Coffee table glue up approach

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Forum topic by drpdrp posted 03-17-2014 12:42 AM 984 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 1464 days

03-17-2014 12:42 AM

In these pictures you will see the coffee table I am working on- the ones by the Jeep are just dry fit- and on the driveway it is sitting a bit crooked…

How would you approach the glue up? I can tell you it is already done and I am not happy with how it worked out- so tell me what you would have done and then I will share my undoubtedly inferior work!

8 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


7080 posts in 2216 days

#1 posted 03-17-2014 12:49 AM

My only advice would be to use hide glue, hot or liquid as you wish.
Then if you aren’t happy with the results, you can reverse the glue and do it better next time.
If you are happy it will last a very long time.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1078 days

#2 posted 03-17-2014 12:50 AM

do show pictures of your unhappiness after you glued it up

personally, I think the table looked good enuf b4 you added glue : )

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 1464 days

#3 posted 03-17-2014 02:14 AM

haha Kryptic!

To clarify my question…

I think I went about the glue up- sort of order of operations stuff- wrong.

So what would you do?

View Tony1212's profile


108 posts in 1152 days

#4 posted 03-17-2014 04:20 PM

I’m still just a newbie, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt, but I would:

- Prep the table top. Looks like you have seven 2×4’s for the top. Joint one edge on each board and cut the parallel edge on a table saw so everything should match up nicely. Plane each board to the same thickness. Cut all boards to the same length (slightly longer than you want the actual table top). That includes the boards that will go between the legs.

- Glue up the top using cauls and clamps.

- Flatten the top with a plane or router.

- Cut out corners for the legs to show through.

- Build the base assembly. Use the top to find the distance between legs and cut your stretchers to proper length. (It might just be the pictures, but the legs don’t look square and plumb. )

- Attach top to base.

I’m guessing you tried to glue those two short pieces on and they didn’t stay put? And now the legs are not fitting properly in the corners?

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 1464 days

#5 posted 03-17-2014 05:57 PM

Wow Tony- I didn’t do any of that! :)

I decided to assemble it the other direction. So I started by gluing the frame of short ends. Legs and short stretchers. Made sure they were square.

Then I glued the long stretcher and the short top piece that rides the long stretchers.

Then I had the bright idea to glue in the top pieces individually… And all hell broke loose.

View MrFid's profile


791 posts in 1322 days

#6 posted 03-17-2014 06:09 PM

Did you joint your pieces for the top? For me, that would be most important. If you have a power jointer and planer, getting your top to straight and square (tried and true) is not a long process. For handplanes, it’ll take a bit longer. Then, assemble your top using clamps and cauls, or biscuits if you prefer (I personally don’t). Then put your frame together, and size everything to fit before the glueup. In general, I think of assembly like an upside down tree. Small parts (limbs) are attached together to make bigger branches (like maybe an end assembly, or a top), and finally the branches are put together to make a trunk, if you get my metaphor.

Best of luck! I think your table looks just fine.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View shampeon's profile


1705 posts in 1601 days

#7 posted 03-17-2014 06:22 PM

Go buy a heat gun at your local hardware store and add some water to the joints you need to redo. Using the heat and moisture, the glue joint will weaken and you’ll be able to take it apart and repair.

The key for your top is going to be perfectly straight, jointed edges. You’ll need to scrape off the old glue and joint the edges square before trying to glue it up again. You had the right idea doing a dry run, but your dry run should have been with the completed, laminated top.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1779 days

#8 posted 03-17-2014 07:03 PM

Use longer nails.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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