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Forum topic by Trev333 posted 03-27-2017 07:35 PM 414 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Trev333

4 posts in 263 days


03-27-2017 07:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi Everyone,

I would like to ask for help with regards to a project that I’m doing. So I’m creating a dinner table (gaming table) out of Sapele and Walnut. The tape top will be constructed of Walnut (leaves and top rails) while the base (legs, side rails) will be constructed of sapele.

One of my main issues that seems to effect this project is the top rail. In order to gain enough height to include drawers and a plywood center, I will have a rail that is vertical (sapele), and lying on top will be a rail horizontally (sapele). Can I glue walnut on this 6ft rail? This would be a 6ft face to face glue up. Is that even possible?

The top walnut piece would be 3/4”and would be glued onto a 1 5/8” piece of sapele. The width of each board is 5.25” each.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

T


7 replies so far

View LDO2802's profile

LDO2802

130 posts in 267 days


#1 posted 03-27-2017 08:11 PM

If I am picturing what you are saying correctly, I think the stress on the face of the board could become a problem over time. If the walnut is only façade and not an actual support then gluing would be fine. I recommend for any support structure to at least have some brad nails if you cant put cookies or dowels in. I avoid straight up gluing without a back up.

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Trev333

4 posts in 263 days


#2 posted 03-28-2017 12:55 PM

Thanks LDO282. Here is some more info for clarity. The top rail is so that it runs flush with the dinner table leaves (all walnut). Hope that helps clarify things.

T

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#3 posted 03-28-2017 02:24 PM

Trev333,

Generally, I do not see a problem gluing sapele to black walnut. The radial and tangential rates of shrinkage are very close.

I am confused by your project plan so my comments may be off base. I assume that the table base including the rails that make up the apron are all from sapele; that is no walnut. The top is all walnut and flat on both the upper face and the bottom face; no sapele. The idea of gluing the walnut to the sapele is the method for attaching the walnut top to the base.

If I have that right, then attaching the top to the base using mechanical fasteners and no glue may be the better approach. If the walnut top is solid walnut, the mechanical fasteners will allow for some expansion and contraction of the top. Even if the top is mainly walnut plywood, mechanical fasteners would allow the top to be removed from the base. There may be future circumstances when removing the top from the base would make moving the table from one room to another easier.

The sketch of the plan view of the top suggests solid walnut edge banding around the perimeter of the top. If the top is solid walnut, expansion and contraction could become a problem. The banding on the end grain of the walnut top would lock the top so that it cannot expand and contract. This could result in cupping or cracking of the leaf to which the end grain banding is glued. Also, with a solid wood top, the mitred corners will likely open up over time.

On the other hand, if the top is walnut plywood, the solid walnut edge banding would probably work ok.

If I have this wrong, some clarification is needed for me to comment further.

Even though you did not ask, I offer some design comments for your consideration. A typical dining table is 30” – 31” measured floor to the upper surface of the top. A typical dining chair features a seat whose seat’s upper face is 18” from the floor. I am a man of average size and when seated on a chair with the seat 18” from the floor, the top of my thigh is between 24” and 25” from the floor. Therefore from the top of my thigh to the lower surface of a typical dining table top with a ¾” thick top is ” 4-1/4” to 5-1/4”.

In your design it appears that the apron rails are greater than 4-1/4” to 5-1/4”. If this is the case and you are staying with typical chair and table height dimensions, there can be some knee bumping when sitting down and while seated at the table. I would think that these comfortable standard dimensions would also work well for a gaming table.

It is not clear from the sketch whether there is a bottom rail framing the drawer opening. A bottom rail in the drawer opening would make it easier to fit the drawer front to the table apron.

My last comment concerns walnut as the table top when the table is used as a gaming table. I recall a card game played at our walnut dining table some years ago. The score keeper, not knowing any better, was keeping score on a single sheet of paper using the table to back up the paper. The score of that game is now memorized in the table. The high pressure of the ball point pen was enough to dent the relatively soft walnut. Therefore, when game playing, keeping score on a pad of paper or covering the top with protective glass could save from having to refinish the table.

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Trev333

4 posts in 263 days


#4 posted 03-28-2017 03:28 PM

Thank you for taking the time to help. I attached some more drawings to help explain. I completely agree, I am worried that gluing face to face walnut on to Sapele/Walnut (both are about 5 in wide, only 4 in will be glued though) might cause a crack. The bottom wood is Sapele and acts as both a drawer support and supports the walnut plywood base (gaming area). Then the middle walnut/sapele (haven’t decided yet) beam that rests on the 4 legs is the core structure frame. Then the top walnut pieces acts a flush for the leaves. If I could I would get 3” walnut and that would solve my problem but its crazy expensive. I’ve tried to use Sapele to keep cost down. Plywood will be used to make the drawer frames so that wood movement isn’t an issue.

I would prefer to glue it down but if you think its an issue. I could put fasteners through the bottom to attach to the top walnut piece.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#5 posted 03-28-2017 11:00 PM

Trev333,

The additional diagrams helped, although even with my magnifier glass, I had some difficulty reading the some of the measurements. But the measurements are probably not all that important as it relates to your primary question. At any rate, I hope that I now understand the project enough so that my comments make some sense.

As far as I know, wood expansion and contraction is driven by moisture uptake and release from the wood. Since the rate of expansion of sapele and walnut are rather close, I doubt that gluing 4” of walnut glued to sapele would cause a problem. Any movement in one wood, although slightly different, should be close enough to avoid cracking of the walnut or sapele. This assumes that all surfaces exposed to the air receive the same number of coats of the same finish. Here is the reference I used to determine the rates of expansion/contraction.

http://www.wood-database.com/

But if you are still uncertain, or wish to proceed with caution, the walnut could be attached to the sapele with screws (no glue) in oversized shank holes drilled in the walnut. If carefully placed, the walnut banding frame around the table at the table top surface should conceal the screws.

But since you prefer to glue the walnut to the sapele, I suppose that a narrow band (about 1” wide) of glue could be used, where the glue band is centered on the lower sapele. Any differential expansion of the two woods could occur outward in both directions from the center. Alternatively, the two woods could also be glued at the inside edges (where the walnut and sapele are flush. Again if a narrow band of glue is used along the flush edges, the woods could freely expand to the inside of the table.

From a design perspective, I would think that if the 5” wide walnut were replaced with sapele, the apron, from the same wood, would have a little more continuity. But that is a matter of personal preference and availability of material.

Unless the walnut top is plywood, the top will likely expand and contract, even with several coats of finish. Therefore, allowing for movement of the walnut leafs in their width would be some insurance against a failure down the road. Allowing for wood movement in the gaming surface would be a simple matter of trimming the gaming top a little smaller so that the gaming top rests in the grooves in the apron but so the gaming top can expand.

The table top could likewise be trimmed, but then that could leave a small groove between the walnut upper perimeter frame and the table top leafs. I am not sure how the small groove could be eliminated and still allow the top to expand.

It is not clear to me how the walnut leafs making up the table top will be removed when converting the dining table to a gaming table. It appears that the gaming top would preclude lifting the table top leafs up from below.

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Trev333

4 posts in 263 days


#6 posted 03-29-2017 05:34 PM

Thank you so much for the comments JBrow. Really appreciate it. Sorry about the small pictures.

I will most likely glue down the 5” walnut top rail cover to the Sapele 5” piece (yellow in picture). Since it’s only 4”, it should be fine. If when doing a dry run it looks like it might be an issue, I will try out the

As for the leaves. Each one will be 1 ft wided (there will be 6 of them) and 3 ft long. They will be comprised of 2 7ft panels that are glued together and a tongue and groove to connect them. There will be some space in between the leaves to allow for wood movement. Seeing as the walnut is fairly stable…..I don’t think too much is needed.

As for removing the leaves, a small push mechanism will be placed on one end to push up one of the leaves to allow retrieving them.

Here is a company that makes some tables. I am following their design but with my own twist.

https://www.rathskellers.com/pages/the-councilor-game-room-dining-table-for-board-games/

I’ve taken different ideas from multiple companies and tried to implement them with my own preferences. I want to also include the drawers, leaves and rail system design.

I will let you know how it turns out. May take some months though.

T

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JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#7 posted 03-29-2017 10:20 PM

Trev333,

Yours is an unusual and complicated project so I have no doubt it will take some time to complete. I look forward to your completed project post. I would be very interested in the table top lift mechanism. It sounds like a slick solution to what could otherwise be an annoyance (getting the table top leafs out of the way).

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