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Thought I was doing good...

by DonBoston
posted 06-22-2014 11:53 PM


36 replies so far

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,

2387 posts in 3932 days


#1 posted 06-23-2014 12:09 AM

We keep a climate controlled space for storing doors and other finished product. I never build cabinets until the site is ready for them so that we do not have to store cabinets. I think looking at storing product in climate contrlooed spaces such as a whed with window unit would help u. Try not to build things way ahead of schedule because storing product is not the best deal. Build the product and get it in the customers hands. Product will fair better in the customers home better than it will in a shed.

-- .

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2702 days


#2 posted 06-23-2014 12:12 AM

Avoid trying to restrain wide panels. They need room to expand because across the grain, wood can move about 1/8”-1/4” for every 12” of width. If you want to do cross grain patterns like that again use veneer or floating panels.

Check out Bruce Hoadley’s book Understanding Wood if you really want to know what’s going on.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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woodman71

162 posts in 3709 days


#3 posted 06-23-2014 12:15 AM

Well just from reading I say a few thing first when you screw the top down if you didn’t do it . Is long gate the hole that you are screw the top too not the top it self. What this does is let the wood move if is just screwed down hold it from being able to move you will get split and crack. The second is the miter it self glue on end grain is not going to hold. Why end grain sucks up glue causing a poor join that can fail. If I was doing this table I would have use biscuit joints or pocket hole screws.

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DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#4 posted 06-23-2014 12:18 AM

Would biscuits or pocket screws have held, since I had a cross grain pattern running?

My wife just bought me a biscuit joiner for fathers day (gotta love a good woman), so I guess I should start doing my corners like that then…

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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cutworm

1075 posts in 3179 days


#5 posted 06-23-2014 12:20 AM

Not sure if you should screw the base to the top in the corners. Especially a metal base. They expand and contract with temperature changes and the longer the metal is the more it moves. I do know some leave the screws a little loose to allow for movement. I feel your pain and have been in your shoes. The main thing is to have fun and learn from mistakes. I still make plenty and have been doing this about 5 years. You may want to replace the miters with a half lap joint Also maybe a tongue and groove joint for the band is stronger and helps with aligning edges.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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Mario

182 posts in 3781 days


#6 posted 06-23-2014 12:28 AM

Actually the way you arranged your tabletop design is what caused the damage, you have wood expanding across the grain in two directions, your table edge frame should allow the surface to free float within or as stated above use veneered panels instead. You might have to cut it down and rebuild but I think it can still be saved.

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JAAune

1864 posts in 2702 days


#7 posted 06-23-2014 12:32 AM

Biscuits in the miters will help with minor movement but not a large amount. You still need to use construction techniques that avoid creating stress when everything is assembled. Also, don’t rely completely upon climate control because sooner or later, air handling systems will break down on the muggiest day of the year and expose the furniture to a major humidity spike.

Here are a couple informational pages I created on the topic. They’re a brief summary of what Hoadley discussed in his book but minus the details and science. I still recommend reading the book.

Water and Wood
Designing for humidity and dimensional change

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#8 posted 06-23-2014 12:40 AM

“Actually the way you arranged your tabletop design is what caused the damage, you have wood expanding across the grain in two directions, your table edge frame should allow the surface to free float within or as stated above use veneered panels instead. You might have to cut it down and rebuild but I think it can still be saved. ”
- MarioF

What do you mean “free float”? I can’t use veneer, everything I do is reclaimed… I’d like to be able to build tables with this type of look to them, but obviously I want them to last.

I just read the stuff that JAAune posted, and it made me think of another little table I did which used pocket screws in the apron to hold down the top. It doesn’t appear to be damaged, but that second page he posted with the construction tip of using a sliding block, that’s some handy info.

I understand I added stress (or really prevented relief), so I’m looking at how to prevent that in the future. Not all of the pieces of wood I pick up are long, so creative designs is a must. If I can learn how to build stuff similar to what I did, yet prevent the stress, that would be ideal.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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changeoffocus

467 posts in 2003 days


#9 posted 06-23-2014 12:50 AM

Very interesting topic and replies,

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WDHLT15

1816 posts in 2861 days


#10 posted 06-23-2014 01:00 AM

Wood shrinks and swells across the grain. It does not shrink or swell longitudinally (with the grain) very much at all. Putting cross grain to long grain sets up a powerful conflict in how the wood will behave with changes in environmental conditions, particularly humidity. When one piece is moving in relation to changes in humidity and the other piece it is attached to (as in glued or screwed with no allowance for movement), something has to give. That is what happened to you.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#11 posted 06-23-2014 01:03 AM

I understand that part Danny, but what changes, other than wood orientation, could I have made to prevent this? I’ve seen tables like this in the past and I’ve never seen the problem before. Unless I was simply fooled, and it was a veneer.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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Whiskers

389 posts in 2412 days


#12 posted 06-23-2014 01:27 AM

Much of what was said went right over my head as i am still learning about these things, but i see Abilene, Shed, Store and it late June. Why didn’t you just put it in a big oven and cook it?

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The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2456 days


#13 posted 06-23-2014 01:31 AM

You could save the corners if you cut kerfs and put contrasting visible splines. It, ll help with strength and look like you did it on purpose. Sand out and fill the other gaps with epoxy. Refinishing, done.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Mario's profile

Mario

182 posts in 3781 days


#14 posted 06-23-2014 02:22 AM

You could free float by cutting a kerf on the frame and slot on your panel, you need to leave an expansion gap around the frame of around 0.125in so make it shallow and use it as a design feature, no way around this one. Adding splines to the frame would still open gaps at the corners. Building this design with flush joints all around with solid wood will leave gaps no matter what. if you sell it and ship it through changing humidity conditions it will happen, try shipping it to Florida or NC, this design works with veneered panels. Bruce Hoadley’s Understanding Wood is an excellent resource for understanding this situation, good luck.

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DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#15 posted 06-23-2014 02:54 AM

Having trouble visioning what you’re saying Mario. Don’t happen to have an example do you?

I appreciate all the help thus far.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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distrbd

2252 posts in 2832 days


#16 posted 06-23-2014 03:05 AM

Lee Valley sells these clamps called tabletop mounting clamps , you can clamp the top to the apron (pretty much like the second link in JAAune’s post)and still allow wood to expand/contract.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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bondogaposis

5398 posts in 2737 days


#17 posted 06-23-2014 04:31 AM

This is known as the “panel of doom”. You can’t confine or control wood movement you can only allow for it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LakeLover's profile

LakeLover

283 posts in 2325 days


#18 posted 06-23-2014 02:38 PM

Everybody is trying to tell you the same thing.

You can not make a solid wood panel and put a tight frame around it. Period.
reclaimed/new material, it does not matter.

This is why frame and panel construction has been made for eons and still today.

Put put down the tools and do some serious reading before you mention furniture maker in you title.

Hate to be harsh but re read all the links, get books threw interlibrary loan. Read and do not deny what they are saying.

And you can make veneer out of your solid stock.

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#19 posted 06-23-2014 03:37 PM

Wow, hey, thanks for being a jerk LakeLover.

As mentioned in my very first post, I acknowledged what the problem was. What I came here looking for was possible solutions. I knew by the time I posted here that I stressed the wood, and was looking for possible construction techniques like Mario was alluding to…

I never claim to be a professional furniture maker, I claim no title. I came here to learn from various sources. I thought that’s what the spirit of this place was, to learn… Put down my tools, seriously?....

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2229 posts in 3023 days


#20 posted 06-23-2014 04:35 PM

Hey Don,

I am a somewhat inexperienced woodworker. But I think I understand what some of the guys are saying. Basicly, you can’t build a thing like you want to build and have it work. Sorry. There is no magic that will make it work – except possibly polymerizing your wood with PEG to prevent moisture infusion. Even that probably won’t work. There are ways to build something similar that might work. Using controlled “reveals” with room for movement might do the trick. I’ve seen tables with mitered corners that had what looked like a slot in the joint. That is, the miter joint was intentionally not tight. A sort-of tounge and groove (or splines like Mario said) arrangement provided support so that the joint was not completely open.

+1 for the Hoadly book. Honestly, I’ve read through it a couple of times and it’s pretty intense reading, but even if you don’t understand all of it, you’ll pick up a lot from spending some time with it.

Wishing you success,

-Paul

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DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#21 posted 06-23-2014 05:01 PM

I understand, and I’m not fighting this fact.

My question would be though, wouldn’t any tight framed table then have the same chance to break the miters? That wood is going to expand in one direction, even if I had built this with all long boards laid in the same long orientation, there’s still going to be expansion. True?

If so, then how do tables such as this one survive?

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2702 days


#22 posted 06-23-2014 06:17 PM

It’s either small enough not to have any issues or made using veneer. Eight inches of cross grain is usually not a major issue. People have gotten away with twelve. Go past that and the chances of things breaking are pretty high.

Tongue and groove construction similar to wood flooring may have been used but I can’t tell in the picture.

That table design above isn’t necessarily a good one either. It’s possible that someone just designed it for looks, took a picture while it was new and sold it without a care as to longevity.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#23 posted 06-23-2014 06:28 PM

That’s actually a 24”x25” teak table with an asking price of like $480. :) hahaha

http://www.teakworks4u.com/Framed-End-Table.html

So on a smaller scale, solid framing can possibly be ok?... Well, I’ve got that book on order, so I’ll do some reading up on it.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5398 posts in 2737 days


#24 posted 06-23-2014 06:37 PM

If so, then how do tables such as this one survive?

In the example table the center boards could be veneered onto a stable substrate such as plywood. Another route would be that the center boards are tongue and groove and tenoned into the end boards and only pinned in the center of each board with enough space between boards so that they can’t push out the miters when the humidity rises.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12796 posts in 2765 days


#25 posted 06-23-2014 06:48 PM

Don, basically you will need to have gaps somewhere in the design to allow for movement otherwise the table will make it’s own gaps (like your miters). The closest thing to what you are trying to do is a frame and panel door. The frame has a groove that allows the panel to expand and contract without pushing the frame apart but to do that you cannot have a seamless top, there must be gaps somewhere either between panel and frame, or between the boards making up the top.

What you need is a good book on standard case/cabinet construction, like Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bill Hylton.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2702 days


#26 posted 06-23-2014 06:51 PM

The description for the table says it’s a parquet top with solid teak framing. That’s a strong indication that they used veneer to make the panel.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#27 posted 06-23-2014 06:59 PM

Not sure the gaps would look good, so it looks like if I want that look, then veneer is the way I should go with splined frame.

Plywood or mdf substrate? And how thin should I cut the veneer?

Lots of great info guys, I appreciate it. I’ve only been doing this for a couple months, been a “crafter” making random things for folks like chessboards, wine racks, boxes, etc. Just starting with furniture.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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BinghamtonEd

2298 posts in 2755 days


#28 posted 06-23-2014 07:33 PM

Gaps would look fine, so long as they are consistent and look intentional. Rather than seeing a gap, create shadow lines by beveling the mating edges. Highlight it instead of trying to hide it. A “panel” made with T&G boards, floating inside an outer frame, would look fine. You could use spaceballs on the outer frame to keep the inner panel centered.

For a coffee table, however, I’d opt away from this. More crevices mean mroe places for dirt and water to accumulate. If I were building it, and I am far cry from a furniture maker, I would make a hardwood frame, and a plywood panel. I’d just buy a high quality piece of oak plywood (not the stuff from HD), and use that for the panel. I would cut grooves in the frame pieces, and a tongue all around the plywood panel. Since the panel is plywood, you could glue the whole thing all around for a nice strong top.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1801 posts in 3245 days


#29 posted 06-23-2014 08:06 PM

MDF is a MORE stable substrate than plywood (providing you don’t get it wet).

If cutting your own veneer, don’t go thicker than 1/8 inch, with 1/16 inch being better from the movement point of view…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View LeTurbo's profile

LeTurbo

234 posts in 1971 days


#30 posted 06-23-2014 08:20 PM

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. Actually, I find that designing for expansion is one of the fun challenges of furniture making. But I look at some of the stuff in the shops – even that of the company that is arguably considered the best (as in most expensive) in South Africa – and its atrocious. Solid tops locked in place on the legs with big bolts and other hardware. I hear everything splits into pieces when minute it’s moved inland from the coast. So look into breadboard ends, into wooden buttons, and into sliding mountings.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1816 posts in 2861 days


#31 posted 06-23-2014 08:30 PM

If you made a groove in the mitered frame, and cut a tongue on the panel and put the panel in the frame in the groove with no glue and a little room for expansion of the panel, i.e., the panel fits in the frame a little sloppy, then the panel will “float” in the groove and you would have allowed for the cross-grain expansion. In this sense, you build the frame around the panel with just a bit of space for the panel to move. You can “ease” the joint between the frame and panel to soften the joint, like a v-groove, and even if there is a little gap, it will look OK.

Most of the panels made in this design that you show are veneered panels, and that is how they get away with gluing the panel solidly in the frame. Solid wood won’t behave nicely that way.

I have ruined a piece or two in my day. Wood is intriguing, but it behaves individually, not like many “engineered” products.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5398 posts in 2737 days


#32 posted 06-24-2014 01:57 AM

This is a classic mistake, those of us that have been on LJ a while see this over and over. It is almost a right of passage for wood workers, we’ve all done it and learned from it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

173 posts in 1962 days


#33 posted 06-24-2014 03:17 AM

Everything said above about making a stable panel inside a frame is good advice.
Tongue and groove boards inside a frame with expansion space allowed will work too.
But, I would like to suggest a slightly different approach to the mitered corners.

Try a 1/2 mitered lap joint. It’s much stronger and still has the same look from the top.

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#34 posted 06-24-2014 03:31 AM

I have not seen that joint before, just looked it up and I like it. Time to make some practice cuts. Looks like it’s time to invest in a dado blade as well.

Just finished making a spline jig to play with some of those on this next chess board I’m making as well.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12796 posts in 2765 days


#35 posted 06-24-2014 03:44 AM

Since you are working with smaller recycled boards, consider making smaller panels inside the larger panel. Small panels move less.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View DonBoston's profile

DonBoston

81 posts in 1847 days


#36 posted 06-24-2014 04:02 AM

I was trying for a larger center one, and then progressively smaller ones out towards the edges. But I understand what you mean.

-- Don Boston RECreations by Don http://recreationsbydon.com

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