Crappy joints on purpose - how to?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 02-25-2013 02:46 PM 1887 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2271 days

02-25-2013 02:46 PM

My wife wants a farmhouse style table for our dining room. I plan on making the table and benches out of walnut. The only thing I can’t really figure out is how to keep the laminated top looking like separate boards.

Is this just stickered underneath like a picnic table with a tiny gap (dollar bill) between the boards? I was thinking of maybe cutting a very slight chamfer in all of the edges pre-glue up but I ‘m not sure that would look right


22 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2538 days

#1 posted 02-25-2013 02:50 PM

Years and years ago I went through almost the exact same thing – build me a dining room table with the planks slightly seperated, maybe a little taper on every edge.
I built it, and yes, I used cross planks underneath and doweled the top planks to the cross planks, barn door style.

And after about a year or two?

All I heard was:
“Get rid of this dumb thing, I am sick and tired of cleaning spilled food out of these cracks!”

Looks great if you can keep it clean…lesson learned.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2271 days

#2 posted 02-25-2013 02:55 PM

Good tip (and ammo). I like the overall style – chunky and square with huge breadboard ends, I do not like the plank look. Every bone in my body wants to make seamless joints. I’ll raise that issue and see if it gets me anywhere


View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2591 days

#3 posted 02-25-2013 02:55 PM

you can use a v-grooved t&g. Use a very slight v which gives the appearance of separation and helps eliminate the issue Paul speaks of.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2271 days

#4 posted 02-25-2013 02:58 PM

I thought about that too Don, but it may look too “on purpose”. I’ll try it out on some scraps and see what it looks like.


View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 02-25-2013 03:01 PM

That example in the picture looks like the boards on top
are nailed to a substrate.

If you glue it up and use breadboard ends you have to
account for wood movement.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2591 days

#6 posted 02-25-2013 03:07 PM

your other option is a ship lap, but then you have the original “food in the crack” issue”.

My table has a crack like a separate board, and my wife doesn’t complain, but the crack is more like 1/16”

Click for details

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 02-25-2013 03:10 PM

Have you considered gluing a 1/8” or 1/4” strips of a different wood between the planks. You could have the look with out the cracks.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2510 days

#8 posted 02-25-2013 03:20 PM

Joe, 30 years ago a friend and I worked as carpenters at a large apartment complex in Atlanta. The super wanted some tables for outside use that looked “Rustic”, “Elegant” “Not Picnic tablish”, and easily cleaned.

We got pine 2×12’s, planed them (by hand with crappy planes), and cut bread board ends using 2×6’s with M&T joints.
The boards were nailed to cross boards for support using cut nails to give it a rustic look. the spaces between the top boards were spaced with a nail as a spacer then routed with a 1/4” bit 1/2” deep. The spacers removed and the boards shoved together.

finish was some combination of extra cans of stain that turned nearly black, top coats were Spar Urethane Varnish.
Those tables sat on public patios for about 5 years and still looked good. they eventually got used for other things after remodeling but were in good shape

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29383 posts in 2361 days

#9 posted 02-25-2013 03:44 PM

I am still learning how to do joints. So if you want crappy joints I will come do them for you :-)

I do hate leaving the gap.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View RRBOU's profile


176 posts in 2315 days

#10 posted 02-25-2013 04:17 PM

When I was in High school I made a table just like that and what I did was chamfer the edges with a chamfer bit then use a sharpie to black the bottom to resemble a 1/16 gap. Then after gluing them up I filled the chamfer in with clear epoxy and then finished. The result was the visual effect of the rustic planks with a continuous smooth surface with no gaps to collect debris.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17423 posts in 3029 days

#11 posted 02-25-2013 04:53 PM

Hand plane the v groove bevel for that “not machined” look and ship lap em like Don says. Depending on your finishing schedule the freshly planed bevels will take a little different than a sanded top.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2836 days

#12 posted 02-25-2013 05:18 PM

Just plumb an air compresser line by the dining table to blow out the salt and crumbs.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2992 days

#13 posted 02-25-2013 07:37 PM

Notice how that breadboard end is pegged, so that when the timbers shrink, the gap opens up. I have made a couple of tables like this, tongue and groove, the t&g planks are not glued together, the breadboard end is glued at the outside edges and centre. Prefinish the tongues before putting it all together, so you don’t end up with an unfinished line between planks when they shrink.

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2856 days

#14 posted 02-25-2013 07:40 PM

My two pence: make it out of pallet wood and stain it ;)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2271 days

#15 posted 02-25-2013 07:45 PM

I don’t allow pallet wood in the house. I know a lot of people use it but that stuff is nasty.

Renners, that sounds perfect and the way to go. So if I understand you correctly, just T&G the all the boards, leave them loose (no glue/stickers) and breadboard the ends. Should I peg each board, or every other board since the outermost and the center will have some glue?


showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics