mitred border around quarter sawn oak tabletop. Possible ??

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Forum topic by Ollie posted 02-03-2011 09:53 PM 8322 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3834 days

02-03-2011 09:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak joining

I have designed a dining table for someone, the design is agreed but now I may have a problem, perhaps someone may have an answer.

The material is going to be Quarter sawn Oak and a contrasting timber (not sure yet) for the detail.


My concearn is that I have designed a straight boarded top with 5 or six boards running lengthways down the
table (also has extending leaves with butterfly extension ,but thats another issue) around this top will run a 10mm inlay in a contrasting timber and a 60mm oak edge with a nice rounded chamfer.
Will try to post photo of drawing..

My worry is that if i do a tightly fitting mitred frame around the top if the boards expand sideways the mitred joints may pop open.

I was planning to join the boards of the top to the edge part with a kind of tongue and groove along the sides and maybe a small splined mitre for the corners.

Do you think this design is possible without risk of faliure ?

If possible how is it best to join the edges to the top ?

And any other related ideas.

Thanks in advance Ollie

-- Ollie, UK.

10 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3633 days

#1 posted 02-03-2011 10:42 PM

I’d recommend gluing everything to a plywood substrate with the main plywood grain at 90 degrees to the grain of the top. That should minimize the effect of any sideways swelling. I’d also make the oak boards on the top thinner to minimize the force that swelling can exert. The mitered trim would then overlap the edge of the plywood to present a nice appearance, as well as having 2 glued surfaces to hold on to.

You might also use a biscuit joiner on the corners – being careful to not nick the outside where it would show

Good luck!

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View danr's profile


154 posts in 3744 days

#2 posted 02-03-2011 10:43 PM

If your table boarder material is thick enough (it appears that it is from your description), I would recomend using a double biscuit on the mitered corners (i.e. one biscuit on top of the other). Use the largest biscuit size that you can. I have done this several times and I have not had a movement issue on the miter joint. Of course you need to have very good clamping pressure on the miters during glue up.

Good luck, I am certain that you will figure it out.

View Moron's profile


5043 posts in 4453 days

#3 posted 02-03-2011 11:05 PM

no way, no how unless the wood is dried a hundred years or so, and knowing that QS oak is limited in expansion and contraction its still very risky. laying solid boards to a plywood substrate has inherint risks as well.

I would consider using veneer for the interior with solid nsing around it

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3419 days

#4 posted 02-03-2011 11:43 PM


Wood will move with changes in enviornment, expecially changes in humidity in the air. There is no practical way for you to prevent the wood from moving, therefore your agreed upon design will eventually fail due to expansion and contraction of the boards in the glued up panel that forms your tabletop.

For the look you’re trying to acheive the only reasonable solution is to make the main surface a laminated veneer attached to a stable substrate. the decorative banding and edging would work when properly attached to the laminated top (don’t forget to laminate both the top and the bottom of the tabletop with veneer or you will have problems when your substrate absorbs more moisture on the bottom than on the top…

Good Luck and remember…

Be Careful!

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3834 days

#5 posted 02-03-2011 11:44 PM

Just thinking perhaps if I was to somehow leave a slight room for expansion somewhere. Or maybe using some type of `fake mitre` .
I have seen tables made like this in photos maybe they are all veneered.?/? this guy seems to have got away with it though on a smaller scale (its nice too)

and this one

-- Ollie, UK.

View bobsmyuncle's profile


110 posts in 3250 days

#6 posted 02-04-2011 04:10 AM

The last time I saw a table built like this,there was a 1/4 in crack on both sides that you could see the floor through.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4207 days

#7 posted 02-04-2011 06:09 AM

I wouldn’t do it with solid wood. If you used veneer it would work
if handled well.

A groove in a table top will catch all kinds of dirt, but I’ve seen table
tops done as frame and panel. My parents have a table with a frame
and panel top and it’s lasted at least 120 years. The grooves catch
all kinds of junk but the table hasn’t fallen apart.

Solid quartersawn oak moves about 1/4” per foot in width as I recall.

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 3342 days

#8 posted 02-04-2011 06:38 AM

Under no circumstances would I glue a solid panel to plywood. The solid will expand and contract significantly more than the ply and it will warp. Quartersawn wood is not less prone to expansion and contraction than plainsawn. However since the growth rings run perpendicular to the face quartersawn wood is less likely to cup.

You could attach the mitered border to the main panel with a spline leaving a 1/16” gap all the way around. I’ve seen this done with a gap as big as 1/8 with black screen spline pushed into the gap. It looked quite nice. Just don’t glue the splines in place. I would reinforce the miter with something stronger than a biscuit. Maybe some biscuits and also a couple small splines perpendicular to the joint from the underside.

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3834 days

#9 posted 02-04-2011 05:04 PM

Thanks for all comments so far, very usefull.
If it can move 1/4 inch per foot a 4 foot wide tabletop top could move 1 inch ….!!!!
I see that this may be a bad idea for the stability of my mitre joints.
I am currently trying to work out a way of replicating the appearance of my design with a more traditional `breadboard ends` style of construction. The problem i can see with this is that I will definately see a bit of end grain which will need to be chamfered to match the long sides (if that makes sense). Any other ideas out there??

-- Ollie, UK.

View roninkokomo's profile


14 posts in 3232 days

#10 posted 02-04-2011 10:06 PM

I would attache the mitered frame with a 1/4 inch tongue and groove joint. It you glue the tongue and groove the miters should stay put


-- roninkokomo

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