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Forum topic by VanDesignWoodworkin posted 01-20-2022 02:47 PM 562 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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VanDesignWoodworkin

1041 posts in 259 days


01-20-2022 02:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: glue

This probably isn’t a joinery question, but a glue question. I am in the process of making a very quick coffee table.

I have this Ambrosia Maple I got from Lowes:

I’ve cut it to size, and I am in the process of attaching the boards to this coffee table base I bought used for $25.

Last night I glued the center board into place. And when I released the clamps this morning, most of the board “popped” right off… the glue failed.

Now, I’m probably answering my own question, but lets see if I’m learning anything.

I only gave the top of the table a quick sanding with a 100 grit sandpaper. My guess is that the coffee table top is heavily polyurethaned. My guess is that me sanding it for all of 2 minutes (just putting scratches into the poly) wasn’t enough.

Since I don’t want to use screws, my guess is that I need to get some heavy grit paper and use my mouse sander and sand that top down to wood.

I really just want to glue the top. Do I sound right? Did the wood glue fail because I was trying to make it “bite” into poly and it just couldn’t?

-- "What do you mean, 'Give me some wild cherry gall?' What do you think, this stuff grows on trees or something?"


11 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

9604 posts in 2847 days


#1 posted 01-20-2022 03:13 PM

Yup. Wood glue only works between a wood to wood connection so scrap all of the old finish off the glue surface. I usually use a paint scraper or even just a chisel on end to scrape off a finish like that, sand paper will work too. Note that even old glue will prevent a good bond so you have to get all of the glue you just applied off too. Bare wood.

Edit: if you can, scrap any stain off too.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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SMP

5314 posts in 1365 days


#2 posted 01-20-2022 03:15 PM

No offense. But if your plan was to just glue 3 boards to a table base, I don’t think this can be answered in a single post.

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Fred Hargis

7481 posts in 3953 days


#3 posted 01-20-2022 03:18 PM


Did the wood glue fail because I was trying to make it “bite” into poly and it just couldn t?

- VanDesignWoodworkin

That’s what I think, though you didn’t mention what glue you used. It was (maybe) some form of PVA or aliphatic resin glue? Is, you may have a second problem, the glue is now spread on your ambrosia board. Alas, using a “mouse” sander to remove all the finish is something that may well test your patience. I think you would e better off using stripper to remove most of the finish, then clean it up by sanding it down to wood. As for the ambrosia boards, try to clean the glue off the one(s) that are now sealed, then glue it together. Lost in this is the wood movement question of dissimilar woods. I’ll pass on that for the moment.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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DS

4110 posts in 3880 days


#4 posted 01-20-2022 03:18 PM

So, The comment about glue is correct, though, there are glues designed to glue different materials as well.

For me, though, if I were attaching a wood top to a base, I would NOT be gluing it.

Wood movement in the top will cause either the glue to fail or the board to fail (split open) over time.

Typically wood tops are attached to bases with a mechanical faster that allows for the movement of the top.
There are dozens of methods to choose from, but, gluing the top to the base will nearly always fail, even with wood to wood contact.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS

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brtech

1216 posts in 4382 days


#5 posted 01-20-2022 03:22 PM

Yeah. I think most of us would glue the top boards together first, then attach the top to the base. I would use something more than glue for the base-to-top connection. Dowels, screws, dominos,

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VanDesignWoodworkin

1041 posts in 259 days


#6 posted 01-20-2022 03:33 PM

All of this helps. I did get the top down to wood with my grinder. I am also reinforcing with countersunk screws.

Thanks!

(sorry I’m so new!)


Yeah. I think most of us would glue the top boards together first, then attach the top to the base. I would use something more than glue for the base-to-top connection. Dowels, screws, dominos,

- brtech


-- "What do you mean, 'Give me some wild cherry gall?' What do you think, this stuff grows on trees or something?"

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

4861 posts in 4987 days


#7 posted 01-20-2022 04:35 PM

Glue does not fix everything.

You have so much to learn, as do we all with new projects. Keep learning from others. Look up what others have done making their tables. Wood movement is big. Things might look good for a while but over time strange things can happen to ruin your work. Research and study will pay in the long run. Patience my friend. Don’t waste your money and time and beautiful wood, getting ahead of yourself.

Best of luck on your journey.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

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VanDesignWoodworkin

1041 posts in 259 days


#8 posted 01-20-2022 04:59 PM

I hear ya… I’m an impatient person by nature. Fortunately, I live in a house with too many animals and lots of kids. My wife is used to things getting wonky over time… and we certainly have become accustomed to the idea that nothing nice stays nice for very long in this house!

Good thing? My wife hates the glass coffee table we currently have. Hates it.

She’ll love this new table and, since it’s for us, I can live with the imperfections. I did, however, make some changes based on what I read here!

Glue does not fix everything. You have so much to learn, as do we all with new projects. Keep learning from others. Look up what others have done making their tables. Wood movement is big. Things might look good for a while but over time strange things can happen to ruin your work. Research and study will pay in the long run. Patience my friend. Don t waste your money and time and beautiful wood, getting ahead of yourself. Best of luck on your journey.

- mtnwild


-- "What do you mean, 'Give me some wild cherry gall?' What do you think, this stuff grows on trees or something?"

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bugradx2

425 posts in 1479 days


#9 posted 01-20-2022 05:36 PM

We were/are all new woodworkers based on the project types we choose. My kids constantly ask me how I learned how to do various projects and I just shrug and say I rarely do a 2nd version of a project (except knife handles and bandsaw boxes in my case) so each time it’s new to me and I have to figure it out.

That said, I won’t beat the already dead horse any flatter on your first attempt at glue up. I think using some screws is the right approach. I would also say that if you can make the holes in the coffee table base a little larger than the diameter of the screw for the top (think generous oval) then it will allow for the new top to move as humidity through the year helps it to expand and contract.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

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bilyo

1550 posts in 2562 days


#10 posted 01-20-2022 08:38 PM


All of this helps. I did get the top down to wood with my grinder. I am also reinforcing with countersunk screws.

Thanks!

(sorry I m so new!)

- VanDesignWoodworkin

Please re-read the above advice you have. Your are heading in another wrong direction. Do not reinforce with countersunk screws. Your first step is to get the edges of the boards straight and then edge glue them (with a good wood glue). Then you can mount your glued-up panel to the base using screws only. However, this needs to be done through elongated holes (in the base) so that the screws can slide in the direction perpendicular to the top panel grain. The top panel will expand and contract, perpendicular to the wood grain, with changes in temperature and humidity. In your case, allowing for 1/8-1/4” is probably enough. If you glue the top panel down to the base, it will likely split at some point in time. Of course, what I have left out is the work you need to do to smooth and apply finish to the top panel after you glue the boards together. You did not need to remove the finish on the base, but it is OK that you did.

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VanDesignWoodworkin

1041 posts in 259 days


#11 posted 01-20-2022 08:48 PM

I do appreciate all the advice.

Over the next year, I’ll see if I got lucky or if I’m buying a new coffee table!

-- "What do you mean, 'Give me some wild cherry gall?' What do you think, this stuff grows on trees or something?"

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