Reply by JBrow

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Posted on 2x10 Tabletop with no breadboard? Cupping?

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1368 posts in 1529 days

#1 posted 08-02-2016 02:19 AM


In my mind, the first and foremost consideration when wanting wood to behave over time is to use only good lumber. This would be lumber milled for furniture making. My observation of construction grade lumber is that it is very unstable over time and when it decides to move (it usually does), very little can be done to stop it. Unfortunately, given the dimensions of the top, furniture grade, kiln dried to 12% moisture content lumber is likely to be expensive. But it will behave much better over time than construction lumber.

While I cannot argue with the benefits of a bread board end treatment, a second alternative is battens attached to the underside of the top. A shallow center stop groove down the length of the batten would be a recess that would conceal the heads of pan head screws. A through slot cut down the center of the stopped groove would create slots for the screws and thus allow the top to move without cracking. The screws would secure the batten to the planks making up to top. Making the screws as long as possible without piercing the upper surface of the top would maximize their holding power.

Since the battens rely of the holding power of the screws from below and the top is not restrained on its upper surface, the batten approach is less functionally less attractive to the bread board end. But if good quality low moisture content lumber equalized to its environment is used, the battens approach may work.

I also agree with Tabletop (and all of his ifs), especially with a top that is a finished thickness of 1-1/2”.

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