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Need your opinion on board widths

by HenryJames
posted 11-06-2018 04:50 PM


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63 replies

63 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#1 posted 11-06-2018 05:20 PM

Well you won’t get a definitive answer. There a lot of people on both sides of the fence. I’ve always went with the best grain and color match. I never rip and flip. I wouldn’t want a table that looked like a zebra stripes. JMHO

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4399 posts in 949 days


#2 posted 11-06-2018 06:35 PM

Well, first of all, if I’d been woodworking for 8 years without pause, I’d take a break. Grab a bite to eat and get some sleep.

I agree with AlaskaGuy that a bunch of narrow strips might be a bit noisy looking, but it depends on the grain. I’d leave them wide personally. Neither way is right or wrong though.

One thing about a wide panel is that you’ll hear most people say to alternate the growth rings. They read it somewhere or learned it in shop class, and indeed, I still see that in print quite often.

Think about it though, would you rather have one long arc if it bows, or a washboard? I follow Tage Frid’s advice and orient all of the growth rings curving up (assuming it’s flat sawn — ignore this if it’s quarter or rift sawn). The idea is that the panel will bow up in the middle and can be pulled flat easily. It also puts the heartwood up top where you want it.

Here is Tage Frid’s comment from the Spring 1976 issue of Fine Woodworking:

“Another thing most books tell you is to alternate the wood to compensate for the cupping caused by shrinkage. This would be fine if you wanted to design a washboard. But if you want to use your wood, for example, for a tabletop, it will take a lot of screws to hold it down, plus every second board will usually have a lot of sapwood, especially today with the shortage and high cost of wood, where every piece must be used. But, if we don’t alternate the wood, it will work together and form an arch that will be very easy to hold down with a few screws. Also, we will have the center of the wood facing up, meaning less sapwood, better color, harder and usually fewer knots.”

BTW, even with quartersawn wood, there is a right way and a wrong way to orient the boards:

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#3 posted 11-06-2018 07:41 PM

I forgot to add. It’s perfectly OK to flip you photos. :)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2637 posts in 1582 days


#4 posted 11-06-2018 08:25 PM

My personal experience is WO is very stable once dry. I glue up full sized boards like you have without any further warping. The edging idea seems like it could do no harm.

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

2198 posts in 2158 days


#5 posted 11-06-2018 08:31 PM

Always arrange the boards for the best look. I think your question about cutting off the ends and edges and flipping them over to beef up the top is a cosmetic move.
I’m my mind it will not add any stiffness or anti warping powers to the top.
It will most like add a small book match edge and possibly a witness line that will catch the eye. The corner where the end grain and long grain meet will be interesting and require skill.
If in fact that’s what your thinking.
Not saying you should try never know where this type of thinking will lead us. Curiosity and unexpected surprises are a big boost for creativity.
Do keep all the grain flow in one direction. No cross grain
Good luck

-- Aj

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 864 days


#6 posted 11-06-2018 08:32 PM

.......So…Should I cut these boards in half to 4.5” each and flip every other? Or just glue em up at 9”?
- HenryJames

Welcome to LJ!!! Yes absolutely cut them and flip every other board. When you say “flip” I think you mean to crown every other board. The people that brag about gluing up panels with wide boards are not going to be around when it warps or bows and the end user is saying “what now??” If the end user is you then ask them what they are going to do for you if it don’t work…....generally the end of the conversation.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2067 posts in 3659 days


#7 posted 11-06-2018 08:56 PM

I’d have no problem gluing them up as-is. They sound like they’re very stable, and you’ve done everything right so far in terms of milling them.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4399 posts in 949 days


#8 posted 11-06-2018 08:56 PM


.......So…Should I cut these boards in half to 4.5” each and flip every other? Or just glue em up at 9”?
- HenryJames

Welcome to LJ!!! Yes absolutely cut them and flip every other board. When you say “flip” I think you mean to crown every other board. The people that brag about gluing up panels with wide boards are not going to be around when it warps or bows and the end user is saying “what now??” If the end user is you then ask them what they are going to do for you if it don t work…....generally the end of the conversation.

- msinc

So you know more than Tage Frid? I’m very impressed, considering he was one of the greatest furniture designers, builders and teachers of the 20th century. Maybe you could use one of your project posts as an example to prove your point. Oh wait, you don’t have any.

Your “what are they going to do for you” comment is real cutesy, but if you get good advice and follow it accurately it’ll never come to that. Of course, if they follow your bad advice, all bets are off. What are you going to do for them then?

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 864 days


#9 posted 11-06-2018 09:03 PM

Bad advice???? Okay. let me go ahead and amend my post….glue them up. do not cut them down, and make sure you have all the end grain laying the same way so every board is crowned up {or down} just make certain they are all the same way so it’s sure to bow. Forget about gluing them to stay together and not warp…make sure they “look good” and just do it. You will not be long figuring out which is the “Bad” advice. Best of luck…you are going to need it if you do it this way!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4399 posts in 949 days


#10 posted 11-06-2018 09:22 PM


Bad advice???? Okay. let me go ahead and amend my post….glue them up. do not cut them down, and make sure you have all the end grain laying the same way so every board is crowned up {or down} just make certain they are all the same way so it s sure to bow. Forget about gluing them to stay together and not warp…make sure they “look good” and just do it. You will not be long figuring out which is the “Bad” advice. Best of luck…you are going to need it if you do it this way!!!

- msinc

Did you read post #2? Google Tage Frid and tell me you know more than he does. Frankly, with no projects and no blog posts, I don’t think your credentials hold much water anyway. But I’m sure that won’t stop you from pretending to be an expert, because you just know.

P.S. I do actually build things that way, they look beautiful and sell for a lot of money and my customers love them. Feel free to look at my projects to see a small sampling of my work, then show some of yours. Until then, it’s just all hot air.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2318 days


#11 posted 11-06-2018 09:58 PM

Henry,

Welcome to LJ! Glad you are here. Your material looks great.

I am with Splinter and Jonah. That is tight grain and high-quality material. You should be upset if they move much at all. It is not a deck, so don’t get caught up treating it like redwood or crappy pine. Glue them up and make sure you get the direction and order marked so you do not flip one last minute. Look forward to seeing this finished.

Rich/msinc – can you two please hug and make up now?

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4399 posts in 949 days


#12 posted 11-06-2018 10:07 PM


Rich/msinc – can you two please hug and make up now?

- BroncoBrian

I like you so I’m going to let that one slide :)

I see you have the Oneway Multi-Gauge in your profile photo. What an awesome tool. I use mine all the time.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

342 posts in 1040 days


#13 posted 11-06-2018 10:10 PM

I’d glue them up wide. Your base is sturdy, and you’re fastening it down to help keep it from warping.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2318 days


#14 posted 11-07-2018 01:24 AM


Rich/msinc – can you two please hug and make up now?

- BroncoBrian

I like you so I m going to let that one slide :)

I see you have the Oneway Multi-Gauge in your profile photo. What an awesome tool. I use mine all the time.

- Rich

I like you too Rich. Don’t want you passing on us from a heart attack too soon!

That Oneway Multi-gauge is excellent! Setting blades, tables, check the bandsaw split, and other needs are as reliable as it gets.

But you cannot ignore the bottle of Lagavulin in that image!

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1846 days


#15 posted 11-07-2018 01:36 AM

Hugs? And I’m not included?

For shame…

I glue it whichever way is prettier.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 850 days


#16 posted 11-07-2018 03:14 AM

Nobody wins an argument about board width. :(

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#17 posted 11-07-2018 03:16 AM



Nobody wins an argument about board width. :(

- lumbering_on

There is no argument. My way is right. :)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#18 posted 11-07-2018 03:23 AM

Tell the truth, would you rip it and flip it?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#19 posted 11-07-2018 12:34 PM

Wow, this is a feisty group! I think I’m going to like it here. Haha. I’ll glue them up full width, and post some project updates along the way. Thanks for all of the replies!

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2747 posts in 3243 days


#20 posted 11-07-2018 01:27 PM

I’ve heard professional woodworkers argue for both rip and flip and argue that it doesn’t matter. Essentially means that there is no right answer and that we’re in the realm of personal opinion and experience. I think that the look of the “rip and flip” is ugly and unnecessary; that’s why breadboard ends were invented so that you didn’t have to worry as much about cupping if you leave the boards wide.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

430 posts in 539 days


#21 posted 11-07-2018 02:47 PM


- Rich

That diagram really isn’t correct is it? If you run a board cupped side up through tables saw, the blade wouldn’t be parallel to the cup. It would be more like a series of speed bumps. I do agree largely with the overall idea.

If the board comes to me flat, I use it. If it’s noticeable cupped, I cut it down. Seems to work for me.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9040 posts in 2688 days


#22 posted 11-07-2018 03:05 PM

Are you planning on using bread boards?

I personally would laminate up material for 1.5” thick bread boards and cut a full width tenon on the ends of the glued up top with a router.

Then you can double up with narrow strips on the long side edges to match the bread board thickness for the thick look you’re after.

But that’s just me….

And OBTW, comparing this table top build to a wide plank live edge table is, IMO, apples to oranges.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Rich's profile

Rich

4399 posts in 949 days


#23 posted 11-07-2018 03:16 PM


That diagram really isn’t correct is it? If you run a board cupped side up through tables saw, the blade wouldn’t be parallel to the cup. It would be more like a series of speed bumps. I do agree largely with the overall idea.

If the board comes to me flat, I use it. If it’s noticeable cupped, I cut it down. Seems to work for me.

- CWWoodworking

The article was about wood movement. He’s just trying to illustrate the effects. That was issue #2 of Fine Woodworking in 1976 and they obviously hadn’t gotten their graphics systems up to speed yet.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

935 posts in 1579 days


#24 posted 11-07-2018 03:23 PM



Nobody wins an argument about board width. :(

- lumbering_on

or bacon being better than sausage.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2318 days


#25 posted 11-07-2018 03:24 PM

Hang on Tom, are you saying bacon IS or IS NOT better than sausage? This is stressing me out…

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#26 posted 11-07-2018 04:07 PM

Don’t mess with bacon lovers….........or Alder lovers….......JMHO

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

618 posts in 1000 days


#27 posted 11-07-2018 04:15 PM

Alaskaguy,
Did you by chance use a sliding dovetail underneath to hold the top flat with the bearers beneath?
I have been mulling over a wide slab table like that for a while, and have been burned by cupping before. The sliding dovetailed legs seem like an insurance policy against it.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#28 posted 11-07-2018 04:19 PM


Alaskaguy,
Did you by chance use a sliding dovetail underneath to hold the top flat with the bearers beneath?
I have been mulling over a wide slab table like that for a while, and have been burned by cupping before. The sliding dovetailed legs seem like an insurance policy against it.

- JohnMcClure


Sorry for the confusion. I guess I should have put a note in that post with the photo. That was a photo I found online. I did not build that table. So the answer is “I don’t know”.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#29 posted 11-07-2018 10:38 PM


Are you planning on using bread boards?

I personally would laminate up material for 1.5” thick bread boards and cut a full width tenon on the ends of the glued up top with a router.

Then you can double up with narrow strips on the long side edges to match the bread board thickness for the thick look you re after.

Mainiac Matt…Im considering doing exactly what you’re saying. My only hesitation is that I use a festool domino for floating tenons in breadboards. I don’t think I could use a thick enough domino When joining the BB to the end grain of the table, if it’s only 7/8” thick table top. Perhaps I should trim and flip underneath on the ends of the table anyways, even if I do use a breadboard. Just for more material when I Mortise in to the ends.

Do you guys think breadboards actually help prevent warping on the tops? Or is that just old wives take stuff.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

935 posts in 1579 days


#30 posted 11-08-2018 07:57 PM



Hang on Tom, are you saying bacon IS or IS NOT better than sausage? This is stressing me out…

- BroncoBrian

most definately bacon is better. there are no other meats.

View DS's profile

DS

3138 posts in 2780 days


#31 posted 11-08-2018 09:22 PM

—- comments deleted by the author——

Well, I had some comments here, then I remembered that someone once said that “Arguing on the Internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you’re still retarded.”

So, my opinion;
Definitely Bacon.
Rip – nearly always.
Account for wood movement – ALWAYS.

I will stand down now.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2590 posts in 934 days


#32 posted 11-08-2018 10:13 PM

The only reason I have seen to rip before glue up is to rip that smidge off one side so you can joint them. Otherwise ripping into the board is only needed if it is an entirely pithed out board that is going to split if you don’t rip out the weak pith, or a board with some kind of fault that otherwise makes it unusable.

Based on your pics, that isn’t the case, so joint one edge, doesn’t look like you will need to face joint, so Plane it to whatever you want it to be. If you like that thickness, rip and edge, joint it or however to get it smooth enough to glue up. Arrange them all ways for the best grain/color match, and get busy with the glue, and clamps. Cauls are your call.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#33 posted 11-26-2018 01:56 AM

Just an update. Glued up the wide board widths nice and flat. Sanding and first coat of finish on underside of table (hence all the sapwood). Can’t wait to see the topside with its first coat.

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#34 posted 11-26-2018 01:58 AM

Oh. And thank goodness for HVLP sprayers.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1846 days


#35 posted 11-26-2018 05:21 AM



Don t mess with bacon lovers….........or Alder lovers….......JMHO

- AlaskaGuy


Damn skippy

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#36 posted 11-26-2018 05:56 AM

HenryJames,

Looks good. Thanks for the feed back. Is that finish wet or are you using a gloss finish?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1262 posts in 1269 days


#37 posted 11-26-2018 06:20 AM

- HenryJames

Whaddya got goin’ on there, Henry? Interesting. Are those PVC rings being used to prevent contact of the pipe clamps to the areas of glue squeeze out? If so, that’s a great idea!

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

688 posts in 1100 days


#38 posted 11-26-2018 02:08 PM


- HenryJames

Whaddya got goin on there, Henry? Interesting. Are those PVC rings being used to prevent contact of the pipe clamps to the areas of glue squeeze out? If so, that s a great idea!

- Ripper70

I was just thinking the same thing! I need to do this, as I always forget how bad my pipe clamps can stick to or even stain my glue up. Pretty neat and economical solution!

And btw, that sure is one attractive top!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2178 posts in 2998 days


#39 posted 11-26-2018 04:35 PM



Hang on Tom, are you saying bacon IS or IS NOT better than sausage? This is stressing me out…

- BroncoBrian

most definately bacon is better. there are no other meats.

- tomsteve

My wife and I just made some sausage… with bacon in it! So, how’s that!?
7.5lb venison, 3lb bacon, 2lb lean pork, half bag of “old something-or-other link sausage spice”, grind, stuff, cook, serve, eat.

As for the table, I have never made one, although I have a lot of wide boards so am interested in the process. Thanks for the discussion.

Unfortunately, the photo is on my phone … which is broken now … and may never yield up it’s contents.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#40 posted 11-26-2018 05:04 PM

Hang on Tom, are you saying bacon IS or IS NOT better than sausage? This is stressing me out…

- BroncoBrian

most definately bacon is better. there are no other meats.

- tomsteve

My wife and I just made some sausage… with bacon in it! So, how s that!?
7.5lb venison, 3lb bacon, 2lb lean pork, half bag of “old something-or-other link sausage spice”, grind, stuff, cook, serve, eat.

As for the table, I have never made one, although I have a lot of wide boards so am interested in the process. Thanks for the discussion.

Unfortunately, the photo is on my phone … which is broken now … and may never yield up it s contents.

- Ocelot


Sounds like great sausage except you forgot the 3/4 cup Alder dust spice,

What is the difference between bacon and pork?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#41 posted 11-26-2018 07:28 PM



HenryJames,

Looks good. Thanks for the feed back. Is that finish wet or are you using a gloss finish?

- AlaskaGuy

Oh, it’s just wet still. Arm R seal satin finish.

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#42 posted 11-26-2018 07:32 PM


- HenryJames

Whaddya got goin on there, Henry? Interesting. Are those PVC rings being used to prevent contact of the pipe clamps to the areas of glue squeeze out? If so, that s a great idea!

- Ripper70

You got it. I was fed up with the black glue stains. Plus the pvc rings raise the 4/4 lumber a touch, putting it more in line with the center of the clamp creating a little more even pressure I found. Just be careful cutting the pvc on a chop saw! I cut pvc all of the time to length, but with the pieces this small, I had a few fliers that caught a tooth blade.

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#43 posted 11-29-2018 03:18 AM

I figure for completion sake I’ll keep updating until I’m done. 14mm x 140mm apron to leg tenons. Might pin them with oak dowels through leg. Not sure if I should bother though. And second coat of finish on the top. Still wet! Will be satin when dry. Knot holes filled with epoxy and transtint.

View eflanders's profile

eflanders

326 posts in 2210 days


#44 posted 11-29-2018 02:30 PM

First off, Welcome! I’ve not worked with white oak so keep that in mind. Your glue up pictures look very nice!

In my experience working with red oak and other species is that wide panels will warp down the road if: The wood hasn’t thoroughly dried after sawing, planing, etc.. So I rough mill my planks and let them dry/stabilize for awhile before gluing. Then depending on what look the customer wants, I orient the grain accordingly as I lay out my glue up. That grain orientation and the plank thickness determines whether breadboard ends are a good idea.

I’ve got red oak furniture that is 1-100+ years old that has split on the end grain even when built correctly. Oak end grain can be fickle as can hickory.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#45 posted 11-29-2018 06:06 PM

BTW HeneryJames, now that you have glued up the top you know to keep it (the top) in such a manor it gets air flow on all sides. Don’t lay it flat on something that blocks air to one side of the top.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2959 posts in 3798 days


#46 posted 11-29-2018 06:17 PM

I’ve found that you always, always, have to straighten and flatten boards before use. Otherwise the build can get very interesting.
That said, My jointer is 6” wide max. So I don’t bother to look for wide boards. Narrower ones also can be a bit more forgiving when glued up.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View HenryJames's profile

HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#47 posted 11-29-2018 08:13 PM



BTW HeneryJames, now that you have glued up the top you know to keep it (the top) in such a manor it gets air flow on all sides. Don t lay it flat on something that blocks air to one side of the top.

- AlaskaGuy

Oh man, I learned this the hard way once. I glued up 3 desk tops and left them flat on my assembly table for 5 days. I came back and they looked like barrels. This was before I had a climate controlled shop and it was summer around 75% humidity. I keep table tops on 2×8’s that are on turned on edge now, while I finish them.

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HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#48 posted 11-29-2018 08:18 PM



I ve found that you always, always, have to straighten and flatten boards before use. Otherwise the build can get very interesting.
That said, My jointer is 6” wide max. So I don t bother to look for wide boards. Narrower ones also can be a bit more forgiving when glued up.

- Craftsman on the lake

This is where I differ. Many,Many tables later, I still don’t own a Jointer. I want an excuse to buy one, but I can’t justify it. I buy wide boards that are 12’ or longer in length and always get lots of flat material. I built two 8’ torsion box assembly tables that are deadflat over the 4×8 surface. So I reference board flatness on those. I choose boards that are reasonably flat, and use a festool domino for the glueups. No cauls needed. Always have ended up with flat tops. Boards that are real messed up get turned into smaller projects.

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HenryJames

17 posts in 197 days


#49 posted 12-02-2018 02:00 AM

Well, she’s done. Thanks for all the advice.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2669 days


#50 posted 12-02-2018 03:43 AM

Turned out great. Much better looking than rip and flip IMHO

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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