To laminate or to not laminate...

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Forum topic by MaroonGoon posted 05-15-2013 05:58 PM 851 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MaroonGoon's profile


280 posts in 1045 days

05-15-2013 05:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut

Hey guys,
I’ve been planning on building an end table out of walnut and I finally found a source of walnut within 60 miles of me. However, they only have 4/4 lumber which would require me to laminate two boards together to make the legs the thickness that I want.

I have researched a few other threads and understand that I wouldn’t lose any structural integrity in the legs and that I would have to make sure to pay attention to the grain direction, but what are some other setbacks in doing this? Would the glue line be easily concealed with proper techniques or will it always be noticeable? Personally I would rather not see a line in the middle of the legs, but you guys tell me what you think.


-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

10 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2047 posts in 1457 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 06:16 PM

I’ve laminated legs from 4/4 with no problems. Glue lines can be concealed by softening or chamfering the corners. Pay attention to grain direction, like you said. With walnut, also pay attention to sapwood, if there’s any in your final stock. I saw on an episode of Woodsmith Shop where they did this with oak, then cut a thin 1/8” or so veneer, and glued it to the edge-grain sides of the leg to hide the lamination. The did a slight roundover on the corner to hide the glue line of the veneer and it looked good.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View madts's profile


1566 posts in 1427 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 06:57 PM

I love to do glue ups. You can straighten lumber. Makes it stronger and can add appeal with your choice of woods.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4185 posts in 1900 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 07:54 PM

I do it all the time. Instead of laminating 3 pieces together (which shows a glueline down the sides of the leg), I laminate 5 pieces together for a seamless look. It is easier than it sounds…

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

View MaroonGoon's profile


280 posts in 1045 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 11:01 PM

Thanks, guys. I’ll keep all that in mind.

By the way, that’s some nice handiwork there pinto. I read your blog and you do some great work with laminations. I will have to laminate several boards together also to make a top and I think I will use the technique that I noticed you used by laminating different thicknesses together to make a pattern.

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1270 posts in 1036 days

#5 posted 05-16-2013 12:02 AM

go to the local big box and look at the stair post. I have never seen one that wasn’t laminated, unless it was a box post.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7123 posts in 1069 days

#6 posted 05-16-2013 12:30 AM

Also laminate all the time. I either take the stickley approach like Pinto described, with a veneer on each side. Or I’ve mitered the four corners to get a nice grain on four sides. That’s what I did on my Bannister.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Don W's profile

Don W

16821 posts in 1655 days

#7 posted 05-16-2013 12:41 AM

take some time to match up the grain on the pieces and you’d be surprises how well you can hide the glue line.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Mark's profile


697 posts in 1062 days

#8 posted 05-16-2013 01:07 AM

Instead of hiding the seam try accenting it. I laminated 4/4 Maple with a 1/4” strip of Walnut in the center for the book case legs.

-- Mark

View ShaneA's profile


5833 posts in 1685 days

#9 posted 05-16-2013 01:10 AM

If you are not happy with your glue lines and grain/color match you can then veneer it as Ed suggested. I have done this before and it worked out well. If the top, or end grain will be visible, you will also make sure to have a good grain direction match there too.

View jap's profile


1243 posts in 1141 days

#10 posted 05-16-2013 01:51 AM

You can use this technique to match the grain on all four sides. It probably would work fine with plain 45 angles, without the special bit.

-- Joel

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