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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm an novice and not pretending to be more. So please be kind.
I built our dining room table just to see if I could do it. Overall it came out pretty decent. I used pine wood to make it on a budget.
But I didn't plane the wood because I didn't know that was something you should do. I also didn't own a table saw at the time and didn't level the slightly bowed pieces. So I have gaps in the boards. The design also framed out the boards with 2x4s all around it. So there's no room for the wood to expand or shrink.
Anyway, my plan is to one day scrap the table entirely and rebuild. But for the time being this is the table I have.
I built it a few years ago and now I'm starting to think maybe I can do something about those gaps between the boards.
Would epoxy work? Or is there some other filter I might try and use just to seal it up and make the table a bit more.... Useable and less unsightly? Just thought I'd ask.
Other things I've built: picture frame molding in my dining room, board and batten wall in my mudroom, coffee table and Lego table in the basement. And some floating shelves. And other odd little things over the years. I'm learning slowly. Thanks!
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The Nut in the Cellar
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How about posting a picture or two to see what we are working with? Is it stained and with what? What are the topcoats, varnish, oil? Just off the top of my feeble brain, I might use a wood filler tinted to match the current finish, then sand the top smooth, and re-topcoat. But without pictures, suggestions are a shot in the dark.
Oh and welcome to the forums.
 

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Wood expands across the grain. You have made a 2 x 4 frame with planks inside that have gaps between. The wood you have will expand and contract into those gaps, so the frame is not stressed very much.
If you fill those gaps with solid material like resin or epoxy, then the natural wood movement is going to have nowhere to go other than stress your frame and spring the joints.

My advice is to leave it alone and start a replacement table going slowly researching woods and joints as you go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wood expands across the grain. You have made a 2 x 4 frame with planks inside that have gaps between. The wood you have will expand and contract into those gaps, so the frame is not stressed very much.
If you fill those gaps with solid material like resin or epoxy, then the natural wood movement is going to have nowhere to go other than stress your frame and spring the joints.

My advice is to leave it alone and start a replacement table going slowly researching woods and joints as you go.
Thank you, Sunny. Living and learning over here.
 

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where's my table saw?
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I'm an novice and not pretending to be more. So please be kind.
I built our dining room table just to see if I could do it. Overall it came out pretty decent. I used pine wood to make it on a budget.
But I didn't plane the wood because I didn't know that was something you should do. I also didn't own a table saw at the time and didn't level the slightly bowed pieces. So I have gaps in the boards. The design also framed out the boards with 2x4s all around it. So there's no room for the wood to expand or shrink.
Anyway, my plan is to one day scrap the table entirely and rebuild. But for the time being this is the table I have.
I built it a few years ago and now I'm starting to think maybe I can do something about those gaps between the boards.
Would epoxy work? Or is there some other filter I might try and use just to seal it up and make the table a bit more.... Useable and less unsightly? Just thought I'd ask.
Other things I've built: picture frame molding in my dining room, board and batten wall in my mudroom, coffee table and Lego table in the basement. And some floating shelves. And other odd little things over the years. I'm learning slowly. Thanks!
It would make a great work bench top!
Start over on the dining table now, but build the bench first.
Choose hardwood planks or Southern Yellow Pine, air dried, have it thickness planed and shop acclimated and you should have little warping.
Remember that vertical end grain will warp the least, it's called "quarter sawn".
There are ways to align the planks when gluing them together:
Splines, biscuits, dowels and clamping cauls all work and have been used by woodworkers for years.
Having enough clamps to work from both the top and underside keeps the panel flat.
There are several really good You Tube videos on gluing and clamp up table tops using various methods.

As far as making a workbench, make some scale models first to determine how the joinery will work.
I made these as an design experiment, but I didn't make the bench yet:
 

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where's my table saw?
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guess i am the oddball, i like it. i like that you made it and it is functional...
I like it also.
But, I would chamfer the upper edge all around at a 45 degree about 1/2" to 3/4" wide. This will make it appear lighter and less bulky AND it won't cut into your forearms when sitting at it. It's very rustic looking and that's good if it fits the home decor.
The 2 x 3 around the edge doesn't add any structure to speak of. JMO. It could be less tall by 1" or so which would still cover the raw edges and the chamfer would help also.
Place mats and or a table cloth can "dress it up" a bit, to add color. My choice would be place mats and they will help keep food scraps out of the gaps.
 
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Wood expands across the grain. You have made a 2 x 4 frame with planks inside that have gaps between. The wood you have will expand and contract into those gaps, so the frame is not stressed very much.
If you fill those gaps with solid material like resin or epoxy, then the natural wood movement is going to have nowhere to go other than stress your frame and spring the joints.

My advice is to leave it alone and start a replacement table going slowly researching woods and joints as you go.
Exactly. As long as it is structurally sound, continue using it. As you gain more experience, knowledge, and equipment, you can consider a replacement. You could take it apart an re-join everything, but then you would be without a table to use in the interim. It's a good suggestion above to start with a new bench. Start with kiln driesd lumber and study different types of joinery.
Have fun!
 

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Often times bowl turners will use a black glue such as "Starbond" to seal and fill cracks in the wood. I would NOT recommend that product for your application. I just mention it as a reference in the color choice blending with a wood finish.

In your case you might consider, a black RTV silicon to fill the gaps between your boards. The silicon will stay flexible which will allow for expansion and contraction of the boards.
one example of what is available; Rutland 500 Degree RTV High Heat Silicone (Black) 10.3 Oz Cartridge : Industrial & Scientific (amazon.com)
 

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Just use a table cloth until you get around to building another table, covers a lot of sins.
guess i am the oddball, i like it. i like that you made it and it is functional...
agree with both of these guys. good looking table, table cloth is used on our maple dining room table 99% of the time to keep damage down. table cloth comes off after eating to enjoy the table. soft pine is ok as long as you enjoy the distressed look that kids will impart on it after a couple meals.
 

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The gaps you have are because the wood you used is regular construction grade. Construction grade lumber is usually kiln dried to around 12-18% moisture content. Furniture grade lumber is normally kiln dried to around 6-8% moisture content. The boards shrank due to the excessive moisture content. If you make a new table with lumber grade wood, expect the same results.
If you have a table saw, you can slice the boards apart on a table saw and then re-edge them on the table saw and re-glue. Then touch up the new cut areas on the edge where it show.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The gaps you have are because the wood you used is regular construction grade. Construction grade lumber is usually kiln dried to around 12-18% moisture content. Furniture grade lumber is normally kiln dried to around 6-8% moisture content. The boards shrank due to the excessive moisture content. If you make a new table with lumber grade wood, expect the same results.
If you have a table saw, you can slice the boards apart on a table saw and then re-edge them on the table saw and re-glue. Then touch up the new cut areas on the edge where it show.
Thank you!
1) I live in southeastern Mass. Do you happen to know where I might be able to get furniture grade lumber and do places like that sell to individuals or only to contractors? I guess I'm not sure how to buy wood outside the common retail market. (places like Lowes and HD)
2) I do have a table saw now! A buddy of mine from work gave me a brand new one that is 30 years old and massive. We set it up last summer and sadly it's been sitting in my garage ever since. I'm a teacher and a mother and finding the energy/focus/time during the school year is hard. Plus I don't know how to use it yet so he's going to come over this summer and give me tutorials. He is the woodshop teacher at the school.
I will mention your idea to him about re-edging and see if I can make that work. I have so much to learn but I'm excited about it. Thank you!
 
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