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  • Assess separation in a plank table top

    Hello everyone

    I took a chance on a table today for $100. I was thinking DIY with the help of a friend, and priced out what solid wood tops are going for. Yikes. Decided to try a private sale. I bought this table eyes wide open. Cosmetics aren't a huge issue for this. It's for a home music studio.

    I described this as a plank table and I think that's how it's made but I'm not a woodworker... at all.

    The planks actually don't seem to be the same width. The table is 70 3/4 x 38 3/8 x 1.5 (exactly) and going by what I believe to be the lines indicating the planks, they're all different.

    The plank that's separating is the one at the side. The separation is occurring mid-plank; both ends are still connected to the plank beside. You can see a bit of light through the separation at its widest point, but just. I tried to grab ahold of the second plank at the edge and pull up on the one that's separating and it was like pulling on a piece of concrete. No give, no motion whatsoever.

    The entire top has a bit of a bow in it, but it's mostly at the side where the smaller separating plank is at. By no means is it unusable. Pic looks worse than it is.

    The seller said this is teak but I'm not convinced. One thing's for sure, it's really heavy. I'm reasonably strong and I wouldn't want to try to pick it up like you'd pick up a piece of plywood. At my age I'd put something out.

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is and if there's anything I should do to treat this issue?

    Hope my pics are okay, I'll gladly provide anything else you guys need to assess this.

    Full View - separation is on the far right plank, which is much narrower than all the others

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Full View.JPG Views:	1 Size:	2.13 MB ID:	1239782

    Separation at worst point


    Click image for larger version  Name:	Main Separation worst spot.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.77 MB ID:	1239779

    No apparent separation at edge

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Main Separation at top.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.53 MB ID:	1239780

    Main separation from rear

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Main separation from rear.JPG Views:	1 Size:	3.59 MB ID:	1239788


    Top coming away from 'frame'

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Separation of top from frame.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.28 MB ID:	1239781

    Separation of top from cross member


    Click image for larger version  Name:	Separation of top from cross member.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.75 MB ID:	1239783

    Bowing from underneath

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Bowing.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.13 MB ID:	1239784

    Close up where leg meets table top

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Separation of Top from Frame at corner.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.59 MB ID:	1239787



    Table Leg for grain

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Table Leg.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.65 MB ID:	1239785

    Inside of Leg for grain

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Inside of Leg.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.09 MB ID:	1239786








    Last edited by tradernik; 06-05-2019, 11:19 PM.
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  • #2

    Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

    Good photos, it could be teak but I suspect its something they pass off as teak, teak, the real thing is expensive so the wood has some value if it is teak but seeing that movement tells me its not, Teak has a green look about it when cut and quickly turns brown when exposed to light, teak is oily and can be difficult to get a finish coating to stick to it, I have fit many a boat out using teak, if its well dry and seasoned well it is very stable but that said I do recall the odd piece being difficult to deal with.
    It looks to me like that table has been exposed to some heat on its top being a dark color (I think its stained) it would get hot in the sun or under a light, they are thick boards so will be difficult to pull that bow out of them without making the splits worse.
    What to do, use it, I think it could be Iroko.
    tradernik likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

      Originally posted by bkrits View Post
      I suspect its something they pass off as teak...It looks to me like that table has been exposed to some heat on its top being a dark color (I think its stained) it would get hot in the sun or under a light, they are thick boards so will be difficult to pull that bow out of them without making the splits worse.
      What to do, use it, I think it could be Iroko.
      Hello Bob and thanks for the response!

      I've just spent the past hour viewing images of teak online and I think you're right. They probably told the last owner it was teak. I like your call! Check out the attached, and remember that my pic appears more orange than the table actually is. It's closer to the real Iroko pic. Pretty good match! I can see lots of those little dark dashes in my table. And as I have just read and you well know, Iroko is what they use when they want to sell something as teak.

      Real Iroko

      Click image for larger version  Name:	Iroko.png Views:	1 Size:	740.5 KB ID:	1239796

      My table

      Click image for larger version  Name:	Iroko 3.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.63 MB ID:	1239797


      In any case it's definitely solid wood so I'm fine with it. Really what I care about is the separation (or should I be calling it a crack? But looking at the separated area from the rear, there's no way a piece of wood would crack like that [see pic above, 'Main Separation from Rear']).

      As long as I'm good to go using it as is, as you recommend, I'm happy. It's just so big and solid, I can't imagine this thing suddenly changing. I think it has to be several years old.

      Nick
      Last edited by tradernik; 06-06-2019, 02:31 AM.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

        It would look like the crack is right on a change of the tree wood stage at the edge of the board. Contributing may be moisture changes in the wood with the fasteners not allowing enough room for the expansion/contraction of the top.

        To to remove the warp and eliminate the crack may take quite a bit of work. Basically taking the top off, cutting out the cracked section as well as flip and glue several of the other boards to help eliminate the bowing. Then the base might require some work for squareness and proper joints.

        I’d leave as is or try and get some fine sawdust into the crack and then apply a restorative antique type finish that will actually dissolve some of the old finish and get spread around with lots of hand rubbing to help fill the crack and give an even overall finish.
        Egon
        from
        The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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        • #5

          Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

          If that was Teak you're looking at $1000 worth of wood. But I do not think that is Teak. If it was me, I would cut the table into strips along the original glue lines and either re-make the table or use the wood for another project.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

            Some of those areas look like a filler was used at one time & it has separated further. I thing the only reasonable choices are to use it as is or do as WoodBob suggest and rebuild the top.

            Comment

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            • #7

              Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

              Originally posted by drzaius View Post
              Some of those areas look like a filler was used at one time & it has separated further. I thing the only reasonable choices are to use it as is or do as WoodBob suggest and rebuild the top.
              Thanks again for all the help folks.

              Yes, I thought that an area at the rear looked like it was filled as well.

              Unfortunately rebuilding is not going to be an option. If the table stays basically like it is I'll be thrilled. It's huge and it's hardwood which I needed because I intend to drill into the bottom and mount a couple of rails for a sliding keyboard tray (musical keyboard, not computer keyboard). My keyboard is only 49 keys but it's quite heavy.

              Looks like there's nothing I can do easily to mitigate further changes in the structure of this table. I'm going to go forward hoping that it doesn't change that much. Again, there is zero give or movement at that point where the separation or cracking is occurring

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              • #8

                Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                Originally posted by Egon View Post
                It would look like the crack is right on a change of the tree wood stage at the edge of the board.

                I’d leave as is or try and get some fine sawdust into the crack and then apply a restorative antique type finish that will actually dissolve some of the old finish and get spread around with lots of hand rubbing to help fill the crack and give an even overall finish.
                Thanks, that's something I could maybe take on as a project. Rebuild is definitely not optimal for this piece. Most important is that you guys can give me the green light (as much as possible without seeing it) to just go ahead and use it and not worry that it's going to fall apart.

                I can put the side with the crack up against the wall and most of my work surface is going to be flat.

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                • #9

                  Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                  Both the wood and the cracks look very similar to some teak furniture we had made when we lived in Trinidad.
                  It was teak, but was young/relatively small trees that were commercially grown for a quick harvest and was known as "Plantation Teak", which bears little resemblance to old growth teak.
                  The wood was also only air dried and started to shrink and crack after a few months in the air conditioning. When we moved back to North America, the winter forced air heat and summer AC accelerated the process along with warping, bowing and splitting along the glue joints.
                  I took a table apart to realign the narrow boards but life/work got in the way and I never got to it in a timely fashion with the result that a couple boards resemble bananas rather than parts of a table.

                  Paul

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                  • #10

                    Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                    Originally posted by Paul O in Paris View Post
                    Both the wood and the cracks look very similar to some teak furniture we had made when we lived in Trinidad.
                    It was teak, but was young/relatively small trees that were commercially grown for a quick harvest and was known as "Plantation Teak", which bears little resemblance to old growth teak
                    Hi Paul

                    Well, that's reason to retain some hope! What'll likely happen is that it will remain a mystery as it's too big to take for professional inspection. I can always dream of it being teak. Even Plantation Teak.

                    I'm impressed that you brought the furniture back with you from Trinidad!

                    Again, my main concern is just that I don't overlook something that I should be doing to mitigate widening of the separation/crack. Again though, this table doesn't seem new and the whole structure is just solid as a rock with flex in it whatsoever, if that means anything. Seeing the boards coming away from that width-wise frame piece does give me pause.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                      One more question guys. Just occurred to me.

                      The table was delivered legs off. I had it leaning up against a wall. But should I store it top down flat on the floor until I can get the rails installed on the underside (I'm mounting two rails underneath to install a sliding keyboard tray). Rails are being shipped and should arrive next week.

                      I thought that maybe putting it flat on the floor 'against the bow' would be better but now I'm not sure as this puts the planks under tension while it sits on the floor. Shall I just flip it over and let it sit on the floor face up? Any thoughts? Doesn't really matter?

                      Comment

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                      • #12

                        Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                        Originally posted by tradernik View Post
                        One more question guys. Just occurred to me.

                        The table was delivered legs off. I had it leaning up against a wall. But should I store it top down flat on the floor until I can get the rails installed on the underside (I'm mounting two rails underneath to install a sliding keyboard tray). Rails are being shipped and should arrive next week.

                        I thought that maybe putting it flat on the floor 'against the bow' would be better but now I'm not sure as this puts the planks under tension while it sits on the floor. Shall I just flip it over and let it sit on the floor face up? Any thoughts? Doesn't really matter?
                        At that age it is not likely to move any more. But it wouldn't hurt to store it flat.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Assess separation in a plank table top

                          Originally posted by WoodBob View Post

                          At that age it is not likely to move any more. But it wouldn't hurt to store it flat.
                          Okay, got it. I spoke to a friend today, old buddy from high school who I hadn't talked to in a while. Amazing woodworker and he was happy to talk to me about this. He has really set my mind at ease about this. He said exactly what you said, not only about storing it but about the possibility that the crack will somehow widen considerably after I get the keybaord tray installed.

                          I'm off to Home Depot to buy some material for my risers. Thanks again.

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