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Walnut Herringbone Tabletop Suggestions Needed

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Forum topic by Tluurts posted 11-05-2018 01:28 PM 1157 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tluurts

3 posts in 171 days


11-05-2018 01:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut herringbone tabletop 2x2 glue laminate hardwood question clamp joining finishing rustic

My friend and I recently purchased some 2×2 rough cut walnut (16” long) that we want to assemble into a herringbone tabletop 35”x 96”. We put the walnut on the table saw to rip off the 4 sides so we have some boards that are of similar size / shape. We haven’t put them through a jointer yet, but that is the next step before eventually running them through the planer and cutting them all to be the same length.

In considering the glue up process, my friend and I need advice to reduce movement / protect the table from cracking / splitting over time. Our current plan is to glue up on a plywood substrate but are curious if there are better options to creating a herringbone tabletop that will last a lifetime.

We are using Titebond 3 for those that might be curious..

Attached is just a rough layout of what the table will look like. Obviously there’s a lot of extra milling work that needs to be done to ensure these boards are going to fit together perfectly for the glue-up.

-- What's an acorn you ask? In a nutshell, it's an oak tree


10 replies so far

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Tony1212

311 posts in 2067 days


#1 posted 11-05-2018 03:07 PM

Well, when you make a solid wood tabletop, it going to move. Trying to prevent it is only going to make it fail worse in a way that will only make it more difficult to repair. The best bet is to assume it will move and plan for it. Gluing it to a substrate won’t stop movement, it will make things move unevenly and probably lead to more cracks.

The glue will be stronger than the wood. If there are any crack or splits, it would be in the wood itself. Fairly easy to repair with more glue and clamps.

It will probably be weaker than a table made with the wood all going in one direction because there are a lot of end grain joints in the herringbone pattern. Depending on the size of the table, the apron may be all you need for support. Otherwise, if the table is wide, you may need to run stretchers along the zig-zagging, end grain joints on the bottom.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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Dustin

686 posts in 1073 days


#2 posted 11-05-2018 05:35 PM

Our church had a conference table in hickory made in the same herringbone style you’re suggesting, with a plywood substrate. Within a week, the gaps in the top were pretty egregious. Within a month there was a different conference table. Not sure what happened to the old one, but I can guess.

I don’t have any experience doing veneered tops, but there are plenty of folks on here that do. Maybe that would be a better approach?

-- "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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PPK

1349 posts in 1142 days


#3 posted 11-06-2018 06:36 PM

Don’t give up, keep asking and looking! It’ll turn out beautiful, but you’ll want to make sure to do it right of course. I personally don’t know the best method, but I think that what Tony1212 said above I think sounds on track…

To add, the skirt shouldn’t be fastened tightly to the tabletop. Use figure 8 connectors or a slotted connection to allow for movement…

-- Pete

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Tony1212

311 posts in 2067 days


#4 posted 11-07-2018 02:57 PM


To add, the skirt shouldn t be fastened tightly to the tabletop. Use figure 8 connectors or a slotted connection to allow for movement…

- PPK

Yes, thank you. I meant to include this in my post, as well.

Also, any stretchers/supports running from one apron to another don’t need any fasteners. They’d only be supporting the end grain glue joints.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 822 days


#5 posted 11-07-2018 04:47 PM

I’d be interested to know if anyone has built a herringbone table and managed not to have issues with gaps? I’ve seen herringbone floors survive quite nicely, but it’s not like you notice the gaps in a large floor that’s over 5’ away from your eyes.

View Tluurts's profile

Tluurts

3 posts in 171 days


#6 posted 11-07-2018 09:17 PM

Wow, thank you guys for all the input.

I guess I won’t be using a substrate. And I’m also interesting in Lumbering_on’s comment on seeing a successful herringbone tabletop without gaps that formed and what technique they used if there aren’t any gaps forming in it. Otherwise I may just resort to doing it the old fashion method with them all running together…

-- What's an acorn you ask? In a nutshell, it's an oak tree

View SMP's profile

SMP

629 posts in 238 days


#7 posted 11-07-2018 09:33 PM

I did similar in my travel trailer. What I did was chamfer and biscuit join 4/4 pieces into a herringbone pattern ed panel. This panel is then slid into a dado in 6/4 side pieces and the ends are mortise tenon breadboards some other 6/4 stock. This allows the panel to move, and the chamfers provide relief for the cracks, kind of like concrete reliefs. Still looks great after a couple years in a travel trailer camping etc (used Titebond II BTW)

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shampeon

1900 posts in 2516 days


#8 posted 11-07-2018 09:34 PM

Reduce the thickness of the herringbone pieces down to veneer thickness and use a stable substrate, would be my recommendation. I’ve never done this, though.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Tony1212's profile

Tony1212

311 posts in 2067 days


#9 posted 11-08-2018 02:37 PM



Reduce the thickness of the herringbone pieces down to veneer thickness and use a stable substrate, would be my recommendation. I ve never done this, though.

- shampeon

Very good idea. Anyone have any info on what the maximum thickness of the veneer might be? Would it be different for different types of wood?

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View Tluurts's profile

Tluurts

3 posts in 171 days


#10 posted 11-16-2018 11:15 PM



Reduce the thickness of the herringbone pieces down to veneer thickness and use a stable substrate, would be my recommendation. I ve never done this, though.

- shampeon

While this might be a good idea for having the walnut herringbone look, I have purchased 120 of these things and am kinda looking for a solid hardwood table. This would of been a great thing BEFORE purchasing all of the wood, and would give a great look I’m sure!

Looks like I will probably just build it brick style or like flooring. Seems there isn’t a real solid way to make something herringbone without it failing over time. Thanks for all the input folks!

-- What's an acorn you ask? In a nutshell, it's an oak tree

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