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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, so my original thread was closed due to some strong opinion responses. I'll start this one off by stating please keep any differences off of this thread! I didn't get a chance to respond before it was closed, and just wanted to say that I appreciate any and all input and don't mind blunt opinions, as long as no one is getting hostile toward eachother:)

SO - I've been working on an issue with a plywood table for a friend. Search for "coffee table from poplar ply" for the original thread and design.

Well, i thought i had it sorted out. We decided to add some hidden metal angle supports under the table as they wouldn't be seen at all from most points of view.

I also stained up a piece of the plywood so he could see the finish color we'd agreed on, and suprise! he didn't like the "look" of the oak grain... SOO now he's wanting to cap the table in another layer of 1/2" birch:cursing:

So here's the next question for everyone - What material could i use to cap the ends if i use birch plywood? I plan on avoiding the ol' HD this go around as the oak ply i got there sucks big time. The local lumber yard has birch ply, but not sure if they just have some 4/4 birch i can rip/plane down to use for the trim.

Also - going back to the suggestions of how to joint the top to the legs, now that i'll be adding another "layer" it kind of opens up some other options for joint the current top together, and i'm curious as to what the suggestions would be.

Again, thanks for all the input, and lets keep it civil!
 

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Glad u are back.

First off, one way to get rid of the oak grain is to use what is known as a paste wood grain filler. This will fill the grain and give you a smooth surface.
If interested, I could post more info on it.

Other choice is if you go with the clients idea of another layer of birch. To hide the ends, here is what I would do......I would glue down the new board, providing you didn't already stain the whole thing because glue wont stick to stain. Then I would get a 3/4" wide router bit and set the depth for 3/4" and go across the two ends leaving a 3/4" X 3/4" rabbet. I would then glue a 3/4" X 3/4" strip of poplar or maple in that rabbet. Then get a round-over bit in your router and round over the ends. If this is acceptable to you I can give you small details on how to give it a nice 'look'.
 

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The whole oak vs. poplar thing is throwing me off.
Is it the deep grain and pores in the oak that he don't like or is it the grain look that he don't like?
The reason I ask is because generally poplar is not an attractive wood and is usually used when a painted surface is desired.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry, originally was going with popular, but decided against it for the reason you mentioned.

He decided he didn't like the look of the oak grain stained dark, but likes the more consistentook of birch.

Would lie I see the router idea details!

Thanks!
 

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If he wants birch, give him birch.

The router idea is simple. It's an old technique - if you cant hide a joint, accent it. I don't have any imaging programs on this computer so you will have to visualize.
Picture looking at the upper left corner from the front. You have your plywood pieces from the leg running up into the piece from the top forming the corner. You route out the 3/4 X 3/4" corner rabet. If you lay your 3/4 X 3/4 X 34" stick in there, a front view of the table will show it as a square.
The upper left corner of this square will be rounded over. This leaves the stick with a butt joint on the right side to the top of the table and another butt joint on the bottom of the stick where it rests on top of the leg. The different grain direction of the stick vs. the plywood will look awkward. just accent these to areas. Either use a router with a 45* bit or use a hand block sander on the upper right corner of the stick following along the entire length. Now do the same to the table top but on the upper left corner of the plywood. This will leave a 'groove there. This intentional groove will provide a nice accent to the piece and solve the dilemma of the awkward grain change and slightly different look of the stick. Then do the same with the bottom of the stick where it meets the leg. And do the same technique on the other side.

This groove only needs to be less than 1/8". Just whatever look good.
The grove can be any angle, so you don't have to stick to the 45's on each piece.

Does this make any sense?
 

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Promise you wont laugh. I did this with MS Paint. I'm used to graph paper but no scanner handy here it is.
This is a front view of upper left corner of table.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks tony!


Made a little progress today. Even though I spent most if the day trying to figure out what I was gonna do.

Since he decided he wanted birch, I got some .25" birch ply and some birch hardwood for trim and will be "wrapping" the existing table. and now, since ill be covering the base, I went ahead and bolted the legs on to make sure there wouldn't be any issues. I know this isn't the best from a woodworking technique standpoint, but for the shear size of the table, and the way he wanted to build it, I think it was needed.

Waiting fr a flush trim router bit, then plan on using contact cement to bond on the birch ply and edge with the hardwood.

I realize now I could have built this for the same cost out if solid 8/4 alder or maple and still stained it dark and had a better look to it, but that's what happens when someone changes their mind mid project.

Ill keep posting progress pics as I near te finish line. Pretty much won't be makin much money off this one, but ill chalk it up to a good learning experience...
 

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where's my table saw?
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Those long threads scare me ...

With no access to them how will you ever tighten them, since eventually they will become loose?
It would seem that an access hole from the inside flush with the top of your center filler would be "invisible" and still provide room for a wrench. The exposed threads are way too long and you can't get even a deep well socket over the nut....I'd cut them off to expose only a 1/4" of the threads. You can plug circular holes with factory made plastic cups for that purpose. They won't show if stained dark.
Those are the issues I see. :blink:

Here's some plugs:
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=6069&rrt=1

http://woodworking.rockler.com/c/grommets-vents
 

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.... I know this isn't the best from a woodworking technique standpoint, but for the shear size of the table, and the way he wanted to build it, I think it was needed.
There is nothing wrong with using metal fasteners if that's what it takes to get the job done. Tony B

I realize now I could have built this for the same cost out if solid 8/4 alder or maple and still stained it dark and had a better look to it.....
I think the manufacturer of the original piece already knew this. This is not a smart ass remark, but something to keep in mind in the future. Tony B

Pretty much won't be makin much money off this one, but ill chalk it up to a good learning experience...Unfortunately, learning what doesn't work is just as important as learning what does. Tony B
I think one of the important things to be learned from this is that rarely if ever will you be able to beat a manufactures retail price. I have no idea what you are getting paid to do this and it is none of my business.
I only mention this because it is far from a rare occurrence with relatively inexperienced woodworkers. You should be getting more money than the manufacturers because the customer wants something he cant buy even if it's just a slightly different color.
I admire your courage for taking the initiate to step up. That alone is worth a lot.
 

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the nuts anre buried inside the walls

If you have to bolt the legs to the top, leave a recess at the bottom (of) the legs to tighten a nut. You could use a washer and a lock nut.
The bolts/threaded rods are not long enough to extend out the bottom for access and longer rods would compress the entire side panel, not just the cross piece. That may work better, and would have been my preferred approach, if I were using the threaded rods.

I would have used a locking rabbet, rather than a butt joint with fasteners all the way through. Like this:

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all, I like the idea for the grommets I access the bolts. I used washers and lock washers, but there's always the chance they will come loose eventually. I also glued the legs in fwiw.

Regarding making money in it, he wanted me to do it because they couldn't find this style of table As big as they we wanting, it's significantly bigger than most if the examples they sent. So I thought I'd try. Like you said, learned a lot, and if nothing else I got a few new (to me) tools from the job that I needed to do it, so it's not a total loss:)

My last concern is figuring out how to bond the new ply to the inside of the table since the router won't be able to trim the closed corner. I think I'm going to need to use a hand saw in the corners the router won't reach. Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
woodnthings said:
The bolts/threaded rods are not long enough to extend out the bottom for access and longer rods would compress the entire side panel, not just the cross piece. That may work better, and would have been my preferred approach, if I were using the threaded rods.

I would have used a locking rabbet, rather than a butt joint with fasteners all the way through. Like this:
Good idea, but since my legs were already cut to length cutting the joint would have lowered the table below the desired height... I think I like the idea if longer threaded rod, just nervous about lining it up to go all the way through. I have three bolts in each leg and the middle one might be too hard to line up no that the legs are glued on...😖
 

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Sorry for the delayed response, been workin my tail off to finish this thing up!

I feel like the final product came out great, just took more effort than was probably needed. Te process for glueing the birch on was quite the mess... Took a LOT of contact cement and I had pretty rippin headache despite the respirator. However, I'm glad I went that route as it worked really well, no warping in the ply and I was able to work with it very quickly.

Ill also say the suggestion to oversize the. Route the edges was a great one. Saved me a lot if time and headache. I ended up using a downcut spiral bit and had no issues with tearout on the ply. However, I did try and use te same tech our in the trim board, and it spilt a chunk off. Gut some decent practice with repair... Can't even tell now.

Stain was another zoo. After seeing the 2 coats I apoed of his original color, he decided it wasn't dark enough. So I added a coat I ebony over the top. I was frustrated at the time, but after now tat it looks a lot better.

The table is pretty heavy, and very stout. With the threaded rods in each leg I'm not worried at all about the strength.

So here it is, 3 coats of point later. They're pickin it up this afternoon. Ill be glad this one is in the past....

Thanks for everyone's help an suggestions!
 

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Looks Great

I figured eventually you would get it all worked out.
Congrats.
 
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