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How to create a long "tabletop" for a built-in

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Forum topic by insboswiz posted 852 days ago 1176 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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insboswiz

3 posts in 853 days


852 days ago

I recently built a combination bookcase/base cabinet built-in for my wife. The design is pretty simple – a pair of base cabinets topped by a piece of plywood tabletop (with hardwood edging), itself topped with a pair of bookcases. It worked our fairly well and now my wife wants a larger one for our main living room.

The question I have is how to create the “table top” portion. When I built the one upstairs, the whole thing was less than 8 feet long, so I used a single piece of plywood for the tabletop. I’m not going to be able to pull that off downstairs however as the length of the built-in is going to be longer than 8 feet, so a single piece of plywood is not going to work.

I’ve seen built-ins that are fairly long and they don’t seem to have seams in the tabletop portion. I was wondering how one creates something like this that would run for maybe 18-20 feet, yet not show any seams where boards were joined. I believe the project will end up painted rather than stained.

Any help would be most appreciated.


8 replies so far

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rustynails

448 posts in 1131 days


#1 posted 852 days ago

Use a piece of nova-ply or MDF and veneer it. I know you can get the nova play in longer lengths but I am not sure on the MDF.

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cabmaker

1287 posts in 1411 days


#2 posted 852 days ago

If its going to be painted we probably dont even have a discussion here. If your staining you can use 10 ft ply or exercise judicial joinery. Plywood can be matched for grain to some success and , or place your joints away from the ctr. Joints can be placed at the upper cabinet transition which will hide some of it. Hard to know what to do without seeing what your building, but I know this, it is doable. JB

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1671 days


#3 posted 852 days ago

That’s gonna be a real challenge. Even if you can make a one piece top that long, would you be able to get it into the room and on the bases?

I built this for a customer a couple of years ago. Her condo was on the fourth floor and everything had to fit in an elevator.

The wall was a bit over 11’ long and I made the top in three sections – each banded on the front and both sides. The seams just butted together and I put them under the sides of the bookcase sections to minimize their appearance.

Maybe something like this would work for you.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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insboswiz

3 posts in 853 days


#4 posted 852 days ago

Thanks for the ideas so far. Below is a pic of something close to what I’m trying to achieve. The difference in my design is that the flat surface that separates the bottom cabinets from the top bookcases will protrude about 6” – 8” in the front, so any end to end joins can’t be completely hidden by the uprights for the bookcases.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1671 days


#5 posted 852 days ago

My joints weren’t invisible – just as unobtrusive as I could make them. Why so much overhang for your top?

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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insboswiz

3 posts in 853 days


#6 posted 852 days ago

Wife likes the look. She had a friend once who had such a construction. I can probably show her the picture above and talk her out of it.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1671 days


#7 posted 851 days ago

I like my tops to extend by a bit more than whatever is beneath them. I generally like 1-3/4” – 2” which “covers” doors/drawers plus pulls/handles.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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bruc101

555 posts in 2144 days


#8 posted 850 days ago

I built a 12 foot oak wall unit about 6 years ago and used 3/4 oak ply for the top. I took some time to find two pieces with some of the same grain figure in it. When I felt like I was close enough I used a solid surface wavy router bit on two ends with the least amount of wavy grain showing.
I glued the two pieces together and the wavy router bit made for a dead on fit of the two pieces of ply.
Once the top was ready I then mixed some dye the color the top would be and worked a small area around the seam. The lady had picked out a Minwx stain and when I stained the top it was very difficult to see the seam especially after 5 coats of satin clear lacquer was sprayed on it.
I use this method on any long ply tops I make and have excellent results.

-- Bruce http://plans.sawmillvalley.org http://www.sawmillgirls.com

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