Table top advice

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Forum topic by BenBen posted 04-20-2011 04:35 AM 1718 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2686 days

04-20-2011 04:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I could use some advice to confirm that my approach will stand he test of time. Not 100% certain on which forum this belongs in…

This is for an outdoor harvest patio table.  The top will be 6 pcs of quarter sawn white oak with final dimensions of around  130×50x2. The wood itself should last decades, and I’d like the table top to do the same. The current plan is to join the table top boards with gorilla glue (it should hold up to the freeze/thaw, wet/dry and hot/cold of eastern Ontario). The manufacturer and various web postings suggest this is a good product but nevertheless, I’ve been testing a sample piece by repetitively soaking, freezing and drying… So far so good but this has only been a few cycles. 

To help keep things well aligned, I also plan to use a mix of wood and metal biscuits. I considered a simple tongue and groove joint at first but I don’t see a lot of value in it versus the ease of the biscuits. 

Below the table top will be 4 cross pieces (roughly 4×45x2). These will be screwed in place with sliding washers to allow for any expansion across the width of the table (I’ve read that 5% is a high upper end of the expansion possible across quarter sawn wood like this). The table will have an hourglass-type leg near either end.

Please advise if you think the approach described above is unlikely to last a couple of decades or if you’d advise a different approach…

I’m awaiting the materials (by mid-may) and will post photos once the project is done.

Many thanks

3 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3067 days

#1 posted 04-20-2011 07:43 AM

I don’t know much about gorilla glue so I am unsure about its durability. That being said Biscuits IMO are only for alignment and don’t give much added strength so T&G would be much stronger by giving you more gluing surface.

I always make my outdoor furniture with thicker wood. Maybe 2.54cm or a bit thicker IMO would be a better thickness. For tops I don’t make it solid. I make individual slats and separate them by approx. 5mm to allow water to go through and chamfer the edges. This gives you more space for wood movement. This is just the way I make them.

View BenBen's profile


8 posts in 2686 days

#2 posted 04-20-2011 06:30 PM

Sorry, I should have been clearer; the dimensions mentioned are inches—this is a large table.

Regarding glue, it’s between the west system and gorilla glue. I’ve  used epoxy  in the past and don’t recall caring for the experience much. Gorilla glue is much more pleasant to work with. I’m definitely interested in hearing about others’ experiences using gorilla glue outdoors.

The design wouldn’t work aesthetically without a joined top. I’ll reconsider the tongue and groove. Unfortunately, until the wood is out of the kiln and dressed, I won’t have a sense of whether there’s enough material or not without dropping the table width below 50”. I may have to cut two grooves and use a separate tongue to join them.  It seems like this will still create a much larger gluing surface that adds to the strength. 

I’ll make a test piece this weekend. Has anyone done this on such long boards? Any tips?I think I’ll cut the grooves with a router as it will be easier to handle than using the table saw (I lack a good infeed/outfeed solution for 12’ pcs). 


View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3161 days

#3 posted 04-20-2011 07:39 PM

I chose Gorilla glue for a potting bench out of pressure treated pine about 10 years ago. It was a gift and unfortunately I haven’t checked back on how the joints held up. But this is on the Texas Gulf Coast, so while stuff rots fast we don’t have much of freeze-thaw cycle. I would think that glue is an excellent choice, but I don’t have the personal experience you are looking for.

If I were doing your top I would expect the glue to be plenty strong even if you just use edge gluing. I would skip the biscuits. I find them awkward to glue with Tite Bond, and even more so, I expect, with Gorilla glue, and they don’t help me with alignment as much as I would like. I would probably go with grooves and splines to align the boards during glue up. One thing I like about Gorilla glue is it has a very long set-up time.

I’m currently building a door and find the 80” length of the stiles a PITA. At nearly 11’ the stock for your top will be a lot worse. The longer the piece, the more effort it takes and dimension you loose trying to make it straight and flat. Your yield can get prettly low unless the wood comes out of the kiln pretty straight, but being quarter sawn oak maybe that is what you’ll get.

Additionally, jointing long boards is not so much fun, IMHO. My 6” jointer bed is only 48” tip-to-tip and I hate running 80” stock on it. Pushing 80” stock through the TS is way easier by comparison.

-- Greg D.

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