table top grain orientation

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Forum topic by rhett posted 2214 days ago 1525 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rhett's profile


697 posts in 2300 days

2214 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry joining arts and crafts

I am at the table top portion of a recent dining room set commisssion. My client has given me the cherry for the table top, but it is unruly at best. I would not use it, but it has sentimental value to her, it was her deceased father’s. I have always made my tables with the grain going length wise and breadboard ends. The only way to tame this stack of wood is going to be to cut it down, flatten it and run it with the grain perpendicular to the length. Should I be worried about the 10 1/2” overhang on the ends of the table. It is a modified trestle design so there is no support on the ends. I am afraid it will cup or break off should someone sit on it. Suggestions please. The final dimensions are to be 34×75 with two leaves in the middle that are 45” combined. All boards will be 5” wide and I am hoping to get them flat by 13/16”.


10 replies so far

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 2375 days

#1 posted 2214 days ago

The unsupported joint between the 2 5” sections could present a problem, I’m no authority, but grain orientation combined with dowels, or biscuits, or dominoes, etc. could result in an ugly failure if/when overly stressed. I’m no master of fine furniture but your concerns about design raised an eyebrow. As for cupping, crowning, etc. I can’t help ya. Best of luck, judging by your projects, this will be all sorted out and conquered in a day or two.

-- Ciao, gth.

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 2296 days

#2 posted 2214 days ago

Seems like it should be strong enough for normal use on a table, however if they were to sit or stand on the unsupported section It may break although I doupt even that would break it. I don’t really know though hopefully somebody with more experiance will stop by and help you out.

Good Luck

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2932 days

#3 posted 2214 days ago

I was thinking maybe tongue, & grooved glued joints may add some strength.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2377 days

#4 posted 2214 days ago

Maybe a runner on the bottom of each side, dovetailed into bottom of the top. Make the runner from the same thickness as the top boards, so there would only be about half of the board below the lower surface. Then taper the ends into the outer boards. Does that make sense, or am I rambling?

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 2375 days

#5 posted 2214 days ago

I was thinking along the lines of tenontims solution also, but he said it better than me, or could all-thread be buried inside the outer boards and and the nut be hidden within a countersunk hole and plugged? Just another one of my dumb ideas.

-- Ciao, gth.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 2401 days

#6 posted 2214 days ago

i would put some cross braces across the length of the table. a breadboard end would be good too but it would be hard to do on a table with the grain orienting that way. i would say a few braces under is your best bet.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1279 posts in 2370 days

#7 posted 2214 days ago

Putting a breadboard along the sides, perpendicular to the top boards, along with stiffeners parallel to the breadboard about 4” to 4 1/2” in from the edges should give it the stability you are looking for. You could also use the stiffeners in the design as a skirt around the table.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Ryan Corrigan's profile

Ryan Corrigan

68 posts in 2716 days

#8 posted 2213 days ago

Rhett ,
I was going to suggest the same thin John did above. I think the breadboard sides would add a unique bit of character to the design but also a lot of strength. Let me know what you decide a how it work out.

-- Ryan Corrigan Sadieville, KY

View rhett's profile


697 posts in 2300 days

#9 posted 2213 days ago

Thanks for all the ideas. I feel rather silly in the fact I wasn’t thinking about the table having center extensions…ie I can run the grain lengthwise because I can make the length in two pieces. Too much time under the flourescent lights I guess. Anyhow, I had to take 1 1/8” thick cherry down to 3/4” just to make it flat. Not a very thick top, but the customer gets what the customer wants. If that isn’t a reason to store your wood correctly, I don’t know what is.


View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2377 days

#10 posted 2213 days ago

Well, Rhett, I guess we all failed that test. No one else caught it either. 3/4” is a nice thickness for a table unless you’re making a rather massive frame.

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