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I feel slightly moronic for having to ask, but I need someone's assistance...

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Forum topic by Draven posted 01-15-2009 06:43 AM 1418 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Draven

8 posts in 3419 days


01-15-2009 06:43 AM

Hey, I’m an amateur wood worker, to say the least, so I’ve got lots of questions. Currently I’m working on a card table. Yes, card table from an amateur…Have I also mentioned I’m a glutton for punishment? It’s nothing fancy, just yellow pine(I like the look and grain), and I have already constructed the octagon base with legs. I needed some extra length to get the top to a standard 30 inches, so I added a cap to the top of the base(square in shape) and it came out beautifully. This is now where my problem comes to surface. I leveled the surface of the cap so there is an absolute to start with, I can spin the level on the top of the cap without the bubble shifting. I was impressed with myself. I stuck the top on and it wobbled miserably, not only that, but it was so badly out of level that I was about ready to give up and slap myself for trying. I constructed the top out of 2 inch strips, gluing and clamping in a brick pattern so the seams didn’t match (Durability) and checked the grain and crown as I went to try and stop warping because its only pine. I can’t get it level, and not only can’t I get it level, but I can’t seem to get it even from the floor either. It still wobbles on the base after a week of trial and error with a block plane, and I’m frustrated. If I could get some advice, I would appreciate it very much. I’m new to this and regrettably I have no one I know who can assist me because no one I know is a wood worker. Also, I don’t have access to a planer, nor a window and door place that can do me the favor(believe me, I asked) so if anyone out there has any ideas on how to solve my blight, I would be forever in your debt. I’m not worried about the difficulty of the task needed, like I said, I’m a glutton for punishment, I just need some advice. Thank you for your time.


8 replies so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

35121 posts in 4401 days


#1 posted 01-15-2009 07:01 AM

Many tables have that condition when you put the top on. Has the top been attached to the legs and aprons or is it just the top won’t sit on the base that you’ve constructed.

I would attach the top and then make the adjustment in the legs. Put the table on your table saw (Usually a flat surface and see which leg is the longest and then shorten it up.

I put three legs on a TS and let the long leg hang off the surface. Put a mark at the table line and cut that leg off. If only a small amount is needed. Put some coarse sandpaper on the saw and slide the long leg on the paper until they are all flat and even.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3962 days


#2 posted 01-15-2009 07:01 AM

I wish I could see a photo of this. Can you get it level using shims?? If so maybe you can see where the problem is and fix it with a belt sander or a set of hand planes.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Loren's profile

Loren

10401 posts in 3648 days


#3 posted 01-15-2009 07:04 AM

it sounds like maybe you have an out-of-flat table top.

What you may need to explore is the use of “winding sticks”
and a jack plane. Without a jack plane or bigger plane it
will be difficult to flatten this top. A block plane just won’t
cut it.

Also, your glued-up top is moving with humidity, further
frustrating your attempts to flatten it. It can take awhile
for a glued-up panel to stabilize so sometimes you just have
to be patient.

View Draven's profile

Draven

8 posts in 3419 days


#4 posted 01-15-2009 07:08 AM

I just posted the project and the vaguely dark pictures I have of it so far on my projects list, so take a look if you’d like. My table saw is laughable, I’ll admit, so I don’t believe that solution will help me too much, also, its a centered base its sitting on, so the legs are down against the floor on the base, not the top, but thank you, that idea will be useful for later projects. I haven’t tried shimming it yet, I will try and see what comes of it.

View BTKS's profile

BTKS

1986 posts in 3464 days


#5 posted 01-15-2009 08:05 AM

Welcome to LJ’s.
Looks like a admirable undertaking. Don’t let a couple of hurdles slow you down, just knock em out of the way. One issue with level could be the base was moved to a different spot on the floor. Find a spot and a given orientation on the floor giving dead level and mark that position to begin leveling. Once your working with the top, make sure it is on the base the same way each time so your working off one reference line and not a random number of references.
Looking at the base, it looks like there is room to countersink bolts to extent into the table top. Threaded inserts in the table top will allow you to attach bolts, three or four, to recess into holes in the cap. Adjust these bolts with washers and nuts resting on the cap. You can dial in the top to level wherever the base is sitting.
Hope this helps, I’ve used this technique to level outfeed tables and table legs, works sort of like an adjustable foot on a tool base.
Good luck and enjoyment in your woodworking.
BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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Draven

8 posts in 3419 days


#6 posted 01-15-2009 08:45 AM

Thank you very much, all of you. BTKS, that sounds like a very easy and useful idea for attaching the top, which was something I was arguing with myself over, so you solved one headache for me…lol I have been using the reference point method that you suggested, so it looks like I was on the right track. Also, the floor was another absolute, I made sure of that before undertaking the project. I have high hopes for this project, the more I finish, the more I want to finish just to see the final project poly’ed and complete. Shimming wasn’t helping much, so I believe what I will do is mark the sides of the planks for the minimum amount to take off, then plane/sand down until I get to the mark, then use Loren’s suggestion of winding sticks to flatten one side to absolute, then flip and repeat until I’m satisfied. The top is an inch and a quarter thick yet, so I have plenty of material to work with to get it right. If all else fails, I have burn wood and a never-ending supply of material to try again. Thank you all very much, I appreciate your inputs very much and am looking forward to being a member of this site. There is so much I can learn from all of you… Again, thank you.

View BTKS's profile

BTKS

1986 posts in 3464 days


#7 posted 02-03-2009 09:02 AM

Draven,
How is the project coming along? Did anything help? Hope all is well and progress is fast. Later, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Draven's profile

Draven

8 posts in 3419 days


#8 posted 02-05-2009 07:29 AM

Yes, table is completed, thank the heavens. I attached the top as suggested with lag bolts from the underside and shimmed with washers. Helped to suck the table down to the base, although it was pretty close anyway. Have started the chairs, but being an amateur, It’s taking some time to work out the kinks. I believe my measurements will be comfortable and have high hopes for the end of the project and will repost the entire project when completed. I’ve also got a very shoddy bunch of tools so working with what I have is more of a challange than the actual building so please take that into consideration when reviewing. I’m still learning and I am making the best I can with what I have to work with…

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