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Seeking input on an idea to rebuild a damaged/destroyed table.

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Forum topic by Feo posted 05-28-2020 06:57 PM 234 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Feo

4 posts in 2296 days


05-28-2020 06:57 PM

More pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/OVE3b4J

Background:

A few years back the family cabin, which was 80 years old at the time, partially collapsed under a heavy snow load. The family got together to salvage what they could, which included what was left of the large table that hosted plenty of large family meals and card games with friends over the decades. The top, which was just a sheet of 4×9 plywood, was damaged, but the legs were mostly intact (though they had punched through the floor).

Being the one with an interest (but not necessarily much talent) in woodworking, I was asked to see what I could do to rebuild the table, which would go in a rebuilt cabin. In addition to the table base, I salvaged a lot of lumber, including what looks to be old growth redwood flooring.

Plan:

I think rebuilding the base will be the easy part. The 1×4s that hold the legs in place will be swapped out with something new (likely oak or maple). The cross braces for the legs will need some work, as it looks like the bolts that held them to the legs basically ripped out of the bottom as the table went through the floor. I’m thinking I can use the same approach that was originally taken, which was a hole drilled through the core of the brace for the bolt, with an access hole on the bottom to get the nut on there. I’ll just need to drill a deeper hole to put the nut further into the brace, where the wood is solid.

The top could be trickier, and it’s here where I really need the feedback of more experienced woodworkers. The flooring I salvaged looks really cool, and it would be a way to bring some of the old cabin into the new and keep 60-80 years of family history around. My thought is to take the flooring, which is roughly 3” x 3/4” (not counting the tongue side) and attach it to a 4×9 sheet of plywood for structural support. The sides of the plywood would be hidden by extra flooring that is attached with a locking miter, and the ends would be covered by doubling up flooring and making a breadboard end. The hope is this would give the appearance that the top is made of 3”x1 1/2” boards. I’d then finish the top with a clear epoxy to protect everything.

Concerns:

My big concern is the top, and the idea of attaching the flooring to the plywood. I’m worried that I’d be attaching something that could expand to something that’s stable (not sure on the method of attachment, but likely some combo of glue and screws). However, considering the flooring is over 80 years old now, and has really, really tight growth rings, maybe that concern is overblown? I’m also wondering if sealing the top in epoxy would also limit any wood movement.

Any thoughts/feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5789 posts in 3124 days


#1 posted 05-28-2020 07:15 PM

Not a good idea attaching solid wood to plywood, it will give you endless problems. I would just edge glue the flooring together to form a table top, although 3/4” is kind of thin for a large table, you might need to find some other lumber and save the flooring for shelving or something not as large as a table top.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2536 posts in 3411 days


#2 posted 05-28-2020 07:50 PM

OK. I’m missing something. Why not attach the flooring to the plywood the same way flooring is normally attached to subfloors? The planks can expand/contract and the cracks get narrower and wider.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3081 posts in 2571 days


#3 posted 05-28-2020 07:50 PM

It’s not good practice to attach solid wood it plywood. But your project might be ok here’s what I’m thinking.
It looks like a very rustic piece so a crack here or there isn’t a big deal.
If you flooring is truly 80 years old and tight growth rings is probably has given up much of it fight.
As long as you don’t completely bond it with glue and screws what little movement will be ok.
You might consider some finish nails from the top down and then counter sink them later so you don’t see the shiny ends. Finish nails will allow a small amount of movement
No glue !

Good Luck

-- Aj

View Feo's profile

Feo

4 posts in 2296 days


#4 posted 05-28-2020 08:58 PM



OK. I m missing something. Why not attach the flooring to the plywood the same way flooring is normally attached to subfloors? The planks can expand/contract and the cracks get narrower and wider.

- Ocelot

I though of doing something like this, but had a couple of concerns. One is that this would work fine for the majority of the boards, but once you get to the far side there will not be a tongue to blind nail into the plywood underneath, because it would be replaced with a locking miter to hold the edge trim.

The other concern is I’m really not sure how many tongues are going to come out super intact once I get around to pulling nails out, which is a whole different problem :)

As long as you don’t completely bond it with glue and screws what little movement will be ok.
You might consider some finish nails from the top down and then counter sink them later so you don’t see the shiny ends. Finish nails will allow a small amount of movement
No glue !

Good Luck

- Aj2

Yeah, normally I wouldn’t consider something like this if it weren’t for the sentimental value. The flooring was installed in 1937, so it is certainly not green. The finish nail from the top could give it a nice rustic look as well. I like that idea.

What about a couple of screws along the length of the board from the bottom? If the screws were centered, and perhaps the screw holes in the plywood bored out, this would would provide for movement of each individual board (since they wouldn’t be edge glued). Kind of like elongating the holes in a breadboard end. Maybe add a line of glue along the screws for a little extra holding power?

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3081 posts in 2571 days


#5 posted 05-28-2020 10:47 PM

I reclaimed some old growth Douglas fir some years ago. The house was building in the 1920s the fir was completely powdery dry. Cutting it didn’t affect the shape I mean it was dead.
So if your reclaimed Red Wood is similar to what I had its very forgiving.
As long as it doesn’t get wet it’s stable as it gets.
Should be a beautiful table.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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