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  • Table Build Thread

    I am making a table out of some ash boards I have. I would like to make the legs have a slight tree shape to them and was hoping to orient the grain as show. In the picture. The legs would be a glue-up of 1" boards to get 3" thickness. I am guessing I should use a mortise and tennon to join the 'trunk' to the upper and lower sections to allow movement.

    If I glue up the upper and lower sections with grains at some aesthetic angle, much less than 90°, am I still going to have large movement problems (cracking)? Would it help to have the center layer of the 3 running parallel to the floor?

    Any ideas to achieve the grain direction shown and avoid most problems down the road? Aiming for a sturdy, slightly overbuilt, table made completely from the ash boards I have as my dad and I dropped the trees in his bush. Hoping to put enough effort into it so that it outlasts me.

    If not obvious, I am beyond novice, so my appologies for any terminology problems and the novel of a post for a single question.

    Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk

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  • #2

    Re: Table Build Thread

    A few things.....

    The point of a mortise and tenon joint isn't so you can allow the two mating pieces to move separately from each other. It's mainly so the two parts DON'T have any movement between them. Some sort of joint between the upper, lower and middle sections will definitely be needed, and I think a mortise and tenon could work. There are many things that could work, and it really depends on what you're comfortable with, in terms of joinery. You say you're a beginner, so I think having you do a joint that you're comfortable with, so you can do it well, is at least something to consider. There's no reason for me to ask you to do a joint that you can't do well, as that will likely be weak. I would assemble / laminate the top and bottom sections first, then when dry I would ensure their lower and upper edges (that will mate with the center section) are cut straight across. Then you could use either a bunch of largish dowels, or a few floating mortise and tenons to secure the centre section between the upper and lower sections. You could also stagger the joints and glue the entire leg section up at the same time. This would mean that no joints were located in the same area, and would give a pretty strong leg.

    The grain in the upper/lower sections, compared to the centre section is running at a bit of an angle, but I don't think that will give you a huge problem as long as the joint you end up going with is quite strong.
    jcayer likes this.
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

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    • #3

      Re: Table Build Thread

      The vertical piece could be made so it fits around the branches on two sides or has an interior piece that extends into the branches. It should make a strong joint.

      Bridal joint only using the laminations to form the joint.
      http://www.ripsdiy.co.za/woodjoins.shtml
      The description is rather vague but there is a video out on building a Robu workbench that utilizes this approach
      Last edited by Egon; 12-21-2017, 08:18 AM.
      Egon
      from
      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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      • #4

        Re: Table Build Thread

        I don't see wood movement being a big issue in your design. M&T joints will be strong enough for sure. I personally would not alternate the grain as I don't see it being necessary and it will detract from the overall look of the legs. I like the design and look forward to updates as you work through the piece.

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        • #5

          Re: Table Build Thread

          Originally posted by Rob Brown
          A few things.....

          The point of a mortise and tenon joint isn't so you can allow the two mating pieces to move separately from each other. It's mainly so the two parts DON'T have any movement between them. Some sort of joint between the upper, lower and middle sections will definitely be needed, and I think a mortise and tenon could work. There are many things that could work, and it really depends on what you're comfortable with, in terms of joinery. You say you're a beginner, so I think having you do a joint that you're comfortable with, so you can do it well, is at least something to consider. There's no reason for me to ask you to do a joint that you can't do well, as that will likely be weak. I would assemble / laminate the top and bottom sections first, then when dry I would ensure their lower and upper edges (that will mate with the center section) are cut straight across. Then you could use either a bunch of largish dowels, or a few floating mortise and tenons to secure the centre section between the upper and lower sections. You could also stagger the joints and glue the entire leg section up at the same time. This would mean that no joints were located in the same area, and would give a pretty strong leg.

          The grain in the upper/lower sections, compared to the centre section is running at a bit of an angle, but I don't think that will give you a huge problem as long as the joint you end up going with is quite strong.
          What Egon says below sounds like what I was planning to combine the top and bottom to the trunk. Essentially the middle board of the trunk glue-up extending down into a void in the roots and up into a void in the branches. Was thinking two (or more) dowels at each end coming from the inside so they cant be seen with one round hole and one slotted hole in the trunk so it can expand but not move.
          Would this not be considered a mortise and tennon?

          My uncle will be helping me (also the source of most of the tools). Not sure how to rank his experience but he has made some beautiful tables.

          Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk

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          • #6

            Re: Table Build Thread

            Originally posted by dwoody
            I don't see wood movement being a big issue in your design. M&T joints will be strong enough for sure. I personally would not alternate the grain as I don't see it being necessary and it will detract from the overall look of the legs. I like the design and look forward to updates as you work through the piece.
            By not alternating grain, do you mean have everything vertical? Or have the trunk vertical and the roots/branches horizontal instead of at an angle?
            I was hoping to have the look of the grain following the contour if the tree somewhat.
            If I did run the exterior grain as shown, would you run the center board of the glue-up for the branches and roots horizontal and span the end grain joint of the exterior boards? Something like the joint shown below:

            Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk


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            • #7

              Re: Table Build Thread

              If I expand this to a thread about the table build in general should I start it elsewhere or continue here? Thank you for all the feedback and insight so far.

              Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk


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              • #8

                Re: Table Build Thread

                Originally posted by blenders View Post
                By not alternating grain, do you mean have everything vertical? Or have the trunk vertical and the roots/branches horizontal instead of at an angle?
                I was hoping to have the look of the grain following the contour if the tree somewhat.
                If I did run the exterior grain as shown, would you run the center board of the glue-up for the branches and roots horizontal and span the end grain joint of the exterior boards? Something like the joint shown below:

                Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk

                I would have all the boards glued up in the same grain orientation. Your image shows grain and that orientation is fine with me.The base and trunk are no problem at all as far grain is concerned. A carefully selected wide board(s) will easily allow the base to be cut with a pleasing grain flow angling slightly upwards. It looks like you will need a board at least 10 inches wide to accommodate the branch design. The branch needs to be cut on an angle so that there is no horizontal grain at the glue line. Horizontal grain will be weaker and also disrupt the flow. So you will have grain on an angle running from the top of the branch to the join, then vertical to the base and then slightly angling across the base. You achieve the angle for the branches by laying out the branch pattern tilting to the right on the board. I think this works but obviously you would have to lay out the pattern on some boards to confirm.

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                • #9

                  Re: Table Build Thread

                  If you want to post it here that would be fine. If so, PM me and I will change the title.

                  Just so you know, I select a "Best Build" thread for each issue. We run a small photo of the project and you get a Veritas Dual Marking Gauge for your troubles in sharing the thread. I would love to add this to our pages! All that's needed is a thread covering how you built the table.
                  ______________________________________________
                  Rob Brown
                  Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

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                  • #10

                    Re: Table Build Thread

                    Seeing a step by step construction would indeed be interesting as well as informative
                    Egon
                    from
                    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                    • #11

                      Re: Table Build Thread

                      I like the design and the idea of changing the appearance of the grain flow too. I would consider using a core of Glue Lam or Micro Lam [Manufactured beam] and covering the manufactured component with solid wood. 1/2" or 3/4" solid wood on the outside would be fine. Obviously use thin strips to cover the "meat" of the sandwich between the outer layers or "bread" of the sandwich. By searching for the right boards you could easily find a very complimentary grain to flow from the trunk to the limbs probably all in 2 single pieces with a straight line joint down the centre of the trunk. Maybe one of the computer guys here could draw up a sketch of my suggestion.

                      I could make it for you but then I'd be having all the fun.
                      Last edited by Rusty; 01-04-2018, 03:35 PM.
                      "Do it Right!"

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                      • #12

                        Re: Table Build Thread

                        Finally getting some more done on the table. I have all the boards flattened out as much as I could and have brought them to my uncle's shop. I jointed one edge of all the boards for the top and apron. Then we ran those through the table saw. Because his jointer fence isnt dialed in at 0°, and holding the boards perfectly vertical was a bit challenging, we flupped the boards and took another slice with the table saw to have both edge faces square.

                        Now that I am this far I am thinking of taking the easy way out that Rob Brown suggested for the legs by making the branches, trunk, and roots separately then using some heavy dowels to join the 2 sections. I think each section separately will be easier to manage on the band saw for the profile, and then I plan to run it through the table saw to get the flats to mate together with dowels.

                        What I am pondering now is the breadboard joinery. I was planning on making a haunched mortise and tenon with about a .75" haunch and then a 2-3" tenon on each board (5) to support the 7" wide breadboard ends. I am also planning on running a 2.25" tall x 1.125" wide apron under the table which would be 3" in from each side. My uncle was suggesting that the apron may make the longer tenons unnecessary. This makes sense to me as the apron will be supporting more than half the breadboard.
                        If I use figure 8 fasteners or clamps to hold the top to the apron, and brawbore/dowel the breadboards to a constant tenon (not sure that is the right term if the deeper sections are gone) should that be enough?

                        Also as a bonus question, any opinions between figure 8's and clamps? I think either should be easy enough.
                        http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...306,41312&ap=1
                        http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...715,43726&ap=1

                        I am going to try to draw up more detail in 3D so if it is too hard to visualize what Iabl saying I may be able add some pictures.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Table Build Thread

                          Originally posted by Egon
                          Seeing a step by step construction would indeed be interesting as well as informative
                          I am going to try to remember to take lots of pictures, and I hope to finish a 3D model once the design is done. Which coincidentally may be when the table is done.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Table Build Thread

                            Originally posted by Rusty
                            I like the design and the idea of changing the appearance of the grain flow too. I would consider using a core of Glue Lam or Micro Lam [Manufactured beam] and covering the manufactured component with solid wood. 1/2" or 3/4" solid wood on the outside would be fine. Obviously use thin strips to cover the "meat" of the sandwich between the outer layers or "bread" of the sandwich. By searching for the right boards you could easily find a very complimentary grain to flow from the trunk to the limbs probably all in 2 single pieces with a straight line joint down the centre of the trunk. Maybe one of the computer guys here could draw up a sketch of my suggestion.

                            I could make it for you but then I'd be having all the fun.
                            Thanks for the idea Rusty. Even though it will be creating some challanges, aside from potentially some biscuits, dowels, and hardware, I want to use just the ash that I have for sentimental reasons.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Table Build Thread

                              Now that I go deeper down the google 'research' hole, I am also considering buttons to join the top to the aprons. The attraction to buttons would be more ash and less foreign material.
                              Implementation seems reasonably easy, router table for mortises before assembling apron and then make up buttons from scrap.
                              Attached Files

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