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View Boondock's profile

Bow tie's in table slab

by Boondock
posted 12-15-2016 01:28 AM


25 replies so far

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1789 posts in 3003 days


#1 posted 12-15-2016 04:10 AM

Most people put the bowties on the top surface…

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1716 posts in 1942 days


#2 posted 12-15-2016 05:00 AM

I’m thinking you should practice on some scraps first to see how they fit.Wood is a better choice buy that just my opinion.
Im also not sure what the finish you mentioned is.If it’s a spar varnish then I think it’s just too soft for good wear.
I do like the slab it’s a very nice piece of wood.
Good luck.

Aj

-- Aj

View Boondock's profile

Boondock

5 posts in 672 days


#3 posted 12-15-2016 11:14 AM

Thanks for the replys guys. I know that they are usually wood, they won’t be seen though. I thought that just out of strength and the ability to have them I’d go for it. Do you think it will oxidize the wood or effect the top side? The practice makes sense lol. I was thinking trace chisel and maybe use a Dremel with a good bit to hollow out the inside.
As for the finish it is what petit calls z spar. It’s exterior marine grade varnish. It is a little sod I suppose but work well on exterior product I’ve used. Any suggestion for other products? I know everyone says tung oil but I just don’t think it will enhance the wood or be stronger. I’m thinking I will be putting on a minimum of 7 coats.

View EricTwice's profile

EricTwice

237 posts in 677 days


#4 posted 12-15-2016 11:55 AM

I have done several of these. (Usually walnut) I cut the hole for the bow-tie first and then fit it in. I usually put them on the top and bottom. This is especially true if the wood is more than an inch thick. I have never tried metal bow-ties but I cannot see them being a problem. Brass and aluminum can both be easily worked with woodworking tools. (Watch out for the chips. they can be hot and wear eye protection. Please!) They will however mean you cannot work the top with handplanes.

Elm shouldn’t have too much of a problem with splitting. If you look at the wood closely you will see a zigzag pattern. The grain changes directions and is treasured for Windsor chair seats because it does not like to split.

I would not try to pull a crack back together. It only introduces stress into the wood. This is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish, if you want a stable top.

I am not familiar with the finish you are using, but it sounds good. Just be sure that you finish both sides the same. I have seen more of these ruined by warping caused by the finish than I care to think about.

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2517 posts in 1531 days


#5 posted 12-15-2016 01:21 PM

While I think that the brass butterflys will look pretty cool, one problem I see with using brass, especially if you put it on the top, is that you have to get the depth cut perfectly. With a wood butterfly, you can make it a little proud of the surface and then chisel, plane and sand it level. You can eventually level the brass I suppose but it’ll take a lot more work. If you do sand the brass, you may get brass dust into the grain of the wood which could be difficult to get out (check out my bottle opener project for an example with copper). Not sure if you need to worry about it or not but don’t forget that brass will expand and contract with temperature changes and the biggest expansion will be in its length, which is exactly opposite of what you get with a wood butterfly. Because you typically make the grain run the length of the butterfly and put that at about a 90 degree angle to the grain of the wood you are stabilizing, the expansion due to moisture content is minimal along the direction of the grain so it doesn’t push or pull the crack apart or together and even though the butterfly may be a different type of wood, its linear expansion from temperature changes won’t be that different from the table top.

Unless you are planning to put this outdoors or some other setting where you need protection from UV or wide swings in temperature or moisture/humidity, I probably would not use a spar finish. My understanding is that spar finishes are designed to be more flexible to handle wide swings in temperature and moisture so might provide less impact protection. I am afraid that someone writing a letter on the table with a ball point pen without something under the paper might leave a permanent record in your table top.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Boondock's profile

Boondock

5 posts in 672 days


#6 posted 12-15-2016 02:04 PM

Nathan and lazy man thank you for the knowledge. I do. It want to see the butterfly on top. I was thinking of leaving the void in the check or filling with a black wood epoxy. If I need it on top I will use wood, unless I’m safe from further splitting being Elm?

As for the crack do you recommend putting in a butterfly still, leaving it, or trying to break that edge off? Here’s a picture of the top.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

397 posts in 763 days


#7 posted 12-15-2016 02:16 PM

I did an oak slab table a few years ago. When setting bowties, use a marking knife to do the outline. gets you a starting point for your chisel work. You might consider adding a slight taper to the sides of your inserts first. Tapping them in to their final resting point is a little easier.

I also had some cracks and voids to deal with. I filled them with a 2 part clear casting resin I found at Hobby Lobby and threw in some semi-precious stones we had laying around as a kind of aggregate and to add some visual interest. I did end up coating the entire top with the resin to ensure even coloring and is worked like a grain filler. This was not the thick plastic coat that you sometimes see on a bar top. Just enough to fill the grain and even out the color.

I topped it all with about 8 coats of home brew wipe-on poly and it’s been holding up well to daily use for 7 or 8 years so far.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1716 posts in 1942 days


#8 posted 12-15-2016 02:56 PM

I don’t like that finish for interior,its too soft it might get sticky after a few cleanings.Its going to take forever to dry and build coats.You will not be able to rub it out.Too soft.
It’s a good finish for outdoors.
Here’s my suggestion since I just booed your idea.
If you can spray go for the poly or CV they have more solids.

Aj

-- Aj

View Boondock's profile

Boondock

5 posts in 672 days


#9 posted 12-15-2016 03:29 PM

I’ve always had a thing for solvent based clears. I love what they bring out of wood. I’m anxious to see what the Elm will look like. I always see water based as doing nothing to enhance the color. What is CV? I will be rolling and tipping the finish and if possible I will polish the fish coat with the festool

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

3531 posts in 3328 days


#10 posted 12-15-2016 06:11 PM

I would put those bowties on top, they will look amazing when polished up and finished over. I would first do a wash coat of shellac, as it will stick to the metal and wood alike, then any further coats of varnish etc will stick perfectly to the shellac. Be sure to use a good epoxy when inserting those bowties… gluing metal to wood is a bit tricky. The bowties should be roughed up on the bottom and cleaned carefully before insertion to get good glue strength.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1716 posts in 1942 days


#11 posted 12-15-2016 06:51 PM



I ve always had a thing for solvent based clears. I love what they bring out of wood. I m anxious to see what the Elm will look like. I always see water based as doing nothing to enhance the color. What is CV? I will be rolling and tipping the finish and if possible I will polish the fish coat with the festool

Conversion Varnish

Good luck with your project.

Aj

-- Aj

View jonnybrophy's profile

jonnybrophy

160 posts in 755 days


#12 posted 12-15-2016 07:01 PM

I think those bowties would look beautiful! Just be real careful and maybe even consider using router templates for a more accurate/reliable inlay.

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

View BEWoodworks's profile

BEWoodworks

37 posts in 993 days


#13 posted 12-15-2016 07:55 PM

Most everything has been said already, but I just did my first bowtie in a table top. It is a 42” wide Hickory top. I think metal would look cool as a bowtie, but as someone already pointed out getting it perfect depth will be tough. Chamfer the bottom edges and taper the sides (if you can) so it goes in easy. Take your time and get the fit right. Trying to force metal into too small a hole may cause problems. If you are worried about contamination, put a clear coat on the metal before installation, then clear over it after. Blue tape is your friend, will protect the wood!

I used a marking knife to trace the piece, and cleared all excess material with chisels. Faster than setting up a router for one bowtie. Block Plane and sand flush. Mine is on the bottom as well because I didn’t want the bowtie showing, and the crack was wider at the bottom.

I used a coat of amber shellac for the look you like, sanded that and then finished with Enduro-var. Water based finish is super easy to apply evenly and dries fast!

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2631 posts in 3027 days


#14 posted 12-15-2016 08:11 PM

I’ve done a bunch of projects using bowties; one of my first was a big elm slab table:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/78137

The bowties should be 2/3 the depth of the slab if you want them to help stabilize the crack, ie. not just decorative. The other thing to consider with using metal bowties is that the wood slab will continue to move, the metal will not; if there is any further movement of the slab you may end up with gaps around the bowties.

I’m not a huge fan of heavy film finishes for kitchen tables eg. poly or spar urethane; they are more durable to a certain extent than an oil based finish or a wiping varnish but no finish is indestructible. You need to consider what you’ll do the first time you have a big scratch on the nice poly surface or the first time you get a water ring under the poly that you can’t heat out; oil and/or wiping varnish is a lot easier to repair/recoat.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1860 posts in 2133 days


#15 posted 12-15-2016 10:06 PM

If you are wiping or brushing, ob poly is the easiest. WB finishes dry too fast for that large of a surface for hand application. While many diss it, I prefer Minwax ob poly. Tried many others and MW works as good or better. Most problems are “operator error” not product related. Here's some info on oils and poly you might find interesting. Shellac can be used to provide color if desired, or the dyes described in the link can do it. No need for shellac in this application other than color tho.

View Boondock's profile

Boondock

5 posts in 672 days


#16 posted 12-16-2016 02:43 AM

Thanks to everybody. You have really made some great points. Im shocked at the amount of information that came in on this for me.

I’m still lost on what to do lol. I scratched one up quick to see the color. It seems like a bit to much of a bite for my first time to put them on the top. I don’t know if I’ve got the balls for it. I can live with messing up on the bottom side. There’s 6 bow ties to use. You can see where I have them layed out on the crack. Is that too many? The color would match nice too. Here’s a pic of the one sanded quickly to 220.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2517 posts in 1531 days


#17 posted 12-16-2016 04:07 AM

Practice on some scraps. You could even cut or even manually split your scrap to see how it works. One other thought is that if for some reason, you cannot get the recess cut well enough to get a tight fit on the top for the brass, you can always cut a new butterfly out off wood as a backup plan. Wood ones should be much easier to fine tune for a tight fit.

I am a little concerned about the really long crack that seems to go most of the way down one side—looks like the side with the live edge. How does that look on the bottom (assuming the last picture you posted was the top)? If you can see a significant amount of that crack on the other side, a row of butterflies might not enough to prevent that from breaking off completely sometime down the road, especially if there is any stress or weight on that side. If so, another technique might be needed. I’ve never done it. but I recall reading about someone who used their band saw to completely cut the side off, following the crack, and then glued it back on. If done right, the crack may almost completely disappear. You could still reinforce it with butterflies after it is glued back on. Again, you might practice on a scrap of equal thickness.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

273 posts in 829 days


#18 posted 12-16-2016 02:44 PM


The bowties should be 2/3 the depth of the slab if you want them to help stabilize the crack, ie. not just decorative.

Would this rule of thumb still apply to metal bowties?

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2631 posts in 3027 days


#19 posted 12-16-2016 03:18 PM


The bowties should be 2/3 the depth of the slab if you want them to help stabilize the crack, ie. not just decorative.

Would this rule of thumb still apply to metal bowties?

- avsmusic1


Yes, the issue is not the strength of the bowties, but the needed depth to keep the slab from cracking more.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

273 posts in 829 days


#20 posted 12-17-2016 04:00 PM

Interesting – thanks

I learn something new everyday on this site

View Robszwed's profile

Robszwed

3 posts in 219 days


#21 posted 03-17-2018 10:33 PM

I am doing almost the same thing and I have some questions. Prior to cutting and installing the bow ties I never see anyone clamping the table to squeeze the cracks and then installing the bow ties? Is there a reason to leave the crack as is ? I have read that the bow tie should be 2/3 the thick ness of the table is there a rule of thumb for locations. Example min 3” past end of of table? At the end of the crack do you want to put the bow tie at the very end of the crack or do you want to put 1/2 in crack and 1/2 out. My last question is do you ever use 2 part epoxy and bow ties? Thanks all I hope I get some help

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1274 posts in 747 days


#22 posted 03-17-2018 11:07 PM

I have never clamped a bow tie but not because I read anywhere not to. I just felt that the idea was to stabilize it where it was, not introduce any more stress into it. On cracks the size of the ones above I’d fill them with epoxy from the bottom. Not only for movement but it looks like that crack goes all the way through. If Aunt Edna spills her wine it’s gonna end up in her lap or on the carpet or the dog IMO. Plus, food and other garbage will work their way into the gaps.

I would probably put both of the 2 bowties on that big crack closer to the edge of the table.

The long edge crack in the above pictures is a little scary.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1274 posts in 747 days


#23 posted 03-18-2018 12:23 AM

PS. Those metal bow ties look really really cool and are aesthetically unique. They belong on the top as long as they can be made flush.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1716 posts in 1942 days


#24 posted 03-18-2018 02:15 AM

This is a old thread. The op boondock never posted him finished table I guess he messed it up.
I bet the marine varnish idea was a disaster.

-- Aj

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1274 posts in 747 days


#25 posted 03-18-2018 03:09 AM



This is a old thread. The op boondock never posted him finished table I guess he messed it up.
I bet the marine varnish idea was a disaster.

- Aj2


Oops. u r right. For some reason I thought he updated. Hopefully Robszwed will get something out of it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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