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Forum topic by duckyone posted 12-19-2016 01:58 PM 612 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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duckyone

7 posts in 1065 days


12-19-2016 01:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dining table joinery

Hello! I thought that I had posted previously, but I guess not… so 1st post! I’ve been a long time lurker of the forum though as I’ve gotten lots of tips and information for several of of my wood projects. Anyways, onto the topic:

I built a chevron patterned wood wall for my wedding earlier this year using some reclaimed white washed cedar fencing. It was a quick project that didn’t require much technique since I just wanted a pattern and didn’t make sure that everything was perfect (hence gaps between boards, not perfectly square, etc.) – see the attached image. It did turn out amazing and was one of the focal points of the day.

My plan after the wedding was to incorporate the two panels into furniture for our house. One such project idea was to make a dining table. I found a DIY tutorial from the DIYnetwork that has served as a blueprint for my plan, but I’m going to have to alter a couple things. First is that I will be framing the plywood with 4×4 material since my panels aren’t as wide as the one they build. I also like the idea of the broader frame. This leads me to my first question: I am thinking that I will use a half-lap technique to join the corners of the 4×4 “frame,” since a mitered joint probably is not the strongest – Is this the best joint or should I do something else like a Mortise & Tenon? Will a plain half-lap joint be sufficient, or should I do an angled one like in the bottom left of this picture:

I know that framing a table top is usually impossible, since seasonal changes will cause the wood to change and could warp the table top or cause joint failure (thus why I’m thinking a mitered joint is not good enough, plus I’d be screwing the joint into the end grain of one piece, no good). It is my understanding that by doing the plywood substrate, I will be limiting the chance for failure to occur, but I am worried about using 4x material instead of the 2x that the tutorial uses. I was also thinking that I could purchase some angle brackets to help keep the joints tight. Any input here is appreciated.

My second question has to do with the apron and frame. In the tutorial, they just bolt it right to the table top. I thought that this is usually a no-no, for similar reasons to why you usually don’t frame a top. Will this work in this case though, or should I go ahead and use traditional z-clips? I will be modifying the apron from a round table I bought off of craigslist because the legs were cheaper to obtain this way then buying pre-fabricated ones (I don’t have a lathe). I was just basically just going to replace all the necessary boards with longer versions to fit my table top. Pictures (sorry they are sideways, not sure how to change that):

I can either attach the apron in a similar fashion as it was to original round table top, or I can send the running boards through my table saw to create a groove for z-clips if that is what you all say I should do.

My wife is worried that the table top will be too heavy (it will be heavy) for the frame and apron set up I am going to be utilizing. Is she right? Should I consider beefing it up some?

Thank you for taking the time to ready my post, and I look forward to the feedback on the project – Cheers!


10 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2714 posts in 1317 days


#1 posted 12-19-2016 04:42 PM

No it won’t be too heavy for a frame like that!!

I would be concerned about wood movement.

But you can give ‘er a rip & the top won’t work you can always make another one.

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

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Bill White

4805 posts in 3797 days


#2 posted 12-19-2016 05:46 PM

“Z” clips for sure. I use ‘em all the time, and have never had a prob.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#3 posted 12-19-2016 05:52 PM

So are the chevron panels made by attaching the the boards to sheets of plywood? How are they attached (glue, screws, nails, etc.)? Plywood is pretty stable so I don’t think you need to worry much about expansion if that is your substrate. Wood expands and contracts mostly across the grain and less along its length so as long as the wood for the frame around the top you start with is reasonably dry and is in a relatively controlled environment (not outside for example), it should not move enough to damage the joints on corners of the frame. While I like the look of the double dovetail half lap joint on the corner from the diagram you posted, I would probably only do that for the visual affect not for any extra strength. In fact a simple half lap or a open tenon would be easier to cut and work just as well.

Assuming the top substrate is plywood, I think that you can attach it to the base using screws or bolts but to provide for a little movement, just make sure that the holes in the base are oversize. You can either use metal washers or wood blocks with tighter pilot holes to prevent the screws or bolts from pulling through the oversize hole.

With the gaps and other imperfections you mentioned in the chevrons, it sounds like the chevron top will have a rustic look. You might consider using a pour on epoxy finish. This will fill the gaps and create a smooth, level surface (as long as you make sure the top is level when you pour the epoxy). You may want to make sure that frame you are planning to make around the panel is a little proud of the surface of panel to act as a lip to contain the epoxy. I would probably cut a rabbet for the panel the nest in and by making it slightly wider than the maximum thickness of your panel that will give you the lip needed. You could also attach a temporary lip around the panel prior to attaching the outside frame.

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

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duckyone

7 posts in 1065 days


#4 posted 12-19-2016 08:53 PM

- Lazyman

The chevron paneling was attached to a plywood backing using glue and nails. I had originally planned on filling in the gaps using epoxy like you suggested, but my wife really wants to keep the rustic texture of the wood intact, so instead I will be applying dyed wood putty into the crevices best I can and then sealing the whole thing with a couple coats of matte finish poly.

I do like the idea of creating a little ledge in the 4×4 frame for the substrate to sit in. That won’t be hard to do – just a couple runs through the table saw. I think I will go with a traditional half lap; I like the look vs a M&T.

Should I do anything other than glue and clamp the lap joint? Like I said I can add a bracket at the corner, or even add some wood screws underneath to pull it tight. As for attaching the 4×4s to the chevron panel, since I have to go through 3.5” of material, I plan on using 5” lag bolts (1/4” with 3/16” pilot holes) about a foot apart to attach it to the substrate along with glue.

I’ll do oversized on the holes with washers for the hardware in the base to allow for a little movement. Thanks!

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Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#5 posted 12-19-2016 11:02 PM

Make sure you test how the wood putty will look before you start filling, including with the poly finish. You may want to experiment with different colors of the filler to see which gets the look you are looking for. I have only used a filler for filling small holes. My understanding is that some of them will shrink if you fill a large cavity so make sure that it will work as you want it. One reason I suggested the epoxy is that it was hard to tell from picture how even the different pieces are that make up the chevron. If they don’t create an even surface, it may be difficult to set a glass on it for example without it tipping over so it may be necessary to use a belt sander after you put in the filler to get a nice smooth surface, though that might affect the rustic look. With the epoxy, you can still see the rustic look but still have an even surface. You might lay the panel down and just see how annoying that might be.

If you have a good fit on your lap joints you should not need any hardware unless you want it for aesthetic reasons. Wood glue and clamps should yield a strong joint. If you want a little extra mechanical strength, you could also drill holes and put dowels vertically through the joint to help prevent them from pulling apart. If you use a contrasting wood, this could even look pretty nice.

In thinking a little more about how to attach the frame to the panel, it occurred to me that with the thickness of the frame, that really sort of takes the place of the apron both visually and structurally. Maybe I don’t understand your current plan exactly but I don’t think that you need or want a true apron if you use the 4×4 frame around the panel. One idea is to attach the legs salvaged from the CL table to the inside of the frame. The top of the leg would be even with the rabbet or ledge you create to accept the panel. You will want to add diagonal corner braces like you see on the underside of your CL table to make sure the legs are rigid. To attach the panel to the frame/base, instead of driving long lag screws through the 4×4, you can simply use the same method they used on the underside of the round CL table and attach strips of wood along the inside of the frame that are level with the ledge and drive short screws into the underside of the panel.

You didn’t mention how thick the plywood of the panels is or the span and length you are planning for the table. You need to consider whether the panel might sag and if so, you may need to put a brace across the underside to give it a little support, similar to the way they did on your CL table.

Sorry to ramble but once I start thinking about something I cannot stop myself.

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

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duckyone

7 posts in 1065 days


#6 posted 12-20-2016 06:48 AM


One reason I suggested the epoxy is that it was hard to tell from picture how even the different pieces are that make up the chevron. If they don t create an even surface, it may be difficult to set a glass on it for example without it tipping over so it may be necessary to use a belt sander after you put in the filler to get a nice smooth surface, though that might affect the rustic look. With the epoxy, you can still see the rustic look but still have an even surface.

- Lazyman

This was why I originally wanted to do epoxy, haha. The surface is not entirely uniform, since some of the cedar boards had some cup and twist to them. I showed what you said to my wife (along with a “seeee”), so we will be laying one of the panels down on the kitchen island to test it out with some place settings.


If you want a little extra mechanical strength, you could also drill holes and put dowels vertically through the joint to help prevent them from pulling apart. If you use a contrasting wood, this could even look pretty nice.

- Lazyman

I like that idea.


In thinking a little more about how to attach the frame to the panel, it occurred to me that with the thickness of the frame, that really sort of takes the place of the apron both visually and structurally. Maybe I don t understand your current plan exactly but I don t think that you need or want a true apron if you use the 4×4 frame around the panel. One idea is to attach the legs salvaged from the CL table to the inside of the frame. The top of the leg would be even with the rabbet or ledge you create to accept the panel.

- Lazyman

This makes sense. In the original DIY they just used the short edge of the 2×4s to frame and hide their plywood substrate, and then created the base to support the top. Since I’m already altering the plan to use bigger stock to make the frame, why not utilize the material to my advantage? The original plywood backing I did was 15/32 I believe, and I bought a 3/8 and 23/32 plywood sheet to get close to the 1.5in substrate the DIY used (two 3/4 sheets). The cedar making up the chevron pattern is 3/4. This will make the panel + substrate around 2.3in thick, which I think is a little too thick to create a rabbet for in the 4×4s. Since the rabbet ledges will help support the substrate, I’m thinking I can just leave out the 3/8 plywood to leave the substrate just under 2in (62/32). This should allow me to have about an inch and a half of material to create the ledge. If the panel feels like it could sag, I can brace like you said (and I might even if it’s sturdy just for peace of mind).

What do you think the width of the rabbet should be for the chevron panel? It is about 70” x 35” right now, but I will have to trim it some to square it up. After adding the 4×4 frame around the chevron pattern, when finished the table dimensions are either going to be around 72” x 36” (6ft x 3ft) if I decide to trim off one of the patterns entirely, or I can make it a bit wider by keeping all 5 and having it around 72” x 42”.


Sorry to ramble but once I start thinking about something I cannot stop myself.

- Lazyman

Nah, man… I appreciate the input and the opportunity to bounce some ideas around. I am gathering materials this week, and plan on starting the build next week. I have a deadline in the middle of January as we are hosting a 90th Bday party for Grandma.

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Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#7 posted 12-20-2016 04:38 PM


What do you think the width of the rabbet should be for the chevron panel? It is about 70” x 35” right now, but I will have to trim it some to square it up. After adding the 4×4 frame around the chevron pattern, when finished the table dimensions are either going to be around 72” x 36” (6ft x 3ft) if I decide to trim off one of the patterns entirely, or I can make it a bit wider by keeping all 5 and having it around 72” x 42”.

- duckyone

With those dimensions, I think that a 1/2” ledge should be good enough. If you use the wood strips on the underside to attach the top to the frame too, that will provide a little additional support.

For piece of mind, try suspending the panel between two 2×4 laying on the ground 36-42” appart and putting some weight on it to see if it flexes. If you get any flex at all, I would add the cross brace support.

Also, don’t forget that the rabbets for the ledge need to be stopped cuts so you will probably have to stop short and clean up the corners by hand with a chisel. If you have never done that, practice on a piece of scrap first so that you can see where the curved saw blade ends. I’ve screwed this up more than once by getting in a hurry.

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

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duckyone

7 posts in 1065 days


#8 posted 12-20-2016 06:22 PM


Also, don t forget that the rabbets for the ledge need to be stopped cuts so you will probably have to stop short and clean up the corners by hand with a chisel. If you have never done that, practice on a piece of scrap first so that you can see where the curved saw blade ends. I ve screwed this up more than once by getting in a hurry.

- Lazyman

Good thing you said something! I definitely didn’t think of that.

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Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#9 posted 12-20-2016 07:50 PM

It would probably be easier with a router, if you have one, because of the stopped cut. You will still have to square up the corners.

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

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duckyone

7 posts in 1065 days


#10 posted 12-20-2016 10:33 PM

I should only have to do the stop cut on two of the frame pieces, since the half lap joint surface will be deeper. I’ll make sure to remember that the other two will need a stop cut – I’ll probably leave it for the shorter sides since they will be easier to work with. Plus it will have the added benefit of almost making it look like a breadboard end when viewed from above, haha.

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