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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everybody. My names Matthew, and this is my first post. I would consider myself very green at working with wood. I'm a Pipe Welder by day. So I've been making furniture (benches, shelves, and coffee tables) out of reclaimed barn wood I've been picking up locally. I've built 2 live edge benches with pipe fittings used for the frames. Just messing around, and trying to learn as I go.

Now to my latest project. I had the opportunity to pick up some rather large Black Walnut slabs. I purchased 2 24" by 80" and 2" thick slabs, and I plan to build a live edge type dining room table.

I will include some pictures to show where I am at in the project. As the pictures show I got the wood home, I got the bark off the slabs using an angle grinder with a wirewheel on it. (Worked great.) I then sanded the edges up to a 220 grit. Next I set up a straight edge and squared 1 edge on each slab. Tonight I used my ROS to start sanding the tops.

Now I have a couple questions that I would really appreciate some help with. The first question is when I have the slabs side by side, and I look at the grain I can tell that these 2 slabs are from right beside each other. The grain runs the exact same way. Now if I join them both the same way will that cause them to cup? The second question is, on the outside edge of the walnut slabs I notice the grain goes from dark in the middle and then to almost white on the outside. I really like this look, but I'm wondering why on the outide in the white part it almost looks like there's these random black spots which I can't seem to sand off. Did the wood get burnt when it was planned possibly? I tried to take a picture of this the best I could to show what I mean. You can also see it on the left side of the last picture. Maybe it's just how the grain is, Im not sure ?

Anyway, that's enough for now.

I thank you in advance for any help.

PS. I don't know why the pictures showed up like that.
 

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I'm not an expert, but always felt the light wood is what I think is SAP wood, it is close to the bark.

If I'm wrong, someone will correct me.

Enjoy, wood working is super fun, and FUN IS GOOD!

Dale in Indy
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I think you are right. I google imaged Sapwood and that's basically what came up. Im not sure as to why its turning black in random spots like that, but I guess that's just the way the grain is.
 

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The slabs you have there are called bookmatched. That means exactly what you said, that both pieces came side by side. Below is a picture of a piece of birch that I cut down the middle on my bandsaw. The piece started at about 2" thick and 4" wide. After resawing it for the bookmatch, I ended up with 2 pieces each just a little under 1" thick and 4" wide. I hope my explanation makes sense
Bookmatched Birch.jpg

The "white" or lighter colored wood on the outside is the sapwood. If I'm not mistaken, this is the younger growth of the wood, whereas the darker section is the heartwood. I can't really tell in the picture but the dark lines appear to follow the grain. Is it more concentrated near the heartwood of the slab? If so, I'd imagine that is just how the sapwood looks as it starts to darken.

I hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The slabs you have there are called bookmatched. That means exactly what you said, that both pieces came side by side. Below is a picture of a piece of birch that I cut down the middle on my bandsaw. The piece started at about 2" thick and 4" wide. After resawing it for the bookmatch, I ended up with 2 pieces each just a little under 1" thick and 4" wide. I hope my explanation makes sense
View attachment 83729

The "white" or lighter colored wood on the outside is the sapwood. If I'm not mistaken, this is the younger growth of the wood, whereas the darker section is the heartwood. I can't really tell in the picture but the dark lines appear to follow the grain. Is it more concentrated near the heartwood of the slab? If so, I'd imagine that is just how the sapwood looks as it starts to darken.

I hope this helps!
Thanks for the help.

One more question in regards to the book matched slabs. So when I go to joint these 2 pieces in the middle will I be able to join them with both live edges facing the same way even though the end grains are the same ? Or would I have to flip one upside down so the grain are oppisite so when the wood moves it will kind of counteract themselves.

I'm not going to worry about the darkness in the outside edge anymore. I had a closer look and it does coincide with the end grain of the pieces. It's just my friend was over and he had me worried that the wood was somehow burnt when it went through the planer. Lesson learned.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Looks good so far.
You may want to have a crane in and rotate your shop 90 degrees before you take more pics though.lol
I'll have to look into why the pictures are showing up like this. Nobodies going to want to help me if they have to hurt their neck looking at my pictures.. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The weird thing is the pictures show up normal on my computer. They rotate on the forum for some odd reason. I will figure it out for next time I post though.
 

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I tried to post this yesterday but didn't have time. This is a rough drawing of what the end grain should look like if the slabs are bookmatched. The dotted line is the cut line

ForumRunner_20131128_090613.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I tried to post this yesterday but didn't have time. This is a rough drawing of what the end grain should look like if the slabs are bookmatched. The dotted line is the cut line

View attachment 83846

So my Dad was right. I do have to put the end grains opposite to put it together or the joint will fail??

That means I will have to have 1 live edge pointed up and on the other side the live edge will have to point down??

I went out and took a picture of how I have prepped this up for when I join them. I'm pretty sure now this is NOT going to work. Am I right?
 

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I don't think the joint will fail by any means. Normally when glueing up a panel, you try to flip flop each piece to keep the whole top from cupping one way or the other. With such large and thick pieces, this may not be the case. You could possibly look into ways of reinforcing each piece from the bottom by attaching a brace with slotted holes. This will help keep them from cupping, and the slotted holes will still allow the wood to move during each season.

Do you know what the moisture content of the slabs are? Were they kiln dried?

I'm having trouble picturing how those two pieces are sitting with the bookmatched faces both pointing up. If that is the case, it must have been sliced right down the center of the log? Does anyone else care to weigh in on this?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't think the joint will fail by any means. Normally when glueing up a panel, you try to flip flop each piece to keep the whole top from cupping one way or the other. With such large and thick pieces, this may not be the case. You could possibly look into ways of reinforcing each piece from the bottom by attaching a brace with slotted holes. This will help keep them from cupping, and the slotted holes will still allow the wood to move during each season.

Do you know what the moisture content of the slabs are? Were they kiln dried?

I'm having trouble picturing how those two pieces are sitting with the bookmatched faces both pointing up. If that is the case, it must have been sliced right down the center of the log? Does anyone else care to weigh in on this?
Ok. That's great because I want to have the live the edge the same on both sides of the table.

I'm not sure of the exact moisture content, but I do know that they were kiln dried. It seems to be very dry wood.

I will surely brace the bottom if that's what has to be done. Do you think 2 braces would be enough ?

Thanks for the help.
 

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I think that one on either end (running from live edge side across joint to other live edge side) will help it from cupping. Seeing as how you are a welder, are you making the base for this table out of steal as well? Either way some strong steal would make the best support in my opinion. Maybe some square tube or some heavy angle. Just make sure you elongate the holes in the metal.

No problem, that's what the forum is for!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yes I make all my frame from steel. So to connect the frame to the wood I will weld on a 3/8"x2" flat bar on each side of the frame and i will elongate the holes forsure. Sure glad I joined this forum!
 

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I did a large live edge coffee table 30 years ago, I stood the two pieces on edge, routed a 1/2" wide slot/pocket in each, approx. an 1-1/2" deep. I then buried/glued a strip of of plywood that was smooth on both sides in place. Such has kept the two pieces in place up & down at the glue joint, then routed in three places under neath spots to hold pieces of 3/4" angle iron. I tapered the ends, thus making it much more difficult to see, it has worked well, you can't see any movement at all.

I'm NOT saying this is the only way, but worked for me.

I wish you well,

Dale in Indy
 
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