using butterfly keys to bring two slabs together

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Forum topic by teesiderookie posted 02-17-2013 04:20 PM 1921 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1975 days

02-17-2013 04:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining milling

Am planning on replacing a dining table top using two 3 inch pine slabs ( 60 inches by 33 inches). Problem is they’re both live edge and I don’t have specialist clamps to deal with this. I only need them to butt up to each other reasonably well as the frame will hold each one independently. Can butterfly keys be used to pull them in? Most places I’ve searched talk only of using the keys after edge glueing boards as an added feature. I was of the impression that they could act as the primary force to initiate glue up…..can it be done?

cheers guys

dazed and confused in “sunny” england.

4 replies so far

View PittsburghTim's profile


230 posts in 2318 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 04:47 PM

I’m not sure that the dovetail keys could be used for that purpose. Perhaps you could use simple pipe clamps to draw the pieces tight and then insert the keys, but then you are creating stress in the wood top, much like compressing a spring. It would seem that you should try to create straight edges as gaps in the top would be unsightly and would gather dust and crumbs.

-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

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8189 posts in 2573 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 05:04 PM

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2632 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 05:19 PM

You can glue blocks to the surface of the wood on either side and use regular f clamps to tighten it up. I have never needed to do this but I believe the process is to put a piece of paper between the top and blocks. That way they should be able to be knocked off after you are done clamping. There should be some information out there on this.

View teesiderookie's profile


4 posts in 1975 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 09:07 PM

Thanks for your suggestions guys. I’ll be straight edging the two sides that make contact. Was hoping to use butterfly keys instead of clamps because I don’t really need the glue up for strength, more to make it look more like one single piece when sitting in the table frame. Have got more of an idea of what I want to do though thanks to your suggestions.

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