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View CharlesNeil's profile

Expansion and Contraction..Am I thinking correctly

by CharlesNeil
posted 02-09-2017 06:30 PM


1 2 next »
63 replies

63 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6014 posts in 3373 days


#1 posted 02-09-2017 06:33 PM

I feel like if it has room to expand at both the front and back it will be okay. Is there a backsplash planned that could hide an expansion gap at the back?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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a1Jim

117782 posts in 4137 days


#2 posted 02-09-2017 06:37 PM

How about doing sliding dovetails mitered corners ?

View Dez's profile

Dez

1168 posts in 4637 days


#3 posted 02-09-2017 06:39 PM

It should be just fine as long as it can freely expand and contract. I usually fasten mine at the back and allow the front to move.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

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CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#4 posted 02-09-2017 06:44 PM

The question is , being mitered will they move together .. they should but!!!!!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117782 posts in 4137 days


#5 posted 02-09-2017 06:51 PM

As you know they will move across the grain how much probably will be determined by the width of the mitered
part of the countertop. it seems like I’ve seen you miter table tops with mitered edges 4 or 5” without concerns ? I guess another issue is if your using 1/4 sawn material or not ?

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000

2859 posts in 1459 days


#6 posted 02-09-2017 06:53 PM

Just my thinking!
As they expand they will hit in the front so the pressure would want to open the miter in the back.
I don’t know if they will expand enough to do that though. Controlled environment and acclimated wood, it may be OK.

Think to yourself, what would you tell someone if they were asking you?
Pretty much, that’s probably the right answer.
Myself, if it were for me, I would probably do it.
For a client, might not want the liabilty to HAVE to re-do it, and then how do you re-do it any better?

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#7 posted 02-09-2017 06:54 PM

Jim, this is all flat sawn walnut… draw an “L” with a miter, the question is, its it or is it not going to move in unison ..

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#8 posted 02-09-2017 07:00 PM

jbay,

I totally agree, I have never done this, I do furniture, but to glue it seems logical, but then again, ?

Im going to domino it, glue it solid , and see what happens, if it has issues, Ill certainly hear about it and would make a new top..and so will you folks, one of those , live and learn things.
The wood is well acclimated and dry, I will finish it top/ bottom and seal it well. Time will tell,

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117782 posts in 4137 days


#9 posted 02-09-2017 07:02 PM

If you putting you miter were two counters meet at a miter I would guess the will move in a similar manner but still would have concerns about it affecting the miter .would crystal allow a board at the miter were you could do a stop dovetail allowing both sides of the “L” to move at whatever each side wants to do?

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1149 days


#10 posted 02-09-2017 07:03 PM

Have you already purchased the lumber? If not, go for quarter sawn. It will be more stable.

Edit: Sorry, I just saw your post about flat sawn. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, never mind.

View RBWoodworker's profile

RBWoodworker

441 posts in 3912 days


#11 posted 02-09-2017 07:30 PM

yes, they’re going to move since they are solid wood.. no doubt.. I think it all depends on the moisture content of the boards and if some are as dry as the others.. if it were me, I woukd miter them, route for a spline to go the width of the miter, but stopping anot inch or so from the edge.. and use those “T” bolts to draw the joint tight and use no glue.. the spline and T bolts should keep the seam tight and with no glue, allow for movement..

-- Randall Child http://www.racfurniture.com/

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papadan

3584 posts in 3928 days


#12 posted 02-09-2017 08:07 PM

Build your counter top and seal it with bar top sealer, there will be no movement.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

960 posts in 2001 days


#13 posted 02-09-2017 08:48 PM

The critical thing here, IMHO is that with wood movement, the miter angle will change—so the attachment system needs to allow at least one leg to “swing” to accommodate.

Countertop bolts will keep the miter tight, but movement still needs to be accommodated.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile

TheTurtleCarpenter

1053 posts in 1626 days


#14 posted 02-09-2017 09:03 PM

. My thought Charles would be to use two 1/8 splines thru the mitres or 1 at 1/4” width using a slot cutter in a router. I would fit and glue the mitre at the shop if I could using a template from the wall to fit and also be sure to seal all ends, edges and bottom to cut down on taking on moisture.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

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Kazooman

1386 posts in 2512 days


#15 posted 02-09-2017 09:33 PM

I’ve certainly never done this, but I think it may be a problem. As either piece expands along its considerable width the portion at the miter is bearing against the end grain of the other piece. I don’t see how it can move freely without opening up the joint at the rear. On the other hand, if the pieces are contracting they would pull away from each other and just open up the entire joint unless the entire top is allowed to float freely.

Edit:
On second thought, I think that it might work as long as the entire top is allowed to move. We normally don’t worry about expansion with the grain, but here the cross grain expansion of one piece will be transferred along the length of the other. Allowing the top to move lengthwise and not just across the grain might be critical.

I think I need to go build a mock up and dump some water on it.

View clin's profile

clin

1072 posts in 1556 days


#16 posted 02-09-2017 10:05 PM

Boards do not expand and contract equally in width and length (very little in length). Therefore, any angle other than a 90-degree crosscut will not stay the same angle, as the wood expands and contracts. If you cut a board at 45-degrees and it then expands, the angle will become more than 45-degress (move closer towards a 90-degree cut). If it shrinks, the angle will become shallower.

Assuming the back edge of the top is secured, this will force the countertop pieces to remain in a 90-degree angle, but as the wood expands, the joint will tend to open up on the outside corner of the joint. If the joint were not held down at the front, then the front could actually lift up and allow the corner to stay tight. I believe this is exactly the type of thing that happens on picture frames or other applications that don’t force the wood to stay in the same plane.

A 25” wide miter is huge, I can’t see how this could possibly work. It’s not practical to let the whole thing float as the counter could then pull away from the wall or back splash. A 1% expansion would be 1/4” and the front would try to open up to almost 3/8”. And I think any attempt to force the joint to stay, will put a lot of stress on the wood. Either causing it to distort, or more likely split. Somethings got to give.

I’d look at creating some type of joint that can move. Or go with a veneer over a stable substrate or at least one that moves the same in both directions.

-- Clin

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bigblockyeti

6111 posts in 2280 days


#17 posted 02-09-2017 10:18 PM

What is the short length of the “L”? How thick is the back splash? Given zero constrictions the same wood will expand at the same rate through the miter. If you could secure it at the front edge of the cabinet and allow a maximum gap at the back to be covered by the back splash, there is no reason it shouldn’t work. The difficult thing would then be effectively sealing between the top of the counter and the bottom of the back splash with a dynamic seal that wouldn’t be torn apart (I.e. silicone caulk) throughout several expansion/contraction cycles.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3245 posts in 4087 days


#18 posted 02-09-2017 10:25 PM

I think that Clin has it up above. The top drawing is cut at about 45 deg. The bottom one is that same drawing expanded across the grain:

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1386 posts in 2512 days


#19 posted 02-09-2017 10:27 PM

Thanks for the great explanation Clin.

Imagine cutting a square piece of stock across from corner to corner. That makes an equilateral triangle with two equal length sides and 45 degree angles in the corners. Now expand (or contract) along one of the sides and you no longer have an equilateral triangle and the 45’s are gone. That is just what would happen in this case. The joint will fail.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1459 days


#20 posted 02-09-2017 10:50 PM

Clearly explained in post #6 ;)

As far as clins explanation:
”If you cut a board at 45-degrees and it then expands, the angle will become more than 45-degress (move closer towards a 90-degree cut). If it shrinks, the angle will become shallower.”

This is not true unless one side of the board is captured. Un-captured (theoretically) the board will expand equally and the angle will remain the same. (theoretically)

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2632 posts in 3557 days


#21 posted 02-09-2017 11:07 PM

Well Charles if it were mine, this is what I would do:
I am more concerned about 3 boards in 25 inches cupping.
I would bisket or domino the miter to prevent the cupping.
I would also glue the joint.
Thirdly I would use “I bolt fasteners from the underside, like you would if it were a formed countertop”
Please keep us posted how this turns out…....
Best of luck !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2029 days


#22 posted 02-09-2017 11:07 PM



Clearly explained in post #6 ;)

As far as clins explanation:
”If you cut a board at 45-degrees and it then expands, the angle will become more than 45-degress (move closer towards a 90-degree cut). If it shrinks, the angle will become shallower.”

This is not true unless one side of the board is captured. Un-captured (theoretically) the board will expand equally and the angle will remain the same. (theoretically)

- jbay

Wood is not a homogenous material. Something like Corian would expand and contract equally in every dimension. Wood is going to move differently along X, Y, and Z axis. Thus the shape of a board with a miter will change over time.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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clin

1072 posts in 1556 days


#23 posted 02-09-2017 11:29 PM

Chuck, that’s what I’m talking about. Here’s a drawing that shows it, even more clearly. This of course is exaggerated.

-- Clin

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3245 posts in 4087 days


#24 posted 02-09-2017 11:37 PM



Chuck, that s what I m talking about. Here s a drawing that shows it, even more clearly. This of course is exaggerated.

- clin

Clin – Yes, that is what I was trying to show with my crude drawing. Thanks for clarifying it!

Since this would be happening at a miter joint, the effect would be doubled.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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clin

1072 posts in 1556 days


#25 posted 02-09-2017 11:42 PM



Clearly explained in post #6 ;)

As far as clins explanation:
”If you cut a board at 45-degrees and it then expands, the angle will become more than 45-degress (move closer towards a 90-degree cut). If it shrinks, the angle will become shallower.”

This is not true unless one side of the board is captured. Un-captured (theoretically) the board will expand equally and the angle will remain the same. (theoretically)

- jbay

As William said, this is only true of something that expands and contracts the same in both directions. Solid wood boards definitely do not expands and contract the same. Most boards move insignificant amounts in length and quite large amounts across the grain. Wood products like MDF or plywood move little, and also tend to move the same in all directions since there is no dominate grain direction.

You are correct that if the material moves in the same proportions in both directions, the angle will stay the same. But, solid wood boards do not move like that. I think it’s common for miters to open up due to this, even in relatively small board like door trim.

-- Clin

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clin

1072 posts in 1556 days


#26 posted 02-09-2017 11:53 PM


Clin – Yes, that is what I was trying to show with my crude drawing. Thanks for clarifying it!

Since this would be happening at a miter joint, the effect would be doubled.

- ChuckV

Yes, doubled and over a 25” width, even a really small percentage expansion would result in a significant gap.

Of course it still comes down to just how much the wood will actually expand in the environment it is in and conditions. But kitchen counters get wiped down, have spills, and are exposed to humidity from things like dishwashers and sinks. So it would likely be worse than what a piece of indoor furniture is exposed to.

And no amount of gluing or trying to hold it in place works with large pieces of solid wood. If you can hold it still, it just permanently crushes itself when it expands. Then when it shrinks back, the wood splits.

Even just gluing down one side of a board, won’t control what the other side does. Wood’s going to move.

If not already mentioned, this would be an application where both sides of the wood need to be sealed to reduce cupping.

-- Clin

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jerryminer

960 posts in 2001 days


#27 posted 02-10-2017 12:28 AM

Charles—

It’s your daughter’s kitchen, so if it fails, you can re-do it.

But I think the real answer here is to educate the designer on the properties of wood and why a miter is not practical here (unless the humidity is controlled somehow). A butt joint can be made to accommodate wood movement while keeping the joint tight (like a breadboard end).

Has anyone here actually SEEN a 25” miter in solid wood hold up over time? I haven’t, but I’ve seen many failures.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View splatman's profile

splatman

586 posts in 1959 days


#28 posted 02-10-2017 12:55 AM

I have never seen a countertop with a mitered corner. If such a miter was fastened with long-enough Dominoes, T-bolts, or anything else that does not allow the joint to let go, some other horrible thing will happen. Probably tear loose from the cabinets or even tear the cabinets loose from the wall or floor, depending how well it’s fastened to the cabinets.

To have the solid walnut look with none of the downfalls, band saw the walnut boards into ~1/8”-thick boards, plane and/or sand them, then glue them to a plywood substrate. Apply finish to both sides and all edges (especially in the sink hole) to protect it from kitchen humidity. Seasonal movement will still occur, only to a much lesser degree, and since it’s essentially plywood, probably irrelevant.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

1043 posts in 3643 days


#29 posted 02-10-2017 10:50 AM

Basically….I think the answer to the question comes down to stability. Finished and installed properly(I don’t question that will be done properly), and in a stable, climate controlled environment, I think it would be alright.
That said…If I ever had a request for something like this, I’d more than likely decline.

Not being so much concerned about the kitchen aspect…a pot of boiling water for an hour or two, or a spill every now and then isn’t going to have much effect on expansion/contraction if the counter top is well sealed.
Almost all problems, imo, with pushing the envelope with solid wood designs come from long term(read weeks/months) unstable ambient humidity.

Most people have no clue what a stable climate controlled environment is, let alone achieve it. In some climates (mine), even being aware, and trying to control it can be a challenge. The seasonal differences in humidity can be pretty substantial some years.

I’m very interested in the outcome though!

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

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Tony_S

1043 posts in 3643 days


#30 posted 02-10-2017 10:59 AM



To have the solid walnut look with none of the downfalls, band saw the walnut boards into ~1/8”-thick boards, plane and/or sand them, then glue them to a plywood substrate. Apply finish to both sides and all edges (especially in the sink hole) to protect it from kitchen humidity. Seasonal movement will still occur, only to a much lesser degree, and since it s essentially plywood, probably irrelevant.

- splatman

This is more than likely the rout I would take also…1/8” thick veneer pressed top and bottom onto 3/4” water resistant MDF. About as stable as your going to get.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#31 posted 02-10-2017 02:23 PM

I Agree with everyone.. I keep thinking to my self, I agree the miter will change, but it would do it on both pieces,.

I even went to the point of making sure all 3 boards are the same width , so expansion and contraction should be the same on both sections.. But the furniture maker in me says , it has to be able to move, .

Ill keep you posted, I have thrown this out to numerous folks, all experienced woodworkers and the bottom line consensus is, about 50% say it would be ok to glue , the other say it has to move .

I may just glue the think , and see what happens, like i said worst case I remake it..

As to cupping and so forth , I built cross sections into the cabinets to attach the top with slotted holes , So I am not too concerned about that, and of course everything will be finished inside and out .

Thanks so much for all the input, its a good discussion ..

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WhyMe

1194 posts in 2121 days


#32 posted 02-10-2017 02:36 PM

Why does the corner need to be mitered? Just flat butt them together and use mortis and tendons with room to move. No gluing, and use counter top bolts to pull together tight.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1386 posts in 2512 days


#33 posted 02-10-2017 02:43 PM



I Agree with everyone.. I keep thinking to my self, I agree the miter will change, but it would do it on both pieces,.

- CharlesNeil

Unfortunately, the fact that both pieces will move does not result in compensation, it doubles the problem.

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bonesbr549

1584 posts in 3627 days


#34 posted 02-10-2017 03:02 PM

wow that wide solid wood might be a problem. Why not if your set on that do a laminate like what you do with your beds. Otherwise I’d not glue but use connector devices similar to this.

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/joint-connector-small-2-1-2-to-3-1-4?gclid=Cj0KEQiA5vXEBRChycOl36LPn5EBEiQAJV2-bMnsb6CVQd4iv5PPulRcHdTsejfFLc4LHYV4sM2zawYaAji38P8HAQ

You fare more advanced than me, but sounds like your spidy sense is going off and when that happens to me I know there’s a reason why good luck.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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JayT

6325 posts in 2771 days


#35 posted 02-10-2017 03:13 PM

I’m agreeing with clin, Chuck, Kazoo and the others. Seasonal changes will cause a problem, how much is open for interpretation. Just for kicks, I drew a 25in wide mitered corner in Sketchup and then shrunk the width of each side by 1%, leaving the backs alone and taking the movement at the front of the counter. Here was the result.

Even this small, you can see the gap. It measures out at ~3/8” in Sketchup. Now, I don’t know for sure how much flat sawn walnut will move with seasonal changes, but it will be enough to cause a noticeable gap.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

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shipwright

8411 posts in 3358 days


#36 posted 02-10-2017 03:14 PM

I think I’ve read it all.
I agree with Tony that in the proper controlled environment it will likely be OK but I can say that flat mitred corners are a non starter in wooden boat building. I’ve seen lots that open up on the “long end” corner. Boats however live in a very different environment.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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CharlesNeil

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#37 posted 02-10-2017 03:20 PM

WELLLLLLLLLLL… as we speak im making a jig to rout some “dog bones” to pull the top together.

New plan is to use dominoes along the length… glued solid to one side.. the other side
i will elongate the slots, then I will glue the front edge .. about the first 3 ”, let the rest float … but I will also be sure to seal the edges of the joint well,

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3245 posts in 4087 days


#38 posted 02-10-2017 04:07 PM

I just had a quick flashback to Trigonometry. If the width of the boards shrinks by 1/4” (1%) from 25” to 24 3/4”, the miter angles will change by about 0.3 deg each. The gap formed would be almost 3/8”.

This agrees with JayT’s result above using Sketchup.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#39 posted 02-10-2017 04:21 PM

I agree with jay and Chuck.. so its as i described above, it will float .. did a quick test run with the dogbones and a few pocket screws and dominoes, joint looks good,

Thanks guys, guess I wasnt thinking correctly… old dogs and new tricks.. thanks again

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Rich

5001 posts in 1149 days


#40 posted 02-10-2017 04:29 PM



I just had a quick flashback to Trigonometry. If the width of the boards shrinks by 1/4” (1%) from 25” to 24 3/4”, the miter angles will change by about 0.3 deg each. The gap formed would be almost 3/8”.

This agrees with JayT s result above using Sketchup.

- ChuckV

We have to deduct points because you didn’t show your work :)

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2499 posts in 4430 days


#41 posted 02-10-2017 04:56 PM

sorry, im not very good at posting photos, will get some tomorrow, at the moment, I have the miters drowned in Arm R Seal.. will do 3 or 4 good wet coats and just let it soak in the end grain.. should get it together in the am

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3245 posts in 4087 days


#42 posted 02-10-2017 05:12 PM


I just had a quick flashback to Trigonometry. If the width of the boards shrinks by 1/4” (1%) from 25” to 24 3/4”, the miter angles will change by about 0.3 deg each. The gap formed would be almost 3/8”.

This agrees with JayT s result above using Sketchup.

- ChuckV

We have to deduct points because you didn t show your work :)

- RichTaylor

Actually, you will probably deduct more points when I show my work!

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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Rich

5001 posts in 1149 days


#43 posted 02-10-2017 05:17 PM

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sras

5257 posts in 3689 days


#44 posted 02-10-2017 06:31 PM

Hi Charles, I’m a little late to this one – it looks like you have a pretty good set of inputs. Since I like these kind of problems, I’ll try to go a little deeper and see if I can add some value.

Given that the “L” shape will have movement between somewhat less than 90 degrees to somewhat more than 90 degrees, it seems like the key question is “how much angle change will there be?”

Using this table we see that flatsawn walnut will move 0.0027 inches/per inch/per % of moisture change.

This article suggests that the wood could see up to moisture shifts of up to 9% (from 25% to 75% RH). If you seal it well, you should see less than that. Given that this is a countertop, I would suggest that it will be well sealed and you could cut that range in half. I’m also going to assume that the counter will be assembled at 50% RH and the movement will be +or- 2.25% of MC. I did not find any reference to back this assumption up. You can double my results if you have less confidence in how well the wood is sealed.

First Conclusion: I’ll assume a 30 inch wide countertop. I’ll also assume that you have a rigid joint along the miter. With the above data and assumptions we get that your miter will move +or- (0.0027×30x2.25) or 0.182 inches or about +or- 3/16ths of an inch. Unsealed wood would move +or- 3/8ths of an inch.

The next question is “how much will this change move the ends of the counter?”. I had to draw this out to make sure I got it right… (off to the CAD program—- I’m back) The angle will shift by +or- .174 degrees or 0.003 inches per inch.

Second Conclusion: As the humidity changes, each leg of the “L” will swing back and forth by +or- 0.003 inches per inch. A five foot (60 inch) long leg of the counter counter would move +or- 0.180 inches. (Coincidentally, about 3/16ths of an inch). Again double this for unsealed wood. A backsplash should conceal this much movement.

Final Thought: If the counter is longer and the movement becomes more than desired, I would suggest that you anchor the counter along the midpoint of each leg of the “L” and let the counter rotate ever so slightly about those two anchors. That will cut the movement in half.

This got a little long, but as I said, I like these kind of problems!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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sras

5257 posts in 3689 days


#45 posted 02-10-2017 06:33 PM

ChuckV’s guess of a 1/4 inch was pretty close!!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1953 posts in 1774 days


#46 posted 02-10-2017 07:05 PM

http://www.devoswoodworking.com/designing-wood-countertops/joints.html I personally like the miter corners vs L-shape. Regardless remember to add or use flip bolts to keep a tight seam (like they use on formica countertops).

-- Desert_Woodworker

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10809 posts in 4612 days


#47 posted 02-10-2017 07:11 PM

Charles,

You could just switch to Corian and Finish it to look like Walnut!

Would solve all of your problems… Right? LOL :)

Good Luck… Hope it works out OK!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/index.php

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sawdustdad

379 posts in 1445 days


#48 posted 02-10-2017 07:16 PM


The critical thing here, IMHO is that with wood movement, the miter angle will change—so the attachment system needs to allow at least one leg to “swing” to accommodate.

Countertop bolts will keep the miter tight, but movement still needs to be accommodated.

- jerryminer

This is correct. The miter will open up. It’s wood. That what it does. I would veneer a plywood or MDO substrate. There is no practical way to keep the miter tight and the counter tops in place. If you bolt the miter together, and don’t let one leg swing, the top(s) will crack. flat sawn walnut will shrink and expand up to 1/4 inch across the 25 inch wide surface. The swing at the end of a 6 foot counter run would be about an inch. Veneer is your friend in this case.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3708 posts in 2417 days


#49 posted 02-10-2017 08:25 PM

Rich that’s x=5

Charles could you do bread board ends at the 45* joint maybe a contrasting color.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1149 days


#50 posted 02-10-2017 09:16 PM


Rich that s x=5

- diverlloyd

It was a meme. Do you answer rhetorical questions too? :)

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