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Tabletop racks a bit - how to fix?

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Forum topic by bucketheadmn posted 08-25-2016 01:19 PM 588 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bucketheadmn

12 posts in 127 days


08-25-2016 01:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

I made my first table!

It is a counter height kitchen table/island using an solid birch ikea butcher block countertop (74×25 1/8” and 1 1/8” thick). I built the base using ‘select’ pine boards from menards – figured that would be just fine as movement in these small boards will be minimal. The only problem is that it moves a little bit, booooo…. It is nothing huge, but enough that I want to try to fix it.

Here is my base – pocket holes with glue to connect the aprons (1×4 on short ends and 1×3 on long ends), and notched out space to put in the short 2×4 stretchers. The 4×4 legs are in 2” on end and 2-1/4” on sides with the aprons set back 3/4”. This gives the base a total dimension of 70” x 21-1/8”.

So it moves the long way – not a ton, but enough to be annoying. Movement seems to be at the top where the aprons connect to the legs. The top is connected using figure 8 table top fasteners on the 4 corners and then ikea provided L brackets that allow for movement that I used in the middle sections.

I have added some L brackets to each corner where the apron meets the leg. This helped a little bit, but it still moves some. My current thought is to find some bigger L brackets – 2” or 3” high x 1” wide and replace the skinny long L brackets I have in there. I am thinking that they would help prevent the movement at the top by the aprons and legs.

I am wondering if there is a way besides the L brackets that I should be looking at doing to help prevent the movement? Or if I should just get used to the little bit of movement being that it is a 6 foot long table.

Any thoughts would be great here. Thanks!!!


21 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7171 posts in 2038 days


#1 posted 08-25-2016 01:26 PM

Diagonal braces long ways should help, like a big ol X in the middle of the table.

Or something like this:

View JayT's profile

JayT

4772 posts in 1672 days


#2 posted 08-25-2016 01:33 PM

Wider aprons attached with mortise and tenon would help a lot. The long aprons are too skinny for a 6 foot table, IMHO, and pocket screws are very low on the scale of best ways to attach them to prevent racking. A well done M&T joint would be best, but loose tenon or even dowels would be much stronger and better than pocket screws.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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bucketheadmn

12 posts in 127 days


#3 posted 08-25-2016 01:47 PM


Wider aprons attached with mortise and tenon would help a lot. The long aprons are too skinny for a 6 foot table, IMHO, and pocket screws are very low on the scale of best ways to attach them to prevent racking. A well done M&T joint would be best, but loose tenon or even dowels would be much stronger and better than pocket screws.

- JayT

I was wondering about wider aprons. I would hate to take everything apart to do new aprons. Since I used a 1×3 as the long apron would ‘sistering’ in a new section of apron behind the outward facing one help at all? I could use another 1×3 or there is enough room for a 2×2 as well. And I did not do any other type of joinery since I do not have the tools and was trying to make it with the least amount of spend on tools as possible.

And as far as the diagonal braces I was hoping to stay away from any kind of middle stretcher – with the table only 25-5/8” wide that would eat up a lot of leg space underneath and take away from the ability to push the stools all the way under.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4024 posts in 1812 days


#4 posted 08-25-2016 01:52 PM

Add a long stretcher across the bottom centered between the short stretchers, use mortise and tenon. If it racks now it will only get worse over time and pretty soon fail altogether. I agree that the apron is not wide enough for that length of table. Why did you make the short aprons wider than the long ones? Four inches on the apron would be a minimum for this length of table.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jbay's profile

jbay

811 posts in 360 days


#5 posted 08-25-2016 02:01 PM

This would help, but I don’t think it’s a cure all.

-- 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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bucketheadmn

12 posts in 127 days


#6 posted 08-25-2016 02:03 PM



Add a long stretcher across the bottom centered between the short stretchers, use mortise and tenon. If it racks now it will only get worse over time and pretty soon fail altogether. I agree that the apron is not wide enough for that length of table. Why did you make the short aprons wider than the long ones? Four inches on the apron would be a minimum for this length of table.

- bondogaposis

I used 3” for the apron to make ease of sitting at table better. My thinking was that with a 3” apron it would be easier to pull up and sit at it.

If I am understanding correctly here I should have used a 4” apron on the long side? With that in mind maybe I should take the top off and pick up a couple of 2×4’s and use them for the long apron. If I had 4” aprons do you think I would be able to get by without a bottom stretcher?

I understand that using a technique besides pocket screws would be better, but I do not have access to the tools required to do either dowels or mortise and tenon. So I will be connecting using pocket screws and wood glue.

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

769 posts in 163 days


#7 posted 08-25-2016 02:05 PM

scab another apron down the length of both existing aprons (very tight fit), and run one down the center. But next time id follow all previous advice. And for gods sake were are the holes for the beer taps. Are the kegs going to sit on the floor, sorry its getting close to Friday?

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

1134 posts in 173 days


#8 posted 08-25-2016 02:06 PM

and was trying to make it with the least amount of spend on tools as possible

well that’s what you get frustrated now
would be best to have a 5” stretcher M&T into leg

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View bucketheadmn's profile

bucketheadmn

12 posts in 127 days


#9 posted 08-25-2016 02:22 PM



scab another apron down the length of both existing aprons (very tight fit), and run one down the center. But next time id follow all previous advice. And for gods sake were are the holes for the beer taps. Are the kegs going to sit on the floor, sorry its getting close to Friday?

- jwmalone

This is what I will try first. I will not be able to do the full length because of the 2×2’s I have running width wise for support. I will do one in each corner super tight.


and was trying to make it with the least amount of spend on tools as possible

well that s what you get frustrated now
would be best to have a 5” stretcher M&T into leg

- GR8HUNTER

I have a couple more tables that I am going to build in the coming months (dining room and outdoor). I am guessing that I will improve and try to do the M&T in each of these. At some point I will redo the base to this table, but not right now. Nice thing about using ‘select’ boards from Menards is that the total lumber cost might have been $50 – so not a huge deal to redo it in a few years. The tabletop should last years and years if taken care.

And how do you determine what size apron is best to use for the length of the table you are making?

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

270 posts in 304 days


#10 posted 08-25-2016 02:22 PM

While the diagonal braces shown by Waho would work, they add a strong visual intrusion on a very clean design.

You can use stranded stainless steel cable and turnbuckles to achieve the same end. It’s not woodworking, but it won’t add much visual clutter. It is also fast and easy.

Connect one cable to the center of the cross piece on the two legs and to the underside of the table top at the opposite end. Repeat on the other side so that the cables make an X in the center of the table.

I would use the black coated cables and I would hide the turnbuckles high up under the table.

Addendum:

When I went on line to find photos of this idea I see that most are using threaded rods and are using them as part of the design statement and I think that works better than my cable idea:

http://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/663155e20d5185cc_4-4858/rustic-dining-tables.jpg

http://www.schlabachcountrytimbers.com/images/furniture-images/TurnBuckleTable.jpg

http://vintagetimber.com/reclaimed-wood/millwork/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=331&g2_serialNumber=4

Buy threaded rod and a matching sized turnbuckle, and a fender washer to suit.
Glue a block to the center of the table’s underside for mounting.
Paint all the components after assembly as the paint will chip off when using the threads.

I would use 1/2” or heavier rods if you want to make a visual statement.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4167 posts in 3203 days


#11 posted 08-25-2016 03:11 PM

You can do some corner bracing, which will have the same effect as the wider apron, without adding a lot of visual mass in the middle of the table.

You need to spread the forces further down the leg, to counteract the leverage of that 6 foot table. Imagine a 6 foot piece of pipe on the end of a crescent wrench. Doesn’t take much force to rack it.

Greene and Greene did this with their “cloud lift” – to give that needed strength at the leg to apron joint and making it ‘decorative’ but not losing space for your legs to scoot your chair in :-)

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View bucketheadmn's profile

bucketheadmn

12 posts in 127 days


#12 posted 08-25-2016 05:45 PM

Well I took the table apart and I went and picked up some 1×6 pieces to use as the apron. Figured would be an easy change before we paint the base.

So now I will have a 1×6 apron all the way around. I will also scab a second 10” piece of 1×6 onto each corner to provide additional bracing. I am still using pocket screws to connect the aprons as that is what I have available to be at this time. Hopefully changing out the apron will stop the racking that was occurring so that I do not need to add a bottom stretcher on as that will take away from the look of the table.

Will post an update and pictures when all done tomorrow.

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

270 posts in 304 days


#13 posted 08-25-2016 06:20 PM


You can do some corner bracing, which will have the same effect as the wider apron, without adding a lot of visual mass in the middle of the table.

You need to spread the forces further down the leg, to counteract the leverage of that 6 foot table. Imagine a 6 foot piece of pipe on the end of a crescent wrench. Doesn t take much force to rack it.

- DrDirt

That would work. Faster though would be to mount cast iron shelf brackets in each corner. Amazon.com sells them and they look fairly attractive.


Well I took the table apart and I went and picked up some 1×6 pieces to use as the apron. Figured would be an easy change before we paint the base.

So now I will have a 1×6 apron all the way around. I will also scab a second 10” piece of 1×6 onto each corner to provide additional bracing. I am still using pocket screws to connect the aprons as that is what I have available to be at this time. Hopefully changing out the apron will stop the racking that was occurring so that I do not need to add a bottom stretcher on as that will take away from the look of the table.

Will post an update and pictures when all done tomorrow.

- bucketheadmn

Can you add dowels? They are not as good as tenons but require only rudimentary equipment. And alternating dowels and pocket screws will add quite a bit to the strength of the part.

I know from doing demo on some kitchen cabinets that two pocket screws on a 3” wide board failed easily when I racked the board side to side. Well glued dowels will be much stronger.

All you really need are dowel centers and something to keep the drill square.

Rockler shows it in their catalog: http://www.rockler.com/dowel-centers-individual-sizes?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_content=pla&utm_campaign=PL&sid=V9146&gclid=CMWB1v6X3c4CFc9ahgodn1cKyA

And Sears (and probably Lowes, Menards and Home Depot) carry General’s version for about $5.00 a set.

If you use pre-made dowel pins the glue relief will be built into the dowel and you won’t have a hydraulic issue to deal with.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View marshallmosby56's profile

marshallmosby56

18 posts in 140 days


#14 posted 08-25-2016 07:21 PM

You have got to give it the necessary support it needs. Join the side supports together like this

-- :)

View gargey's profile

gargey

457 posts in 236 days


#15 posted 08-25-2016 07:30 PM

Yeah dude, add some criss-cossing stuff underneath. Triangles. Doesn’t require fancy joinery or thick boards if you add it down there, compared to the large ammo you need if you’re just beafing up those 4 corners at the top.

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