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Creating illusion of thick table top, help!

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Forum topic by Colin1 posted 10-13-2016 01:43 PM 683 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Colin1

2 posts in 56 days


10-13-2016 01:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut table thickness illusion metal legs modern

Hi Everyone,

I’m new to this blog and also pretty new to woodworking! One project I want to make is a walnut table with steel legs but I’m trying to figure out the best way to create a top that looks thick without using 8/4+ lumber. I have attached a picture of how I imagine the final product and will discuss the two ways I am thinking of creating the look of thickness.

1. Lots of Bevels! This method would allow me to make the table look as thick as I want but I imagine there may be some issues getting all the anglesto line up. This is where I want your fedback! For this method I was thinking of gluing up boards slightly longer and wider than my desired table size then cutting 45 bevels on all sides and then mitering these offcuts to form the edge of the table. For the size corner pieces I would have the make cuts in 2 directions. This would result in a continuous grain look and I think would provide well hidden joins. I have attached some pictures to try and explain what I am thinking.

From Above

From Below

Exploded From above

Exploded from below

Corner detail

Drawing

2. Simply doubling up edges. There is already a link showing this process in good detail.
https://wunderwoods.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/how-to-make-a-thick-countertop-out-of-thin-wood/

I would like to do the first method because I can make the table as thick looking as I want but again am worried about the logistics…

What do you guys think? Maybe you have a better idea I did not think of, if so, let me know!


12 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#1 posted 10-13-2016 02:10 PM

Its a simple process.

Double up the edges by gluing a 2-3” strip on the bottom for the long grain.

For the end grain, cut pieces to match the end grain. Pay attention to direction of the growth rings.

You want it like this: ( ( not this: ( )

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

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

829 posts in 687 days


#2 posted 10-13-2016 03:13 PM

Yep, Fairly standard thing to do. The key to the best look is grain matching, typically using wood that is sawn off the top, flipped, then glued underneath (same general grain pattern and wood color).

End grain is more difficult, but heed rwe’s warning!

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Aj2

692 posts in 1263 days


#3 posted 10-13-2016 04:03 PM

All good advise above.
Ive used that technique once and only once.Way too much work after it was done I thought to myself just buy thicker wood.
I found cutting off the ends and flipping them down particularly difficult.

Aj

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13734 posts in 2083 days


#4 posted 10-13-2016 04:15 PM

Joining end grain on a 45% angle isn’t the best idea. I get that it is a good look, but from a structural integrity perspective, the resultant joint will not hold up to much abuse before giving way. Think of a strong pull from underneath, for example, if one tries to pull the table across a carpeted floor.

rwe has a better approach outlined above.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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bondogaposis

4033 posts in 1816 days


#5 posted 10-13-2016 04:30 PM

In my opinion it is not worth the extra effort to save a few dollars. For one, using thicker wood will look far better. Two, mitering the edges and ends is going to be a huge time suck and and the ends will be be very fragile and likely fail over time. It will look odd too because instead of endgrain on the ends you have face grain.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JayT

4783 posts in 1676 days


#6 posted 10-13-2016 04:47 PM

Make a 4/4 top with 8/4 breadboard ends. You could either have the outside two planks be 8/4 or glued up laminations with good grain matching. You’ll get the beefy look with mostly 4/4 lumber and it’ll be structurally sound.

Or just bite the bullet and use all 8/4 lumber.

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

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

274 posts in 308 days


#7 posted 10-13-2016 04:47 PM



All good advise above.
Ive used that technique once and only once.Way too much work after it was done I thought to myself just buy thicker wood.
I found cutting off the ends and flipping them down particularly difficult.

Aj

- Aj2

Small glue blocks underneath will resolve that issue. The glue blocks can be face grain to face grain. Also using “Corner Weld” glue, designed specifically for end grain to end grain glue-ups will help. But the glue blocks will resolve the strength of the joint issue.

And while a wood worker will recognize the various orientations of the end grain, I would venture to guess that no one else would.

-- 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 bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2532 days


#8 posted 10-13-2016 05:14 PM



In my opinion it is not worth the extra effort to save a few dollars. For one, using thicker wood will look far better. Two, mitering the edges and ends is going to be a huge time suck and and the ends will be be very fragile and likely fail over time. It will look odd too because instead of endgrain on the ends you have face grain.

- bondogaposis

This is my first thought too. Your time is worth something and by the time you do all the fuss and muss you spend more than just buy the right material and go!

+1 on what he said.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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Cooler

274 posts in 308 days


#9 posted 10-13-2016 06:38 PM


In my opinion it is not worth the extra effort to save a few dollars. For one, using thicker wood will look far better. Two, mitering the edges and ends is going to be a huge time suck and and the ends will be be very fragile and likely fail over time. It will look odd too because instead of endgrain on the ends you have face grain.

- bondogaposis

This is my first thought too. Your time is worth something and by the time you do all the fuss and muss you spend more than just buy the right material and go!

+1 on what he said.

- bonesbr549

There are other reasons. It keeps down the weight and makes it a more portable table.

-- 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 Colin1's profile

Colin1

2 posts in 56 days


#10 posted 10-14-2016 03:23 AM

Thank you for all the input!

My concerns with going with a solid top are weight and also, I have to admit, price. I’m planning on making this table about 6×3 feet and at 2 inches thick the top alone would weight around 120 pounds….

For the price, the best I’m finding right now is $9.17/board foot so I’d be looking at about $330. It not insanely expensive but I like the sound of $165 better.

I still might go for the solid top but if I decide to go for the thick edges only it seems the consensus here is to just glue another board underneath for thickness.

How do you guys think it would look to use 8/4 lumber for the double up and the rest out of 4/4 to then give the table a total thickness of 3 inches. I wonder how much more obvious it would be at the end grain compared to using the cutoff as the double layer.

The other good idea mentioned was thicker breadboard ends but I find it takes away from the more modern look of the boards all in one direction.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4858 posts in 2278 days


#11 posted 10-14-2016 04:36 AM

Compromise and buy 6/4 stock. It will finish out at 1-1/4” thick, look great, and be straightforward to build. I have used 6/4 before, and wouldn’t want anything thicker for a table.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Cooler

274 posts in 308 days


#12 posted 10-14-2016 12:07 PM

How about thick boards on both sides and thick breadboards on both ends?

-- 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.

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