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Teak table top and wood grain direction question

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Forum topic by Cheapguy82 posted 06-11-2018 08:07 PM 3500 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


06-11-2018 08:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: teak table boat marine joinery finishing skill tip

Hi everybody! I took a job, building a small tabletop (16”x 28”) for a friend’s boat out of teak. I have a couple questions:
1. Strip length: I got boards that are about 8” wide. How wide of strips should I rip it to in order to make the top? I was thinking about either 3” or 4”. Any input?
2. Grain direction: Do I need to alternate grain direction when putting the pieces together? (When looking at the end grain, I mean that one piece would have directional lines going from bottom left to top right then from top right to bottom left on the piect next to it)
3. Gluing: I read somewhere that hitting the wood with mineral spirits prior to glueing is a good idea. Agree? Not needed?
4. Finishing: I was going to use teak oil on this project (for use on a boat). Good/bad idea?

Do any of you have any other helpful tips? They would all be very gratefully taken!

Thanks!
Stephen

-- Stephen - Georgia


26 replies so far

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#1 posted 06-11-2018 08:43 PM

for a boat, this is what I would do . . . 2” strips with black caulk in the grooves.
or – if the caulk is too intimidating, you could use wood inlay strips for contrasting color.
teak and holly (or maple) is a good marriage for nautical items such as this.
(keep it simple – but don’t make it look like a cutting board).

I personally like the Resorcinol type glue for marine work. TiteBond III will also work well. (and epoxy).
teak splines made from the scraps is a good idea‎

as for the assembly, wipe the glue edges with acetone to remove excess oil.
will this be an outside or inside table.
what will the base be – how will it be mounted to the base.
some tables on boats never see lake or salt water or any kind of weather.
some live their entire lives outside in the elements.
I personally like the Resorcinol type of glue. TiteBond III will also work well.
teak splines made from the scraps are a good idea‎
more information is required to give any appropriate responses.

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


#2 posted 06-11-2018 11:32 PM

This is the concept photo I was provided. The table will be exposed to sun and a moderate/small amount of freshwater but probably will be sheltered at least a bit with the boat’s roof since it will be in a sitting area.

The table will mount to an existing pedestal. My friend said he would install it himself once he has the finished product.

My plan was to make a table top like people normally do, then use a flat grind blade on my table saw to put in the grooves like those in the pic provided, evenly spaced. Add on the side pieces, finish with teak oil, and be done with it.

I am trying to see the errors in the plan before I trash something – since I’ve not played with teak before.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

-- Stephen - Georgia

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John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#3 posted 06-12-2018 01:07 AM

yeah – that company is in South Florida and deals primarily in teak boat items.

I strongly suggest you put 1×2 stiffeners underneath to ward off any potential warpage.
with the grooves cut in the top, there will always be unequal forces
at work between the expanding & contracting of the top and bottom.
the end and side pieces are called “fiddles” that help keep things from sliding off.
they may not be stout enough to hold back the forces of nature and warp – which is not good.
google: “Boat Table Fiddles” and you may find a more artistic style to go with,
rather than just the flat strip of wood that looks like a furring strip used for plaster work.

this is the style of table fiddles I like to do.

please post some project photos as you go along.
nice to see some boat stuff being made here !!!

it is hard to suggest a finish for the table as when it comes to boats and boat owners,
there is this “click” within the marina where everyone listens to each other about paints and finishes,
whether it be right or wrong, they rarely listen to “Landlubbers”.

side note: it would be a nice touch to use a plug cutter to make matching plugs to cover
any recessed screws you use in the fabrication.

.

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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Aj2

1579 posts in 1879 days


#4 posted 06-12-2018 04:45 AM

I can’t help with the construction but I do know that real teak is very stable and very expensive. Somewhere between 30 & 40 bf.
So don’t go cheap on the wood.:)
One more tip real teak should have a nutty smell and sometimes have a oily sheen .The more oily sheen it has is good for your project. Bad for your saw blades.:(

-- Aj

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John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#5 posted 06-12-2018 12:25 PM

Stephen – I forgot to mention that another product used in the fabrication of teak
projects is West System G/flex 650 two-part epoxy. It is specially formulated for difficult
woods such as teak and ipe. available at most marine stores and online.
hand sand the mating surfaces with 40 grit paper, wipe with acetone and glue up.
on a project that small, I would not worry about the grain orientation but rather focus on
the aesthetic look of similar colors and grain patterns. (cosmetics are very important to boaters).

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#6 posted 06-12-2018 03:00 PM

the height of the fiddle depends on the type of boating the captain does
on a regular basis. if he likes to go fast or frequently goes offshore into
rough water, the fiddle can be as high as 2”. if he is a fair weather boater
and likes to entertain in calmer waters, the fiddle is normally only 1” high.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


#7 posted 06-12-2018 05:02 PM

Thanks! That’s great info to have. The fiddles in the photo just look like they’re slapped on the sides of the table, not rabbeted to me – which is weird. Does it look that way to you? Is that normal?

-- Stephen - Georgia

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John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#8 posted 06-12-2018 05:37 PM

yes, in your client’s concept photo, the fiddles look like they’re just
slapped on the sides of the table, not rabbeted. which is weird.
Is that normal? no – it is not “normal” or correct.
that is why I drew the sketch of a properly made fiddle.
yes – the concept photo looks cheap and haphazardly done.

I think you have the skill, tools and forethought to make
a table the boat owner will be proud of !!
once you make a couple of fiddles, you will see it is an easy process
and really adds aesthetic value to the project. making plugs with a plug cutter
and covering the recessed screws also adds the same professional look of a true craftsman (which is YOU).
personally, I would not cut grooves in that table just because someone else did it.
an authentic shipboard teak deck has black caulk in the seams.
inboard galley and saloon tables have contrasting wood instead of caulk for the same appeal.
I would ask your friend how much leeway you have in the design and take it from there.

when you stated: “My plan was to make a table top like people normally do, then use a flat grind blade
on my table saw to put in the grooves like those in the pic provided, evenly spaced.
Add on the side pieces, finish with teak oil, and be done with it.” I just shuddered at the thought.
anyone that will take expensive and beautiful wood like teak and mahogany and just slap it together
for a project on a nice boat is just plain ludicrous. take your time and do it right.

and on the subject of the grooves, if you notice on the ends, any crumbs or liquids have no place
to drain out of. so the grooves will always be a catch-all for just about everything and only can
be removed with a water hose. (food for thought).

jus my Dos Centavos

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


#9 posted 06-12-2018 06:28 PM

When I said ’...just be done with it’ I was kidding. It’s just how I say things I suppose. I always try to produce quality and am always my worst critic.

I will talk with my friend about the grooves. Having them end the way they do and having nowhere for stuff to go once in them struck me as odd as well. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one…

About using screws and plugs for the fiddles – is that considered to be the best way to secure them and maintain good looks? I assume you’d use stanless steel, right?

For the stiffeners underneath, would you put one every 8-12” or farther apart? Also, with these, you drill a slightly oversized hole in the stiffener for the screw, right?

-- Stephen - Georgia

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John Smith

1237 posts in 243 days


#10 posted 06-12-2018 07:48 PM

underneath stiffeners = two on each of the pedestal base, equally spaced, 2” from the ends.
personally, I prefer stainless screws. . . . . I have dug out way too many brass ones that have wrung out.
a dab of wax in the screw socket prior to installing the bungs will help preserve thead.
yes, a hole slightly larger than the fastener is good, don’t over tighten, countersink enough to accept
a 1/8~1/4” bung plug, TiteBond glue is fine for holding them in place.
with the grain, across grain, diagonal on the grain is a personal choice. I have done it several ways
without them falling out. on a wooden boat hull, that is a different horse altogether. they go with the grain.
this is what I imagine for the stiffeners underneath the table. the ends chamfered to 45*,
terminating in the center of the outside boards. the sides 1/4” round over.
don’t forget to install the mounting plate for the pedestal – normally 3/4 – 1” thick of the same material.
the grain of the mounting block runs parallel with the stiffeners.
keep in mind that on a boat, there is always the chance of a 200+ pound person losing their balance
and landing on the table. so, the fasteners, stiffeners and mounting plate must be designed accordingly.

a side note: I built a table similar to this for the Commanding Officer of one of our FBM submarines
for his stateroom. he was a sailor in the true sense as he had his own personal 40 foot Morgan sailboat
and when he went on his submarine cruises, he wanted that “Touch of Home” with him.
he is the one that gave me the design specifications that I have mentioned above.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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enazle

65 posts in 89 days


#11 posted 06-14-2018 05:18 AM

So I worked in a Architectural Woodwork firm back before the embargo on Teak. We built huge jobs out of teak for Diamond Shamrock’s Corporate headquarters and Andrews Kurth law firm. They tested many different ways to glue teak together including using marine glue, washing it it down with lacquer thinner and with naphtha. What worked best and was the most economical was using very strong soapy water. Only two detergents were strong enough to cut through the teak oil and allow the glue to bond and they were Tide and AmWay. The two part purple 3M marine glue worked but was expensive and took 24 hrs to set. The marine glue also left a dark line as well.

So here is what we did, once you have the boards milled and ready to glue, mix a cup of Tide powdered detergent into a half full 5-gallon bucket of water. Stir it for 5 minutes, then with a scrub brush wash down the edges to be glue together. Let the soapy water set on the wood for 3 or so minutes until you see the color change. Then scrub the parts down and rinse with clean water. Let the parts dry. To glue parts together, we use Weldwood Plastic Resin glue and allowed it to set for several hours under pressure. I know it sounds simple but it works. Here is a picture of the Andrews Kurth job that is similar to the one we did in 83’.
http://www.harveybuilders.com/projects/interiors/?alttemplate=project&pid=4650#!prettyPhoto

Now as a side note, I suffer from poison ivy bad. One summer when we were building the interiors for Andrews Kurth, I had poison oak blisters on my fore arms when I happened to wash down some Teak wood bands for a credenza I was making. A few days later I noticed the blisters were drying up where my arms came into contact with the soapy tide water used to wash the teak down with. I put 2 and 2 together and realized the Tide had washed the poison oak oil off my arm. By this time the places higher up my arm were full bore blisters. I went outside where the soap was and washed every spot I could get to. Low and behold, the itching went away a short time later and in a few days all the blistered had dried up. That was in 1983 and I haven’t had blisters from poison Oak or Ivy ever since.

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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


#12 posted 06-14-2018 10:20 AM

Thanks all for the great info!

-- Stephen - Georgia

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enazle

65 posts in 89 days


#13 posted 06-14-2018 03:51 PM

I need to edit the above. I thought it was a 3M product but in fact I was told it was Weldwood resorcinol Marine Glue(Purple looking 2 part). It appears it has been discontinued. However, there are other sources out there but at $100 a quart I think I would find some old fashion Tide Powdered Detergent.

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Rich

3336 posts in 670 days


#14 posted 06-15-2018 05:44 AM

You’ve got a lot of advice already, but regarding the grain direction, take a tip from Tage Frid:

Another thing most books tell you is to alternate the wood to compensate for the cupping caused by shrinkage. This would be fine if you wanted to design a washboard. But if you want to use your wood, for example, for a tabletop, it will take a lot of screws to hold it down, plus every second board will usually have a lot of sapwood, especially today with the shortage and high cost of wood, where every piece must be used. But, if we don’t alternate the wood, it will work together and form an arch that will be very easy to hold down with a few screws. Also, we will have the center of the wood facing up, meaning less sapwood, better color, harder and usually fewer knots.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Cheapguy82

74 posts in 614 days


#15 posted 06-16-2018 11:29 PM

Hi everyone. I have been doing some work on this project and thought I’d talk abt it for those wanting to follow along.

My friend liked the look of having the grooves running down the top. After talking w him about how cleaning becomes an issue, he said he had not thought of that and I came up w a compromise. I used a cove bit on my router and put 4 coves running the length, but termination in the holes I’ll make for the drop in stainless cup holders – solving the issue nad giving the guy something like what he wanted to begin with.

I also engraved his last initial in the middle of the table as a personal touch.

I originally made the fiddles a little too tall and had to cut them down a bit. The top looked like a serving tray – which is not what I’m going for. The ones in the concept photo looked really tiny, so I think they’ll work fine.

I still need to cut the holes for the drop in cup holders, finish the edges, attach the fiddles and make them look good (plug holes), oil everything, and attach the stiffeners and mounting plate underneath…and everything else that I’ve forgotten about, no doubt.

Here are some pics from what I’ve gotten done so far…

-- Stephen - Georgia

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