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First Commission!

by Dustin
posted 07-09-2017 06:42 PM


23 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1406 posts in 944 days


#1 posted 07-09-2017 06:47 PM

I’m thinking that if you don’t have a one-piece top, don’t try to make the cabinets too close fitting together. Kind of like you would have with a sectional office desk.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1869 posts in 2822 days


#2 posted 07-09-2017 06:56 PM

A one-piece top will result in weak corners at the rear where there’s some short grain. But assembling three sections will require some very wide miter joints that are prone to opening up over time. Wide miters in solid wood are always a potential issue if the humidity changes. So I’d agree with Blaster that separate tops should not be fastened together but should be allowed to have a gap instead.

If you do a single, solid cherry top like that, firmly screw it on one side (perhaps the front edge of the middle cabinet) and use slotted screw holes everywhere else to attach it to the base to allow for expansion and contraction.

Personally, I’d use veneer with solid wood edging to build that top since it would have a cleaner appearance and be far more stable.

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

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2477 posts in 2303 days


#3 posted 07-09-2017 07:22 PM

I second separate tops.I also think you should consider Cherry plywood with a solid wood edge.I don’t like plywood but it just seems right for some reason.

-- Aj

View jonah's profile

jonah

2077 posts in 3804 days


#4 posted 07-09-2017 08:06 PM

I’ll second (third?) the suggestion to use hardwood veneered plywood for the top. Use solid wood edging and sand carefully, but it’ll be way, way more stable that way. Be sure to put a skookum finish on it, since it’ll likely be used pretty hard.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3386 posts in 2303 days


#5 posted 07-09-2017 08:13 PM

Menards has cherry plywood (some in store/some ship to store) in 4×8 sheets. Hood Distribution on Hurstbourne carries some pretty high grade cherry plywood in 4×8 sheets with a $100 minimum order for retail. I think you give them a 24 hour notice and they’ll pull it for you. That’s if you don’t want to glue your own veneer.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


#6 posted 07-09-2017 09:36 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I had considered the veneer route, and building as one large plywood top, but that raised the question of where to get plywood large enough (it’s almost 105” wide at its widest point). For that matter, even handling something that size seems like a logistical nightmare as I’m a one man operation in a fairly small garage (it’s a 2-car, but under the bedrooms of the house, so there’s a rather obnoxious support pole right in the center of it). Feel free to correct me, though, if I’m looking at this the wrong way.

Aj/Blaster, I hadn’t considered a gap, mainly because I was thinking movement wouldn’t be much of a factor here (grain will be ran parallel to the front edge of each piece, and longitudinal movement is supposed to be almost non-existent), but after looking at some sectionals, I think I see what you’re suggesting. Getting them all perfectly flush seems like a right pain anyhow, so what about slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you’re getting at?

-- "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."

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jonah

2077 posts in 3804 days


#7 posted 07-10-2017 12:06 AM

If you decide to go three separate pieces, make sure there’s enough of a gap so it looks intentional. If not, it’ll just look like a mistake.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1406 posts in 944 days


#8 posted 07-10-2017 12:44 AM

...slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you re getting at?

Yes, that is what I was thinking.
Mike

- Dustin

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1328 posts in 1000 days


#9 posted 07-10-2017 02:28 AM

I would also suggest making the top from a single piece of plywood, edge banded in some way. Much more stable and a single top will look better. Imagine if your kitchen had individual tops over every cabinet?

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


#10 posted 07-10-2017 12:14 PM



I would also suggest making the top from a single piece of plywood, edge banded in some way. Much more stable and a single top will look better. Imagine if your kitchen had individual tops over every cabinet?

- TungOil

I agree, but again, this is something I’m failing to overcome logistically, as it’s too wide for a standard 4×8 sheet of plywood to cover the top. If they wanted it a little smaller, I’d be all over this.

...slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you re getting at?

Yes, that is what I was thinking.
Mike

- Dustin

- BlasterStumps

Thought so, Mike, thanks for clarifying!

-- "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 gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 1280 days


#11 posted 07-10-2017 12:39 PM

Do separate tops and then paper mache between them when you install.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2077 posts in 3804 days


#12 posted 07-10-2017 01:12 PM

Some suppliers will stock 4×10 foot sheets of plywood, but not likely cherry veneered stuff.

View Just_Iain's profile

Just_Iain

305 posts in 921 days


#13 posted 07-10-2017 01:34 PM

What if you split a plywood top by adding a very simple ‘cross’ in the centre of the top? It would have to be 9” wide (105” – 96” = 9”).

Or go with a contrasting 4” trim around the edge? On the diagonal you would be able to make the 96” plywood work.

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

582 posts in 1124 days


#14 posted 07-10-2017 01:50 PM

I like the 4” edge banding, but I’d use solid cherry to match the plywood. Edges take the most abuse and would allow the use of the veneer with less risk of damage.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


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



What if you split a plywood top by adding a very simple cross in the centre of the top? It would have to be 9” wide (105” – 96” = 9”).

Or go with a contrasting 4” trim around the edge? On the diagonal you would be able to make the 96” plywood work.

- Just_Iain

I was actually thinking about this a little this morning. Considering how wide the middle unit is, using a “strap” of plywood running front to back in the middle, then just splitting a standard piece and securing all well. I would think this would be sturdy.

However, if going that route, I’d rather do a thick-ish veneer of cherry over the top as opposed to cherry plywood, maybe 1/16-3/32”? Running parallel to the front of the middle section all the way through, and mitering the corners of the vener to fit the edge.

Thoughts from you folks with veneer experience: would this thickness cause excessive wood movement and eventual separation where the veneers join on their edges, or would thin stock be sufficiently “wrangled” by the glue?

-- "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."

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Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


#16 posted 07-10-2017 02:12 PM



Do separate tops and then paper mache between them when you install.

- gargey

Ha! I could make a lopsided globe to go with it :p

-- "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 AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5350 posts in 2814 days


#17 posted 07-10-2017 03:50 PM

Dustin said:

“Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I had considered the veneer route, and building as one large plywood top, but that raised the question of where to get plywood large enough (it’s almost 105” wide at its widest point). For that matter, even handling something that size seems like a logistical nightmare as I’m a one man operation in a fairly small garage (it’s a 2-car, but under the bedrooms of the house, so there’s a rather obnoxious support pole right in the center of it).

I say:
Personally I wouldn’t put a solid wood is a commercial setting where it will be used by the general public. I think it would become an maintenance issue over time.
Do it like a kitchen, build and set you cabinet and make a HLP counter top. They have been splicing counter tops together for ever. One man should be able to build a 105” counter top.

It may not be as sexy as a real wood top but in my view but I think more practical. They actually have some pretty good looking HPL these days.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


#18 posted 07-10-2017 04:25 PM



Dustin said:

“Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I had considered the veneer route, and building as one large plywood top, but that raised the question of where to get plywood large enough (it’s almost 105” wide at its widest point). For that matter, even handling something that size seems like a logistical nightmare as I’m a one man operation in a fairly small garage (it’s a 2-car, but under the bedrooms of the house, so there’s a rather obnoxious support pole right in the center of it).

I say:
Personally I wouldn t put a solid wood is a commercial setting where it will be used by the general public. I think it would become an maintenance issue over time.
Do it like a kitchen, build and set you cabinet and make a HLP counter top. They have been splicing counter tops together for ever. One man should be able to build a 105” counter top.

It may not be as sexy as a real wood top but in my view but I think more practical. They actually have some pretty good looking HPL these days.

- AlaskaGuy

I couldn’t agree more, but they’re pretty much locked into a solid wood top. I’m partially to blame for that, along with the other hobbyist in the congregation, in that they’ve received some of our other projects and now are die-hard on real wood. It’s not something that gets written on often, in its current incarnation, but I was planning on building a substantial layer of satin poly on the top to help combat wear (unless there are other suggestions).

Any thoughts on the veneer idea I had above?

-- "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 CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3386 posts in 2303 days


#19 posted 07-10-2017 04:29 PM

I think Alaskaguy’s thoughts are well-founded. However, in most churches, a top like that will only see significant use a few hours a week, so it is a pretty different usage than in a commercial setting where it can be 40+ hours a week.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5350 posts in 2814 days


#20 posted 07-10-2017 04:50 PM


Dustin said:

“Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I had considered the veneer route, and building as one large plywood top, but that raised the question of where to get plywood large enough (it’s almost 105” wide at its widest point). For that matter, even handling something that size seems like a logistical nightmare as I’m a one man operation in a fairly small garage (it’s a 2-car, but under the bedrooms of the house, so there’s a rather obnoxious support pole right in the center of it).

I say:
Personally I wouldn t put a solid wood is a commercial setting where it will be used by the general public. I think it would become an maintenance issue over time.
Do it like a kitchen, build and set you cabinet and make a HLP counter top. They have been splicing counter tops together for ever. One man should be able to build a 105” counter top.

It may not be as sexy as a real wood top but in my view but I think more practical. They actually have some pretty good looking HPL these days.

- AlaskaGuy

I couldn t agree more, but they re pretty much locked into a solid wood top. I m partially to blame for that, along with the other hobbyist in the congregation, in that they ve received some of our other projects and now are die-hard on real wood. It s not something that gets written on often, in its current incarnation, but I was planning on building a substantial layer of satin poly on the top to help combat wear (unless there are other suggestions).

Any thoughts on the veneer idea I had above?

- Dustin


It’s not unusual to find different height counter top in kitchen and in work place secretary’s desk. May you could work out something like that. That would break the top into 3 pieces.

If that can’t/won’t work then I’d go ahead and build it in 3 pieces and spline it and use draw bolts to pull it together. After all you seem to running out of option.

I’d use a router and wing bit for full length splines stopping just short of coming out the ends. Not the biscuits as shown in the picture. No Glue.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

3230 posts in 2156 days


#21 posted 07-10-2017 05:03 PM

Just make a solid cherry top, all grain running the same direction (no miter). On the weak corners, square them off so that they aren’t sharp points. Squared off portion wouldn’t have to be very long to remove the weakness.

The panel will be a pain to flatten, but careful assembly should minimize the work needed and the end result will be beautiful and relatively simple to make with few compromises.

-- -Dan

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5350 posts in 2814 days


#22 posted 07-10-2017 05:13 PM

One of our own here does wooden counter tops. Perhaps you could PM him and get some pointers? He goes my “bruc101”

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/63970

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

697 posts in 1245 days


#23 posted 07-10-2017 05:30 PM

“It’s not unusual to find different height counter top in kitchen and in work place secretary’s desk. May you could work out something like that. That would break the top into 3 pieces. “

^YUP!

Thanks for bringing me back to practicality. In my prep and frantic work load (day job), I completely forgot they initially were interested in a “tiered” 3-segment desk anyhow. Making the middle section a few inches taller and doing the tops seperately sounds a lot easier from an implementation standpoint, and more aesthetically pleasing as well. Plus, I’m sure they’ll be happy with that change, and I can run it by them tonight (with minimal impact to the budget of the project to boot).

Much obliged, AlaskaGuy. I’ll admit, sometimes the hamster falls off the wheel in my planning phases, so it’s nice to be roped back in!

-- "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."

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