LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Table top advice

1530 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  JohnGray
I am designing an end table from scratch. I have found a gorgeous piece of maple for the top and think it would be a sin to rip it and glue it up into a panel for the sake of stability. Is there a good way of making a one piece solid top? If so are there size limitations? This top will be a finished size of 18" x 18". But I also have a plan for a hall table with a top 12" x 48".

This may have been covered elsewhere so links would be appreciatedas well.

Many thanks

1 - 9 of 9 Posts
i dont see any problem with a piece like that. some ideas are either to use a breadboard end or also to put a few battens on the bottom to hold it. also make sure to finish both sides equally!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It really depends upon the board and the stability of the board. Rough dimension the board to size, leaving a half inch wider and an inch longer than the required final dimension, as for the thickness, flatten it on both sides and leave it a good 1/8" to a 1/4" thicker than required if possible.

Now comes the hard part: place some sticks under and on top of it, then add some weight (mechanics tool box is good) and leave it for a month or more.

When you come back to it, if it is still flat you should be OK to proceed to the final dimensions. If it has started to cup, even a little, then carefully rip it down the middle and glue it (you will only loose an 1/8" or less) back together, then surface plane it again to the final dimensions carefully taking of equal amounts of wood from top and bottom surfaces. (sometimes I repeat this process 2 or 3 times depending upong the wood being used)

Ensure that when you fix it to the frame it well supported on all sides so it will not cup again (but can move width-ways for seasonal changes)
See less See more
I made our dining table out of solid 1 1/2-inch-thick maple. 7 feet long, 40 inches wide (or so). I was very worried about cupping as well, so I did three things:
1. Let it acclimate for a good while during flattening (as Tony above wisely recommends).
2. Finished top and bottom.
3. I let it move - but only laterally.

When attaching it to the trestle base, on one side I used the figure-8 fasteners, but I worried those alone wouldn't allow for the maximum movement. So on the opposite side I built a sliding dovetail key and trimmed it to fit the slot exactly. The top can't move vertically without breaking the 3-inch thick maple base. But it has plenty of lateral breathing room if it wants it.
I've had the table in my dining room for over three years now with zero cupping or warping (although I have noted significant seasonal movement in the dovetail keys). Best of all, I have a cool little feature to show off on the under side of the table when a fellow woodworker stops by. ;-)
You may not choose this method, but it's a nice alternative to breadboard ends and battens
See less See more
It will depend on is the wood dry enough to use 8-10% is it flat sawn or 1/4 sawn and how you connect it to the rest of the table.
I will also add that you should let the top acclimate in the house that it will end up in. This way it will move as little as possible after it's finished.
Follow-up question then, would you do the same for a bookmatched table top?
Thanks for all the great answers.
Tony, When you add the weight, are you putting it on the span between the the sticks trying to induce some stress to see what happens?
make sure to finish both sides equally
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.