Kitchen Table

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Project by GeoBuk posted 01-11-2011 04:22 PM 1470 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well here goes, my first posting- and it contains a challenge. Thanx for the warm welcome.

This is kitchen table and 4 chairs I made for new place here in SW Missouri after retirement. They are made from white oak. Chairs follow plans in Woodsmith from 2004. Challenge to me was making curved pieces out of straight wood- no bending required.

The table was of my own design created in QuickCad 8. It uses 3/4 inch stock. Careful inspection will show I broke a Cardinal rule when designing the top by joining wood at right angles without allowing for movement. Table top now has a long split next to one of the joints. I used biscuit joinery to assemble the top.

The challenge: Can anyone suggest a reconstruction/fix that will utilize the existing top?
I thought of adding strips to separate between the 4 sections, but can’t decide on joinery that allows movement.

2nd pix shows split. It is very dry this winter and you can see through 1/8 inch split. This summer it will close quite a bit.

—Now it is 1 year later and the fix is in. “David in Damascus” suggested the method I used shown in pix #3.
I used cherry for the spline which made a nice contrast. The hard part was sawing apart the 4 pieces-
I screwed entire top to square plywood and used that as guide in cutting. I had to mark plywood into 4 equal squares and use those line to align top to plywood. Plywood was screwed to bottom of table.

After cutting into 4 pieces, used 1/4” slot cutting bit in router to make slots in edges. I cut them 1/4” deep.

Then I made splines from cherry using same slot cutting bit to create a rather loose fit. I resisted usual tight fit we all strive for because this was precisely the problem I was trying to fix, i.e. lack of movement in changing moisture conditions.

I glued along single board edge of each piece. Cross cut edges had just a dab of glue at center of table.

Final trimming of splines and sanding and varnish and it is complete.

I attached using same wooden clips (see pix #4) along long edge, again allowing movement on other edge.

We think it looks better than original due to contrast provided by the cherry.

-- George in Missouri

11 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17553 posts in 3158 days

#1 posted 01-11-2011 05:49 PM

Congrats on your first project, sorry to hear about the split.

How did you attach it on the underside? Did you use table fasteners that allow for movement? Being most all movement is perpendicular to the grain your pattern (which looks great ) created more challenges for you.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3743 days

#2 posted 01-12-2011 04:33 AM

Good looking set of chairs and table. Very nicely done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3020 days

#3 posted 01-12-2011 05:11 PM

Can you take a closer picture of the problem area, as well as the underside for us so we can see exactly how you assembled it?

Welcome to LJs, by the way!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#4 posted 01-12-2011 08:07 PM

Perhaps you could take the top off, saw apart the 4 segments, re-arrange them to have all grain running the same direction then re-assemble the top with a dark, contrasting strip of wood in the seams. The seam with end grain to end grain would have to use parallel aligned wood as well, but could still be the same contrasting color. Be sure to attach the top to the aprons with hardware that allows for wood movement.

On the other hand, if you want to keep the 4 segment look, you have to arrange each of the segment’s grain so it is running 45 degrees from the way it is now. Then the boundries between the segments would look like miters. I think the existing top would have to become much smaller to be re-worked in this style.

It’s a shame this won’t work like it is, it’s a very nice looking project. Very nice chairs, well done.

View ray vile's profile

ray vile

40 posts in 2662 days

#5 posted 01-17-2011 06:46 AM

Very nice job, I didn’t notice the split but maybe if you used a couple of pocket holes and screws from the underneath you could close up that crack

-- RV

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3011 days

#6 posted 01-17-2011 07:18 AM

Biscuits IMO are only used for alignment and add very little or no strength. You might try splines between the segments. You need a lot more surface area for the glue to adhere to when gluing end grain to long grain. It is a weak joint and not recommended.

View GeoBuk's profile


14 posts in 2662 days

#7 posted 02-11-2011 09:17 PM

I’ll get some pix of under side and the split and post.
I’d like to hear more regarding suggestion by HerbC to use splines to allow for movement. I can’t quite picture how that would work.

-- George in Missouri

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2746 days

#8 posted 02-11-2011 09:41 PM

Here is a method that I have used to repair tops that are split -
Cut the pieces into their respective parts
If the top is 3/4, cut a 1/4 thick x 1/2” groove down the middle of each section
create 4 strips of 1/4” x 15/16” to coincide with each groove.
On the side that matches the grain direction of the strip glue the strip.
In the center, glue the opposite side of two to three inches.
Under the table, 2 inches before the outside edge, screw an 8 piece to cross the joint.

If you don’t have these figure 8 connections you can use wood but the 8 things are more discrete. This will allow for movement and you have a long joint for support.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View GeoBuk's profile


14 posts in 2662 days

#9 posted 01-24-2012 02:55 AM

David in Damascus: Thanx for the great tip- I am finally fixing using your ideas. I will post pix when varnish dries..

-- George in Missouri

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2746 days

#10 posted 01-25-2012 07:31 PM

Looks real good, you did a nice job.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4035 days

#11 posted 04-17-2013 04:02 PM

Well it is quite obvious that you are not a Novice Woodworker. Beautiful project and a very clever fix for the problem – I agree, the fix adds to the overall beauty of the table.

I am looking forward to seeing future projects.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

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