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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I had built a combination dining / gaming table some time ago. The center is a sheet of plywood that is removable, providing access to a recessed play area. Around the perimeter is red oak boards. The overall size of the table is 6'4" x 4'
429296

It came together quite nicely, however I've found that the thickness around the perimeter is not consistent. I have a couple places in which the outside edges are flush with the center piece, and others where the outside edges are raised above the center. I would like to modify it by stripping down the perimeter board thickness until they match the center.

As a foreword, I am very new and have very limited tools currently - effectively a circular saw, jig saw, drill, and router (the table legs were purchased as-is). I had thought a planer may be the best tool to use, but not sure if I could use the center as a guide to control the depth as I work around the perimeter. I was wondering if anyone here might have a suggestion on the best way to alter this table? I would plan to re-router the corners afterwards so they would be consistent all the way around, and re-sand everything before finishing.

Thank you for reading through!
 

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Has this thickness always been off, or is this something that has recently happened? Why are there thicker edges in one place and not others?

Anything that you do is going to obviously ruin the finish in the areas where you are working. It reads like you have several areas that need modification. I would plan on totally refinishing the top of the table.

If you can do the planning down grain, that would be my preference, possible followed by light sanding if needed.

George
 

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Can the plywood be fastened down in some way; perhaps thumb screws from underneath? This would help hold it flat. If you can do this, the simple solution would be to shim the plywood in the low areas to even it up.
I'm assuming the the unevenness is not extreme. If so, you might consider applying a small bevel or round over to the edges of both the plywood and the oak perimeter. This would make the difference less noticeable. Also, if not already done, apply the same finish on both sides of the plywood. This will keep it more stable.
What supports the plywood? Is there a chance that this support is sagging in places?
I would not recommend that you try planing it. The chances of making it worse are great. Just do what you can to live with it.
 

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I would agree with yomanbill.
I think it would be alot of work to try and get it perfect. Plus I wonder if the solid oak perimeter and the ply wood center may move differently depending on humidity and such. It would depend how much it's off. It would suck if you go through all the work to get it perfect and something goes wrong. It's a great looking table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the recommendation. I hadn't considered the wood varying differently over time. The problem has existed from the beginning but it may have varied over time in how much. It is off by about 0 - 1/16th as you move around, and the biggest trouble comes from things like playing cards, as they would hit the outer edge and can be difficult to pick up (in the case where the top is not removed for one reason or another)

The plywood rests on boards that extend 1/2" in from the outer oak planks, with the outer oak planks being bolted to the same rails the plywood rests on. I had considered shimming it up but with the insert being in and out, I was concerned it would wear out over time, but I may re-visit that idea.

Thanks again for your suggestions!!!
 

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maybe - just put a small bevel on the mating edges (all round the table) to make the height miss-match less noticeable and move on.
 

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Since the plywood board is low, consider these:
  • (Suggested by @Hakku) Place thin shims on the 1/2 inch supports. I might consider hot melt glue to hold them, for easy removal or replacement as needed.
  • Drill holes in the 1/2 inch supports and put set screws in the holes. Use the set screws to make height adjustments to the plywood top. It would take patience to adjust them to avoid rocking, but you get the idea.
 

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Hello! I had built a combination dining / gaming table some time ago. The center is a sheet of plywood that is removable, providing access to a recessed play area. Around the perimeter is red oak boards. The overall size of the table is 6'4" x 4'
View attachment 429296
It came together quite nicely, however I've found that the thickness around the perimeter is not consistent. I have a couple places in which the outside edges are flush with the center piece, and others where the outside edges are raised above the center. I would like to modify it by stripping down the perimeter board thickness until they match the center.

As a foreword, I am very new and have very limited tools currently - effectively a circular saw, jig saw, drill, and router (the table legs were purchased as-is). I had thought a planer may be the best tool to use, but not sure if I could use the center as a guide to control the depth as I work around the perimeter. I was wondering if anyone here might have a suggestion on the best way to alter this table? I would plan to re-router the corners afterwards so they would be consistent all the way around, and re-sand everything before finishing.

Thank you for reading through!
I agree with Yowman Bill. I will add that plywood thickness can vary anywhere along a sheet, especially the crap from China.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much for the continued responses! I hadn't gone beveling the inside as I was afraid it would be a bigger problem with spills (it does double as a dining table) but looking at it more a very small radius on that edge may do wonders, especially if coupled with shimming the center piece up. At this point I may try using sheet metal to shim the center piece first, as I want something to look nice when the center is out, but if that is insufficient I may well bevel the perimeter as well.

Again, thank you for all your suggestions!!!
 

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Termite
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For future builds you might want to use bullet catches in the build.
This is how i keep the removeable center the same.
Bulletcatch1.JPG
Bulletcatch2.JPG
Bulletcatch3.JPG
p
 

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Can the plywood be fastened down in some way; perhaps thumb screws from underneath? This would help hold it flat. If you can do this, the simple solution would be to shim the plywood in the low areas to even it up.
I'm assuming the the unevenness is not extreme. If so, you might consider applying a small bevel or round over to the edges of both the plywood and the oak perimeter. This would make the difference less noticeable. Also, if not already done, apply the same finish on both sides of the plywood. This will keep it more stable.
What supports the plywood? Is there a chance that this support is sagging in places?
I would not recommend that you try planing it. The chances of making it worse are great. Just do what you can to live with it.
That is by far the easiest and simplest solution. The shims won't show and the top can be made flush all the way around.
 

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Is the plywood sagging in the middle somewhere? Perhaps better support under the plywood itself might help, possibly another smaller piece under the main piece glued or screwed to the top piece or perhaps battens of some kind? If there's a slight sag in it that'll cause high and low areas for sure.. Try laying a stiff straight edge on the surface to look for light between it and the plywood..
 
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