Clamping Coffee Table Trim

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Forum topic by GerardW posted 05-31-2013 08:42 AM 1028 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 2026 days

05-31-2013 08:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig clamp question edge glue biscuits

Hello! This is my first post on lumberjocks and I’m excited to be a new member. I’m an amateur woodworker with a garage shop in Bowie MD, so some of my parlance may not be quite as sophisticated or precise, and I hope you can forgive that!

I am building a hardwood coffee table for a friend, and have a clamping question. The table top is edge glued walnut, 60” long by 20” wide. I’m going to be doing a hard maple trim 1” thick around the outside of the table top with mitered corners, and I’m finding myself stuck on how best to glue it.

I have a biscuit joiner, which I think would help with alignment, but I’m trying to figure out how to clamp it (especially along the 60” dimension) to apply even pressure that doesn’t cant the trim (angling it inwards or outwards), and also allow the mitered corners to connect solidly. I have pipe clamps that I can use a coupler to bring up to the 60” I need, but the rest of my clamps are short.

If I screw a straight piece of hardwood onto my workbench, then use a spreader against the opposite side of the piece, would I get enough pressure? Trying to think creative because I need to keep my costs down, and can’t really afford to buy spring miter clamps or other super long bar clamps and such.

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

6 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30064 posts in 2542 days

#1 posted 05-31-2013 11:02 AM

Lots and lots of clamps. If the top isn’t fastened to the base yet, then you should clamp from both sides to help stop the cant.

Welcome to LumberJocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1876 posts in 2173 days

#2 posted 05-31-2013 11:47 AM

If you have a good amount of spring clamps you can stretch rubber bands from the top to the bottom and spring clamp them in tight. I hope i explained that right

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View GerardW's profile


44 posts in 2026 days

#3 posted 05-31-2013 12:12 PM

Thanks for the responses everyone. Rick- I have to admit that I had started to worry about this recently with some things I’ve read. This is my first fine furniture design project- a lot of the other stuff I’ve built I followed instructions either online or in a magazine. If the frame isn’t mitered, but just butt joints, will that alleviate the problem?

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2437 days

#4 posted 05-31-2013 12:44 PM

+1 for breadboard ends ! You can have the contrasting color and the edge strips can be thicker but the width of the walnut needs to be able to expand and contract with the seasons.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View bondogaposis's profile


5094 posts in 2555 days

#5 posted 05-31-2013 12:52 PM

Read what Bob Lang has to say about the panel of doom here.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View GerardW's profile


44 posts in 2026 days

#6 posted 05-31-2013 12:59 PM

Thanks everybody- looks like I really dodged a bullet here. Even though I already glued one long side on- not a big deal for me to rip it off. Much better than having done all four!!!!!

I definitely succumbed to the “panel of doom” phenomenon. Thanks for sharing- I did some research yesterday about breadboard ends and I think it will let me achieve the same look and last longer!

-- Gerard in Bowie MD

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