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Forum topic by Dj1225 posted 05-20-2016 10:41 PM 646 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dj1225

57 posts in 1680 days


05-20-2016 10:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table top solid top wood direction

Hello,

I am building a solid ash dining table top. The top will be 90 inch long. I have made several large tables before, but I have also had a lot of top movement. I know there will always be some, but I am adding some inlays in the table and want to avoid this as much as possible. Also I want the top to stay flat.

I started with ash boards between 7 and 8 wide. I read to reduce the boards to no more than 4 inch wide, so I cut the boards to 3.5 inch wide. Something else I have never done is alternate the direction of the growth ring.

So a few questions

A couple of the boards have a slight wrap, none that I can not push flat. I figure using a few dominos in glue up will take care of that issue…... Right.

The bigger delima is when I alternate the boards so I have growth rings alternating, I am faced with some less than attractive boards on my face side. I’m just not satisfied with how the top will look. So is it really necessary to do alternate the boards by growth rings given the boards are 5/4 thick.

I really appreciate any advice. This is an important piece for me.

Thanks
Dave

-- Dave


15 replies so far

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MadMark

976 posts in 913 days


#1 posted 05-20-2016 11:02 PM

If you don’t alternate your top will try to form a tube. Alternating also cancels out any blade tilt – also helping.

Plane the ash to improve the faces. Ash has a LOT of dimension drift ~5%.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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jbay

807 posts in 359 days


#2 posted 05-20-2016 11:15 PM

Since your boards are only 3 1/2” wide I don’t think it will hurt if every board is not alternated.
Just don’t put them all the same.
I have done many a glue up without alternating every piece.

I think you will get different opinions about this.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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Aj2

686 posts in 1258 days


#3 posted 05-20-2016 11:50 PM

I would arrange them for the best look. Avoid glueing flat sawn edge to quarterd.Or another way to look at it is don’t glue the inside of the tree to the outside.It probably won’t look good anyways.

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Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#4 posted 05-21-2016 02:24 AM

Alternating growth rings is a woodworking myth that has been debunked many times. Arrange for best appearance.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Tabletop

77 posts in 207 days


#5 posted 05-21-2016 06:25 AM

Can’t argue with any of these opinions but I think the best thing you did was reducing the width of each board. Make sure edges are square and go for it. I spend more time arranging boards for the look I want than arranging them based in the direction of the growth rings. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Unless I find something better… Be safe.

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JackDuren

133 posts in 419 days


#6 posted 05-21-2016 12:43 PM


Alternating growth rings is a woodworking myth that has been debunked many times. Arrange for best appearance.

- Rick M.

Prove it…..........

We do several million a year 8/4 restaurant tables and found alternating a correct procedure…

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#7 posted 05-21-2016 01:50 PM

The idea of Alternating your boards is mostly to help prevent cupping not to stop cross grain wood movement.I have been able to make many table tops without alternating the growth rings without problems. Unless you use products like plywood or OSB your not going to stop wood movement,all you can do is minimize it by using 1/4 sawn wood ,reducing the width of each board on the glue up and making sure your material is dry enough to work with. The real key it to build so that you allow for wood movement ,there are a number of ways to do that ,here is a PDF that covers the subject very well once you understand wood movement and plan for it, you will be able to build without wood movement problems.

http://toddpartridgedesign.com/sr_pages/documents/UnderstandingWoodMovement.pdf

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#8 posted 05-21-2016 04:50 PM


Alternating growth rings is a woodworking myth that has been debunked many times. Arrange for best appearance.

- Rick M.

Prove it…..........

We do several million a year 8/4 restaurant tables and found alternating a correct procedure…

- JackDuren

Been proven, many times; and I doubt it. It’s based on an incomplete understanding of wood movement and a lack of experience. You prove it.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5721 posts in 2827 days


#9 posted 05-21-2016 05:51 PM

I have always gone for appearance and so far so good!

When you work with salvaged wood there are a lot of times you have no choice as one side may be more desirable for the look you’re trying tout achieve.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#10 posted 05-22-2016 04:04 AM

In my experience, if a top cups it is because the table was finished unevenly or one side of the table was subjected to a harsher environment (sun, rain, heater vent) and the finish failed. I wrote a 4 paragraph response but changed my mind and deleted it. I’ve written explanations before but this half baked alternating grain thing has a life of its own.

Here is a Fine Woodworking article on the subject.
https://www.finewoodworking.com/media/TabletopsFlat.pdf

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

807 posts in 359 days


#11 posted 05-22-2016 04:13 AM

The deal is, every build scenario is different.
Wood species, moisture content, grain type, board width, board thickness, glue up method, design of the top, skirt underneath,
How you layout the boards, final finish, type of finish, etc. etc..
Everything goes into the final outcome.
What works for 1 scenario may not work for a different scenario.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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JackDuren

133 posts in 419 days


#12 posted 05-22-2016 11:37 AM

Have seen the results. Already seen the proof.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#13 posted 05-23-2016 05:15 AM


Have seen the results. Already seen the proof.

- JackDuren

I’ve seen the results too. I’ve seen results that contradict the myth and so have many other people including professionals. Fact is, wood movement isn’t that simple.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1769 days


#14 posted 05-23-2016 05:34 AM

I too have always went for the best appearance and never had a problem. I would never destroy a nice piece of wood by ripping it into narrow pieces and glue it back together.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#15 posted 05-23-2016 11:02 AM

I agree with AG ^. If the wood is acclimated it minimizes problems. Store the wood in the house a couple months before glue up.

If you’re going to be planing the top, grain alignment can dictate what you can/can’t do with some wood like white oak (no experience with ash)

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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