Sunburst design. A little advice?

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Forum topic by BrentKistner posted 07-29-2017 05:04 PM 736 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 2536 days

07-29-2017 05:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood wood movement design critique questions

So, I am attempting to build a table. Well, I am mostly done, to be fair. Everything seems to have gone well to this point. However, I have a concern about the construction itself. As you can see, it is a sunburst design, and for all the books and magazines I have read over the years, I have no idea how this thing will react to humidity. Obviously, the thought of wood movement made me nervous so I decided against just leaving it full thickness and going without a substrate. I have tried to mitigate it as much as possible by thinning the stock from 13/16” to 1/2”, and mounted it on a “base” of 1/2” plywood. So far, it has sat in a garage without finish and without any noticeable issues, but I am worried that as soon as I true it up and add an edge band, it’ll magically explode or something. lol. So, My question to those of you more knowledgeable is this, should I have gone thinner and essentially turned the triangles into a veneer? Do you think that 1/2” will move very much? What other problems do you see with this idea?

(as a side note, the photo of all the points coming together was prior to planing to fit. That looks sloppy. Yikes)

-- "Out of the darkness back into the darkness- affairs of the cat."

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4250 days

#1 posted 07-29-2017 06:54 PM

I think some of the glue joints are likely
to crack open at one end or the other.

At this point you’re so deep into it that
I think you would do well to forge ahead
and treat it as an experiment.

View Aj2's profile


2648 posts in 2400 days

#2 posted 07-29-2017 07:34 PM

You are correct way too thick for gluing down to a plywood substrate.Even 3/32 would be too thick for some species.
If you have a bandsaw Resaw them thinner if not then I like Lorens idea.

-- Aj

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 984 days

#3 posted 07-29-2017 07:47 PM

Ok, so with any solid surface glued to a substrate, is the main thing to do in order to keep it from expanding/contracting, keep the pieces about 1/8” thick or less?

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11994 posts in 4030 days

#4 posted 07-29-2017 09:59 PM

You might want to visit fellow LJ, Monte Pittman’s project page here.
He only shows one but, I think he’s made a bunch.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View BrentKistner's profile


38 posts in 2536 days

#5 posted 07-30-2017 06:02 PM

Well all, first off, thank you for chiming in with advice/critique here.

I decided to take it down in thickness again. It’s made of silver maple, and it seems as though that species isn’t too bad as far as movement goes, according to the wood movement calculators I stumbled on to.

Since it was, from the start, an experiment piece and a give away project at that, I am not out much and will learn a thing or two about it as it ages. I’ll get it finished up and posted here as a project and if any thing changes with it, it will be a community learning experience/lesson?

If it cracks later on down the road, I am thinking maybe adding an expansion joint into the project, as a further experiment.

For the time being though, it looks good and has weathered the rather extreme fluctuations of Wisconsin weathers humidity, coupled with heat and cool nights with no visible changes to the piece. I had intentionally been letting it sit, unfinished to see if I could notice anything… so far so good. (but who knows as time goes on?)

Whatever the case may be, I’ll update here, as either a cautionary tale or a successful poke in the dark. :)

Thanks again, all.

-- "Out of the darkness back into the darkness- affairs of the cat."

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