A small conference table - the build #2: The full-size table: Gluing up the top

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Blog entry by Al Navas posted 01-28-2009 07:05 AM 5864 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Preparing the boards Part 2 of A small conference table - the build series Part 3: The top is ready for sanding »

My thanks to all who read and looked at the beginning of the build of the full-size table.

Now I continue, with the glue-up of the boards that will make up the table top. The top will be 1-1/2 inches thick, 30 inches wide, and 60 inches long. At this stage the boards are a little thicker than 1-5/8”.

From my blog:

After prepping the boards that will make up the table top, it is now time to glue them up. Due to their sheer size, I do this in stages, two boards at a time. Doing it this way removes much of the anxiety associated with large glue-ups.

I apply sufficient glue to get some squeeze out and, using several clamps while carefully lining up the edges as I go, I gradually start clamping down from the center toward the edges. When finished, I normally want a small bead of glue all along the glue line, on both sides of the boards being glued. I then wipe down much of the excess; and, when the remaining glue starts to gel, I scrape it off. The following photo shows one half of the table top immediately after tightening the last clamp; note the size of the glue bead I get:

Once I remove the bulk of the remaining glue I check for flatness, using a good straight edge; the two glue-ups I did today were perfectly flat – a pleasing result after the work that has gone into these so far.

No doubt, the nice flat surface is the result of spending the time with a hand plane to touch up the board edges, in preparation for the glue-up.

Next: I will glue the two sets of boards I glued up today. At that point the entire table top will be ready for sanding to final thickness. Since I don’t have a machine that will take this huge slab, I will use a friend’s wide belt sander. Later I will use another friend’s slider to cut the top to final length on his table saw. I hope to document those two critical steps soon.

I think my newly-found muscles are starting to feel better. They ached for two solid days. And, to quote Peter McDonald, one of James Patterson’s characters, today ”...everything was copacetic…” (1)

Thanks for reading about my build of this table!

(1) The Season of the Machete, Page 75, James Patterson, 1980


-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

2 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 01-28-2009 01:08 PM

Al, this is looking good so far. I really enjoy seeing a step-wise construction post, like you are doing with this project. It conveys a lot of information that is simply inferred when looking at only a completed project post.

Nice job.

By the way I like the pad you have put on your clamps. I have been considering adding a cork liner to mine since I occasionally get red marks and surface marring on my projects from my clamps.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3903 days

#2 posted 01-28-2009 02:58 PM

Thanks, Scott!

You will like having the cork liner in place. It prevents marring critical surfaces – not needed for this glue-up, but really desirable for more delicate jobs.

I must find better tape to hold down the cork. The flimsy tape I had on hand when I did lined the clamp surfaces is starting to peel off a little, and can be a nuisance. Just need to make a short break to tape down the ends.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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