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Options for attaching a bench top

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Forum topic by ajshobby posted 11-18-2016 02:56 AM 733 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ajshobby

87 posts in 2145 days


11-18-2016 02:56 AM

So I am finishing up a bench for extra seating at the table for the holidays. Couple of pictures of the progress.

Top view

Base with top.

Pic of the support.

There is no racking now but I want to make sure this bench will hold a couple of heavyweights that have had a few to many.

The top is only 1 1/4” thick and cupped so i am going to plow a dado to fit the top of the end supports. Would glue be enough or should I add a couple of domino’s (kinda hard to do that into an uneven dado). Any other ideas to reinforce? I do not want any hardware showing.

Thanks for any suggestions.

AJ in Minneapolis.


7 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

805 posts in 1279 days


#1 posted 11-18-2016 05:49 AM

AJ, you don’t want to glue the top to the base.

The top will expand/contract in width, but the top rail of the base will not change in length. Gluing (or Domino-ing, or any “hard” connection) will set up a classic cross-grain situation and will encourage the top to crack.

Traditional, time-proven methods of attachment include: table buttons, table clips, or screws in slotted holes (either through the top rail or through a cleat attached to the rail.)

How is the stretcher attached? That is the member that can provide racking strength—- if done right.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 576 days


#2 posted 11-18-2016 05:57 AM

I’m building two benches very similar with a live edge top like that and am using the figure 8 top fasteners on mine.

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4478 posts in 2188 days


#3 posted 11-18-2016 02:20 PM

If you glue it, It will likely split the top in time. You need to account for movement of the top in width. Your design doesn’t have that built in so either figure eight fasteners or z clips will be your best option now.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#4 posted 11-18-2016 03:01 PM

ajshobby,

I agree the bench top is too wide to risk gluing its entire width to the top of the end supports. But if you want to use glue, the first 2” of the bench top could be glued to the support. A screw through an elongated hole in the top supporting rail of the end support could accept a screw driven into the opposite edge of the bench top. The front 2” of the bench top would be firmly glued in place, leaving the bench top free to expand and contract at the back of the bench top by the screw moving in the elongated hole.

If you dislike the single screw in an elongated hole, then a sliding dovetail might also work. However, it could be a challenge to get a just right fit and ensure perfect parallel alignment of the dovetails on the opposite end supports. Additionally since the sliding dovetail would be routed in the bench top, the thickness of the bench top would be reduced by the depth of the dovetail sliding socket at the joints.

The pin could be a separately milled piece and then glued to the end of the rail on the end supports or milled into the top supporting rail of the end support. The mating socket would be routed in the bench top at the back or from front to back. The dovetail could run from one end to the other of the end support or applied to just 3” of so on the end/edge opposite of where the 2” of glue is applied. The joint would only be glued at its first 2”, leaving the bench top free to expand and contract in the sliding dovetail.

Applying polyurethane and then waxing the dovetail joint (except where glue is required) could make the glue-up go smoothly. It would prevent inadvertent gluing of the dovetail and allow the joint to slide together a little easier.

Off these two methods, I would personally go with the elongated hole. It is faster, easier, and does not weaken the bench top. But I think either would work.

I see no particular advantage to reinforcing the bench top/side support joint.

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ajshobby

87 posts in 2145 days


#5 posted 11-19-2016 03:15 AM

The plan I have is routing open ended dadoes so as to not fully encapsulate the supports. I was thinking is putting a donino in the center and glue to support then add a donino on either side on a wider setting to allow for movement and just secure the outer domino’s to the base only. I have some very large family that enjoy beer and want to make sure this thing not only looks good but is also rock solid.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

805 posts in 1279 days


#6 posted 11-19-2016 04:10 AM

To me, that plan has redundant systems (dado and domino) to keep the base aligned with the top, but does not keep the top firmly down on the base—- no resistance to cupping. (But you are allowing for expansion/shrinkage, which is good)

A screw in an elongated hole (or a figure-8) would serve you better, IMHO, than either the dado or the domino.

What’s the system for racking resistance? (How is the stretcher attached?)

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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ajshobby

87 posts in 2145 days


#7 posted 11-19-2016 04:38 AM

The stretcher is attached via 2 1” wide loose tenons on each side. There is no racking now but i am wanting to solidify any chance of racking when i attach the top to the base. I will take some pictures of my idea tomorrow after I route the dadoes and see what you guys think.

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