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Hi. I am new to the list and wood working. I am planning to build a table 60" wide x 30" deep x 42" high out of red oak. I was planning to take four 1x8x6's to get my 30 inch depth for the tabletop. I was planning on using glue, clamps and a caul to edge join the four pieces together for the tabletop. I am wondering if 8 inches is too wide to edge glue together? Also I am wondering if I should alternate the wood grain every other board to reduce cupping and bowing? Thank you.
 

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8" wide boards can be edge glued to get whatever final width. However there are couple of things to keep in mind. First, Standard hardwood will be 8" nominal but will actually be 7 1/4" wide. Depending on your source, the width may be different.

Second, don't try to glue up the panel as a single step. Glue up only three boards and then glue up your first assembly to the width you want.

If you buy flat stock and it has been properly dried and you have acclimated it to your shop, you should not need to alternate boards. It's best to arrange your boards for the most attractive "look".

When gluing up panels, always do at least one "dry fit" to ensure all your edges are properly mating and that you know where your clamps will be and that you have your clamps pre-set and positioned for quick assembly.
 

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Don't make the mistake, so often made, by applying too much clamping pressure thereby squeezing a good percent of the glue out. If the dry fit is correct very little pressure is needed.

The only way I would recommend not alternating boards is if they were all quarter sawed. Anything other than quarter sawed I'd rip each in half and flip.
 

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I don't see a problem with gluing 4 1x8's for the table top. Just don't use the factory edge. It won't be straight enough. The edges need to be fine tuned on a jointer to where you can dry fit them with no gaps. You are correct in that is works better to alternate the grain. You could also take it a step further and put a spline in the joints or dowels so it would be better able to withstand wood movement over time. The spline could be stopped several inches from the end so it isn't visable in the finished product. You could use cauls too if it helps you when you glue it together. I just hammer the joints down flat.
 

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If you are using boards from the box store as they come off the shelf, the edges are likely not flat and square to the faces as well as they could be.

The width shouldn't be a problem. If you don't have a jointer, you might practice some with a handplane, and make a shooting board to dress the edges. As for orienting the grain, I do it for the best visual appeal.






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Where you are getting your boards is very important. I hope you are not going to a box store for this project.
 

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Alternating the boards to minimise cupping is a wise move , as is applying a sealer coat of finish to the underside of the table for the same reason .

8 inches is getting a tad too wide for timber 1 inch thick , 5 inches may be better , and would still give you the width you want .
 
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