Tabletop from reclaimed wood

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Forum topic by glatzenator posted 04-16-2012 02:44 PM 1662 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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04-16-2012 02:44 PM

I’m drawing up plans for a table and need some advice for building the top. I’d like to use reclaimed pallet wood. We have a lot of it at work and it’s all 1/2” heat-treated oak (no chemicals). I had the idea to joint and square the edges, then lay them down nice and tight over a sheet of cabinet ply before planing the top flat. My concern is attaching the boards to the plywood… how much do I need to account for wood movement? I don’t know whether to treat it like a veneer or what. Is this a bad idea altogether?

4 replies so far

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4331 days

#1 posted 04-16-2012 10:19 PM

Wood moves.

I would not build a table top of solid wood over ply. Plywood will be more stable then the solid wood, and you can count on the solid wood moving around 1%, or roughly about 1/8” for a 12” wide board. This could be more or less in your area, and depends on the humidity. 1/2 should not be treated as veneer .

This sounds like a great project, and good use of material. An alternative could be to laminate two of the 1/2” inch boards, edge join the 1” laminates and let your table top move with the changes.

-- Nicky

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 04-16-2012 11:00 PM

I think laminating two together is a good Idea too.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View chrisstef's profile


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#3 posted 04-16-2012 11:07 PM

I hope you dont mind me askign the next question but im in search for a little knowledge here myself …. Would you guys (Jim /Nicky) keep the grain in the same direction when laminating the w 1/2” boards together? What would happen if the were oppposing directions?

Good thread Glatz, thanks for the post.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4331 days

#4 posted 04-16-2012 11:36 PM

Most wood movement will be in the width of a solid board. You would ideally want to glue two boards together, so that the grain is in the same direction. With changes in moisture, both boards (the laminate) will expand and contract in a similar manner. If you were to glue boards together, where the grain is in opposing directions, the expanding and contraction of the wood will be in opposite directions, and that will lead to checking/cracking of the top and bottom surfaces.

Plywood gets its strength and stability by alternating layers of veneer and having the grain running perpendicular to each layer, and the glue between layers is a brute force method of keeping the material more stable.

I hope this answers your question.

-- Nicky

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