like peanut butter and jelly. Here is a very simple table I made from maple and walnut, about like you are describing. There seems to be something wrong with the maple though :blink:. http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=845
 

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bigredc
I have the same problem. Only have a 12" planer so I always cut down my material to 6 or 7". As far as which is better, you will probably get several different opinions.
I think most dark and light woods look good together. But I think your work should be a representation of yourself, thats what makes them unique.
When I'm building something that I have never built before I usually try to find a similar piece and use it for measurements and proportion.
 

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I would vote with Daren, in that one wide plank looks better to me than a piece that has been ripped and glued. That's just my opinion. If the planks are in a dry environment, so they are acclimatised to the area where the table is going to live, and they haven't indicated any warpage so far, then they will probably remain stable after you have created your masterpiece.
The real problem comes about when a piece is built in one environment, and then moved into another [probably much drier] environment.
I know from painful experience.

Good luck with your project. If you are good with a digital camera send us some pictures of your progress.

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Daren I was pretty sure I knew how you stood, being a plain guy. I want to do it with a plain. I feel it's starting at the beginning. It builds respect for the old way's. I'm goofy that way. But I didn't want to work my butt off only to have it warp or crack down the road. I'll look into a book on understanding wood. I'll try to figure out if it's heart wood or not. I think I read that you only fasten the top to the apron like in the middle or something so it can expand. I'll need to find more info on how to do that. That table is perfect. I have rough dimensions of what I want, about 20"X 50" X 15" high. As far as making something my own design, I've never been good at artistic stuff. I'm a good copier. I can draw pretty good, buy it has to be of something. I can't dream stuff up. I will try to not copy Daren's table exactly. I was thinking of trying to do a tapered leg. maybe I'll change that. Daren I was trying to find the thread that had the table you made of the big piece of wood with the butterfly or bow tie things that keep cracks from expanding. Do you remember the thread. I think it was you. I don't want to make it this time but I'd like to do something like that down the road so I want to save it. I just brought the wood in from my unheated garage last night. How long do I need to let it adjust. My house is very dry (forced hot air heat) the wood was good and dry also about 7%. I was at my sisters in Florida for Christmas I found this tree in her yard. I told them if something happens to the tree save that branch for me. It should have nice grain shouldn't it?
 

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I thought this was odd the way they plant there tree's in Florida. Maybe the roots from one strengthin the other.
 

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Daren I was trying to find the thread that had the table you made of the big piece of wood with the butterfly or bow tie things that keep cracks from expanding. Do you remember the thread.

I told them if something happens to the tree save that branch for me. It should have nice grain shouldn't it?
Yea those branches should have some cool grain. I don't care if you make a table exactly like mine, I'll give you the measurements if you want them. I copy stuff all the time. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery "

Here is that thread with the butterflied table (that was a borrowed idea from George Nakashima) http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=2128
 

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I've built some boxes and other stuff, now I want to graduate to a coffee table. I have some nice rough maple that is 18'' wide, and walnut that is 21". My planer is only 12". What I'd like to know, is it better to use one wide board for the top, or several like 6" boards glued together. I want to put bread board on the ends. Do you think a maple top would look good on top of a walnut apron and legs? I don't have a set of plans but I think I have enough info between books and the Internet. I'm just doing something very basic. Any thoughts and idea's would be very helpful. Thanks.
A thought would be to rip the board into realistic sizes, cut where there is not alot of grain figuring, joint and plane it to your requirements. Then glue back together, hand plane and scrap to finish dimension. If you are very careful where you make your cuts you can almost make it seamless. The bread board end would be a nice touch providing you allow it to move with the seasons.....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I knew that it's much more stable ripping it and gluing, and the joints are hard to see. I've already got it plained. The table is for my mother. She has a small apartment. When I talked to her today she said she only wants it 40" long. I was planing on 50" to 60" that saved me a lot of plaining.
Daren this is the 17" maple board end grain. Is this the kind of grain that would be stable? I figured you didn't care about me copying your table. More pictures of the underside would help some if that's is possible.
I'm going to start on the legs and hopefuly get more input before I do any more with the top.
 

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This is mostly sanded with 100 grit and some mineral spirits to show the grain. I got this wood cheap. All I knew was it was maple. I don't know what kind. Are the wide dark marks common. I was hoping they would sand out. I guess not?
 

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i think that's some pretty wood :thumbsup:
i like the way it's looking so far. is the table top going to be as think as the end grain piece you showed? if so, your Mom won't have to worry about that table getting bumped and moved around the room. :laughing:
 

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Hi bigredc

The black marks look like spalting. It is caused by a fungus in the wood. For most woodworkers the spalting acually increases the value of the wood because it can look so beautiful. Daren will probably give you a lot more information on this. He is very knowledgable when it comes to wood. Any way you look at it that is a nice piece of wood to start with. If your moisture content is already down to 7% you are almost there. If you keep it in your nicely heated house for the next few weeks and it doesn't start to warp, check, crack, or split you are probably safe to start working it.

Gerry
 

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Holy smokes, now we are talking something different. No the "dark marks" are not common...and very desirable to some woodworkers (like 2X the price, not "cheap" like you got it :huh:) Gerry called it, spalted.

From the looks of that endgrain that was a big tree, from what I can see the sapwood is on the right edge of the board. If it's already that dry (7% like you said) and was flat, it will stay flat. The fact that it is spalted, partially broken down (rotted if you will) actually relieves stress. You should be in good shape. The fact that it is not heartwood with sapwood on each side lesson the stress too. The maple/walnut table in that one post of mine was just that heart and 2 sides sap, and it is still flat.

Wow I can't imagine anyone thinking about cutting something like that into pieces. I will look killer with walnut, since it has the black spalt lines. Hey, your first project may just be a stunner. That spalt will be more dramatic with final sanding and a finish.

Do your breadboard edges. I would only go 1 1/2" all the way around with walnut, that's just me. Stew on the leg/skirt design. I am not sure I would make the same thing I did now, unless you have more of the same maple for the skirt.

Maybe others have ideas too. Maybe nothing more than a simple square leg and stretcher all made of walnut. You are not in a hurry are you? Maybe we could make this a community project. I have thought about this before. I have had a certain chunk of wood and thought about throwing it out there for design ideas, but figured it would flop, no one would respond.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I'm trying to write an answer but I'm so slow at typing. you keep posting before I done so I have to change what I wrote. I'll do whatever you think is best. I have more maple.
 

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When the time comes I was thinkingof just tongue oil and maybe wax. How's that sound.
I know your were not asking me, but that sounds good. I would like to see a better picture of that board. It may be my imagination...but I thing I see some curl too :eek:. If it does have figure the Tung oil will make it pop.
 

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If you come up with some ideas, I'll do my very best to do it. Don't feel funny about it. Just tell me what you think. I want input. I need to learn.
 

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I just checked the wood again. My meter only goes down to 7% and it doesn't light that up, so I am below that now.
 

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the 2 boards on the right is what's left of the first piece. I have another nice big one but I should probably save that for another project, unless I realy need to use it.
 
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