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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When searching for simple furniture designs I often come across Ana White's site.

Maybe I am crazy, but a lot of her designs DON'T seem to take into account any wood expansion or contraction.

Here are a couple of sketchup images from one of her table plans. In short, the table planks are pocket screwed to one another, then pocket screwed to the breadboards, and then the whole shebang is pocket screwed to the rails...



To join JUST the table planks and the breadboard ends she uses 50 pocket screws :eek: Then she mounts it to the rails / aprons via pocket screws:



She is using 2X8 planks for the table top (the center is a 2X10 plank).

Now is a table like this actually going to hold up with seasonal expansion or contraction?

Or is this thing going to start ripping itself apart as the seasons change, leaving the owner of the table (pocket) screwed out of their time and money?
 

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Hi Stan - IMHO the Ana White site gets a LOT of support from Kreg. I will use her plans occasionally but usually highly modify the joinery called out. I've seen chair plans on there calling for over 100 screws.:thumbdown:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"I've seen chair plans on there calling for over 100 screws."
Well, since using pocket screws is supposed to be save time and money, just think of how much time and money you save by using 100 of them! :thumbsup:

~~~

But do you think this particular design would stand up to time? The books I have read all say that the table has to be allowed to expand and contract independently of the frame...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
so what WOULD be a good way to attach a table top to rails / posts that WOULD allow for contraction / expansion???

would you screw and glue the bradboards to the aprons / posts and then float the table planks in a groove in the breadboard?
 

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I built my table off her site but modified how I did the top.

If you read her story, Ana White is a pretty incredible person to deal with things the way she did. Her furniture is very nice, but as noted, it's not likely to be timeless. It's more likely that she'll learn advanced techniques over time.

She essentially furnished her house on her own using only stud lumber and pocket screws though. Something to be said for that.

Curtis
 

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I'm sort of baffled by the Kreg pocket screw joint thing... I was watching an episode of American Woodshop where they were putting together a kitchen cabinet. I just went and found the episode, and my memory was right: On a 24" wide cabinet 12" deep, they used six screws on each side to hold the bottom to the sides, and ten screws to hold the bottom to the back. That's close to one screw every two inches, even on the longer side!

I found myself thinking "Are pocket screws really that weak? And if so, why would I use them?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"Her furniture is very nice, but as noted, it's not likely to be timeless. It's more likely that she'll learn advanced techniques over time."
Yeah, she has some nice rustic looking designs, and since I like to save money, the thought of using inexpensive lumber to look like reclaimed pieces appeals to me - especially since a lot of the actual reclaimed lumber around where I live sells for $25 to $40 a B/F!!! :eek:

I guess what I am really asking is not whether her furniture is going to last long term, but more of:

How much of a problem is wood expansion and contraction over the SHORT to medium term?

Would a design like the one above start splitting within a year due to seasonal humidity changes?

Or is expansion / contraction not as big a threat as some people make it out to be? (Particularly if you are using 2X4 and 2X6 lumber, which a lot of her plans call for.)

~~~~~~

I found myself thinking "Are pocket screws really that weak? And if so, why would I use them?"
I remember seeing some shear tests for different joints and it seemed like between pocket screws, dowels and M&T joints pocket screws came in last.

I have on of the smaller kreg jigs, and I don't really use it (it was around $35 to $40, think it is called the R3???). I found that using a simple $5 HF dowel kit is easier, more affordable, and holds up well. I don't even use the collar included with the kit. Just some blue painters tape to mark the depth of cut.
 

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If you're already learning the better techniques, I'd stick to them.

I use pallet wood all the time and build with M&T. I've been making potting benches lately that cost me $1.50 to build. That $1.50 is for the dowel that I buy at Lowes. Everything else is M&T. No glue, no fasteners, etc.

Sometimes I just need to bust out a quick project for my wife though. It's easy when she can just pick something on ana-white and I can build it in an afternoon or two and be done.

Curtis
 

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I love my kreg jig for things like building other jigs, face frame attachment, and a few other low priority things, but it's not something I'd consider timeless woodworking.

As for expansion in 2x4 lumber, you need not go further than your back yard wood deck to see the effects of expansion/contraction. Now that said, enough screws into anything and you'll force that expansion elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@ Curtis:

"Everything else is M&T. No glue, no fasteners, etc."
I am not familiar with a potting bench. I looked it up online though.

could you shed some light on how you would make it with only a dowel and M&T joints without using glue? I can't make an M&T joint without glue...

Is this the type of potting bench you are talking about (I mean, something like this??? Not necessarily this exact one. IO would love to see a photo of a completed one, if you have one.)

also, would like to know your secret for getting good pallet wood. Everything I find is kind of junk with lots of metal in it.

Thanks in advance.

 

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Check out this image. Keep in mind mine are nowhere near as pretty but when I finish with my next one I'll snap a pic for this thread.

The way I see it, I'm getting free lumber to practice new techniques. If I make $20 for it at the local boutique, then someone essentially is paying me to learn how do better woodworking. How can I argue with that?
 

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Sorry, I guess mine aren't really potting benches. This is more like what I've been doing... Using scrap stud lumber and pallet wood. I just burn it with a torch and do a rust iron finish.

 

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Maybe part of the marketing of products like plans and services seeks to induce a trust in a seemingly friendly name...like Ana White. Maybe there is no Ana White, or never was. Maybe Ana White is really Ted...oh yeah, there's another one. There's really many others that are into names, like Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, Sara Lee, Angie's List, Craigs List, Uncle Ben.





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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@ Curtis:

Thanks for the photos. Yeah, I like the look of the through mortise.

I also like the bench you made with the burned finish. I will have to learn how to do that. Was there a particular tutorial you followed?
 
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