3/4" Table top? Please read and help out!

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Forum topic by Will Merrit posted 02-01-2017 04:01 PM 2726 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Will Merrit

89 posts in 2179 days

02-01-2017 04:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: old timber table table top breadboard pine oak joining shaker question tip

Good Morning,

I have a REALLY old table top glued up. The Boards are roughly 16” wide and 3 of those make it about 50” wide, by 10’ long. My problem it seems is that the top is only 3/4” thick. That has caused some issues with warping. The wood is Old Growth Southern Yellow Pine aka Pine Heart that was logged off of a river bottom here in Louisiana. The forester dated it being felled in 1820 or so by axes. It still had the white oak wooden pegs in it that they used to float it down the river. The high sap content in that size pine caused it to sink where it sat on the bottom in the mud until 2012. The tree was 160 years old when it was cut down, making it a sapling in the 1660’s!

So wood that thin, and being air dried since 2012 has made it quite brittle, but very hard. The middle board needed a good deal of epoxy fill that went …..ok. Now that its all together and on the base I am wondering what I can do/should do? to bring some rigidity to it. I bought some Z-clips from McFeelys, my idea it to put a TON of them throughout the base aprons and braces on the underside of the top. However, I am not so sure that will help all that much.

I have seen some people say to attach plywood to the bottom side, but I know gluing a panel to the bottom side will give me expansion issues in the future and I do not want that. What about a breadboard end? And how would I attach that to a piece so thin? I actually like the low profile of the top on the base but need to know if this will be an ok setup with just a bunch of Z-slips. Any recommendations are appreciated.

3 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5361 posts in 5246 days

#1 posted 02-01-2017 04:27 PM

Will, good lookin’ table for sure.
I would attach some cleats to the bottom of the table top with elongated screw holes. That way the top can “wiggle” as the moisture/humidity changes.
Quarter sawn wood will make the best cleats, and if ya have some of the heart pine with that grain orientation, that’s what I would use. Cut ‘em about 1 1/2” wide. Chamfer the edges and taper the ends. Countersink the screw heads. That will prevent the cleats from bein’ “knee knockers”.
Space ‘em about every 18” apart, and use a good quality screws.
I am a firm believer in the “Z” clips too.
Call me if ya have questions.

-- [email protected]

View Rich's profile


7567 posts in 1875 days

#2 posted 02-01-2017 04:48 PM

Will, good lookin table for sure.
I would attach some cleats to the bottom of the table top with elongated screw holes.

My first thought was cleats too, until I got to the last photo. There are already supports under there, so I’m not sure how you’d attach cleats.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View pintodeluxe's profile


6497 posts in 4099 days

#3 posted 02-01-2017 04:50 PM

Breadboard ends will frankly be difficult to cut on a top that wavy.

I would drill oversized holes through the existing stretchers, and screw it down from underneath. Figure 8 fasteners could be used around the perimeter. Go into it knowing that it will be somewhat imperfect, and that’s okay.

You have a great story to tell about the history of the log and table it became.

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

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