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Thread: joining wood lengthwise

  1. #1
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    Default help joining wood lengthwise

    Hi everybody. Ok so I found the wood, made my design and am ready to go. BUT i don't know what method to use to join my boards for the table top. I don't have a biscuit joiner but I do have a router. I thought of dowel joints so far cause I don't want tongue and groove to show on the ends. Any suggestions? Sorry if this sounds amateur but I'm just starting to make furniture so it is all a learning process for me. Thanks.
    Also should note that I will be joining two species of wood, either maple, cherry or cedar and one strip of pine.

    thanks all
    Last edited by nebcan; 03-09-2011 at 05:51 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    Joining the boards with dowels would be my route - using my Dowelmax of course.

    Glenn

  3. #3
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    hey thanks Glen.

    I don't have a dowelmax but I planned on taking my sweet time and ensuring that I get it right with the drill press. Should work no? Also how far apart should I space the dowels. The table is going to be 46" long and I was figuring on around 12 dowels roughly 4" apart, Sound good?

    Benjamin

  4. #4

    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    Hey Benjamin

    You can get slot cutters for your router that will make biscuit slots. I used that method before I got my biscuit jointer.

    Dave

  5. #5
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    Duh, like, Scott?

    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    I think 4" OC would be overkill. Maybe 8" to 12" is what I'd do.

    Think about that biscuit joiner that you've always wanted.

    Or Kreg pocket screw setup.

    Or if you're REALLY going whole-hog, consider the Festool Domino....warm up that credit card....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    I was actually thinking of making a long biscuit almost the length of the table maybe 6" short of each end. Groove both edges with the router and cut a small biscuit/tongue to run the length. Does that make sense to anyone?

  7. #7
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    Duh, like, Scott?

    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    >>>I was actually thinking of making a long biscuit almost the length of the table maybe 6" short of each end

    I believe that would be called a spline.

    Yup, works well. You can cut the recess in various ways... router, circ saw, table saw.

    BTW... I wouldn't use cedar for a table top... too soft.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    The first thing you should know is you don't need anything at all to glue that joint. Any of the options mentioned will certainly help with alignment and might make the glue up go easier but a properly done edge glue joint is stronger then the surrounding wood and doesn't need any special treatment. Do a search for the term "cauls" (on this site) and you'll find lots of good advice for gluing up table tops.

    I agree about not using cedar for a table...unless it's a picnic table.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  9. #9
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    I agree with J P Rap...... for gluing boards together, side edge to side edge, biscuits, dowels, etc. are not necessary; the time and hassle otherwise expended on such a step is instead put into dry fitting the glue up, thoughtful positioning of clamps and cauls to get the edges together while drying and the glue up flat on whatever surface you are using for support......don't feel you have to glue all the boards together at the same time; you can do two or three boards at a time, then glue the subpanels together..... if you are intending to hand plane the finished top, try to have the grain in all board run the same way (i.e. rising toward the same face of the tabletop and in the same direction) to lessen the likehood of chip outs by planing against the grain.....

    ..... after the glueups, defer final planing (hand or machine) for a couple of days: the wood at the gluelines will swell a bit (assuming you are using typical waterbased glue), then contract as the wood dries out; if you do final planing while this slight raised ridge is there, you risk a slight sunken glueline when the wood dries out.....

    good luck

    michael
    Last edited by michaely; 03-10-2011 at 04:53 PM. Reason: grammar, clarity; added bit on raised glue line

  10. #10
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    JP has your solution.

    And do read up on the cauls. It will make life simpler and the project more agreeable.
    Egon
    from
    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

  11. #11
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    I agree with the above posters re not using dowels or biscuits for strength but only for alignment. Another method I use for wide panels is to not plane the boards down to finish thickness at first. I then glue up "mini" panels that are not wider than can be handled on the planar I have. I then plane these mini panels down to the final thickness. You then have fewer "boards" to worry about a precise glue-up. You can now glue these mini panels together using whatever method you wish. (dowels, biscuits, splines, cawls, etc.) This cuts down on the final sanding or scraping or whatever method you use before applying finish. This works for me and I have made several tables, or cabinets requiring wider panels.

    Good Luck

    Murray
    I've cut this thing three times and it's still too dang short

  12. #12
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    All you need is glue.

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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    Hey guys thanks for all the input, it really helped. I think since I am using 7 planks for the top I will glue them together in sets of two and then run those through the planer and then add everything together. I have picked the wood for certain, its redwood that was used for Bicks pickle vats for 50 years or so so its been stained with the vinegar. Beautiful color and character, I've never seen wood like this.

    Just to future... Is the only reason to use dowels for alignment, does it not do anything for strength of the joint? I was doing it so that they all expanded and contracted at the same rate as one piece. Not a good idea?

    Off to look up cauls

  14. #14
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    No need to reinvent the wheel. Glue is enough.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    Quote Originally Posted by nebcan View Post
    Hey guys thanks for all the input, it really helped. I think since I am using 7 planks for the top I will glue them together in sets of two and then run those through the planer and then add everything together. I have picked the wood for certain, its redwood that was used for Bicks pickle vats for 50 years or so so its been stained with the vinegar. Beautiful color and character, I've never seen wood like this.

    Just to future... Is the only reason to use dowels for alignment, does it not do anything for strength of the joint? I was doing it so that they all expanded and contracted at the same rate as one piece. Not a good idea?

    Off to look up cauls
    Whether or not they ad strength has been debated back and forth likely since they were first used. There are certain joints that can benefit largely from such additions but and edge joint isn't one of them. They do however help with alignment and keep the parts from sliding around when clamping. A miter joint will have very little strength with just glue. Biscuits or dowels are a very good idea in a joint like that as the do add a lot of strength.

    Lesson two... You can not force the wood to expand and contract at a rate that suits you. The wood will move at a particular rate depending on species, temperature and humidity. Orienting the grain in such a way as to ensure the pieces move together is part of proper design. Some cross grain connections require allowances for wood movement in opposite directions to prevent joints from tearing themselves apart. Very small cross grain joints such as mortise and tenon don't require this. Other connections, such as frame and panel or breadboard ends must be left free floating so that the wood can move freely.

    Search "breadboard" or "bread board" for more in depth info.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  16. #16
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    Default Re: help joining wood lengthwise

    Yup, I had a butternut slab that I 'framed' with oak. I glued the sides where the grain of the oak/butternut was parallel. On the ends I used breadbaording as suggested by JP

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