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Forum topic by 404 - Not Found posted 06-15-2011 01:07 AM 1405 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

06-15-2011 01:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut

I’ve done it again, “Yep, yeah, no, that won’t be a problem, leave it with me, it’ll be class”. I’m now having reservations about the double pedestal, D ended, extending table in American black walnut I’ve been commissioned to make.
I know its like eating an elephant, you can only do it a piece at a time – and I’m ok with everything on this project apart from the table top. At 42”x 96” extended, I am not confident that solid walnut will stay straight, there’s also a burr inlay to form a border which I’m concerned about not shrinking/expanding with a solid top of this size.
So I am proposing to veneer onto a sheet of 3/4” birch ply, top and bottom, with a solid edging.
The big question that I hope you can help me with is what thickness veneer will work? I am thinking 100 – 120mm strips, 2.5mm thick that I can do on my trusty HC260 planer. Reasoning behind this is that I’ll have a good finished thickness of 24mm, I won’t be able to sand thru it, and it gives a generous margin for error for putting in the inlay.
As a precaution I am going to prepare the veneer strips and leave them two weeks before gluing down.

Does the above sound right to any you or should I just admit defeat?

any advice would be much appreciated.

7 replies so far

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3337 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 01:17 AM

here is gary’s
latest table blog

this is the beginning
he opted to veneer too

this whole series is complete
and exceptionally easy to understand


-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 01:39 AM

thanks for that, very interesting

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2651 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 03:34 AM

Renners – I would recommend 3/4” MDF as the substrate for the table top not birch ply. The ply could have a tendency to warp like solid wood (even though it’s not supposed to).

There are several veneer manufacturers that can get you the exact size and pattern you are looking for in veneer. I use two different suppliers for my veneer needs. Remember to put a layer of veneer on the top and bottom of the substrate.

Most non-backed veneers are shipping at 1/42” . I’ve been getting mine paper backed which keeps the veneer more stable and free from cracking like non-backed. But that is just my preference. Also, with veneering this large of a top I would get familiar with plastic resin glue. It will give you the open time you need to work with this much area. The other thing to look into is a vacuum press. It’s really the only way to clamp something this big.

I’ve done several projects this large and larger over the years. With the resin glue and vacuum press it has always gone smoothly – even when dealing with fancy tops with several types and orientations of veneer.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2847 days

#4 posted 06-15-2011 04:27 AM

How will the solid edging work on the radiused ends?

I’m gonna make a case for a solid wood top.

If your walnut is properly dried and of reasonable widths I wouldn’t be concerned about it changing shape.

The grain runs crosswise, so you’ll be gluing up two end sections (they could be divided in two) and two leaves, right? Get each of those sections flat and true, and you’re on your way. No glue squeeze out to deal with, no edging, no nail biting sanding, just real nice real thick wood. Mix some sap in there for drama and you’ll have ‘em yelling for more.

Just my $.02



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#5 posted 06-15-2011 05:38 PM

Thanks for all your replies, the camp seems divided on solid v veneer, and I know that whichever way I go the candle will be burning at both ends.

I have just made a display cabinet for the same guy out of walnut, the reason I’m dubious about making a solid table top from walnut is that the stuff we get over here seems to be DREADFUL. I made raised and fielded panels for the bottom doors on the display cabinet and 2 out five wound slightly, even though they were perfect coming out of the cramps. I had to laminate strips together to make the door stiles to keep them straight as well, so I have no confidence that a solid table top will behave itself.

As for routing the shape and edging this project, I think I’ll be alright using a trammel on the router to do all the round bits.

There is also a curved apron to make, any ideas on how much compensation to allow for spring back? I’m proposing to make the apron 21 mm thick (7×3mm) x 70 mm high

View Richard's profile


297 posts in 2534 days

#6 posted 06-15-2011 10:50 PM

Don’t quit. I would love to see this piece finished. Heck, I would love to simply start the project.
Watching and waiting.

-- 'I sand, therefore, I am'. Richard. PNW.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#7 posted 09-11-2011 01:38 PM

I can’t believe its been 87 days since I first posted this, I put it on the back burner for a while but am now nearing completion of this project. DLCW – you were right, I had a sheet of 3/4” birch ply and was all set to use this as the base – it was as flat as a pancake when it came from the timber merchants, but within 2 weeks developed a wind. I opted instead for a sheet of mahogany veneered mdf which is perfect. I have been taking photos at every step and will do a blog once it’s finished. The veneers worked like a charm, If I get another commission for a table, I wouldn’t hesitate to make it the same way.

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