Chamfer table planks before or after glue up?

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Forum topic by jimmyhopps posted 05-17-2014 04:37 PM 1191 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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217 posts in 1797 days

05-17-2014 04:37 PM

I am debating whether or not to chamfer the long sides of each plank in my new kitchen table top (6.6’ x 40”). The reason I am leaning towards doing so is that there are 7 planks each about 5.5” and the grain pattern around the joints is very dissimilar – a mix of great birdseye / figured maple and plain maple (I wasn’t intending to build a birdseye table but the wood was the same price for the plane variety and I wasn’t thinking about matching at the time). chamfers may make the different more part of the design, i’m hoping.

Anyway, I was pondering not chamfering before glue up to see how it looks. If it looks bad, then I could route a v-groove along the lines. Would the v-groove be the same a a pre-glue up chamfer? i think so, plus would avoid having to get glue out of the groove after glue. pros / cons of either way? Also, how much of a chamfer do folks generally do? I’m thinking smaller the better.

9 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#1 posted 05-17-2014 04:47 PM

I will pre-chamfer a “planked” table top. Just use a block plane to achieve about an 1/16” chamfer. No need for acute accuracy ‘cause the chamfer will look just as good.
Just my way.


View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2231 days

#2 posted 05-17-2014 05:35 PM

Any milling operation will be easier after the table is glued up. Make your tabletop oversized and glue it up. Once the glue has cured, you can trim the top to length with a circular saw and edge guide.
From there you can decide if you want to rout a roundover, chamfer or other profile.

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

View jimmyhopps's profile


217 posts in 1797 days

#3 posted 05-17-2014 05:39 PM

Bill, no problems cleaning glue squeeze out of the groove after assembly?

Pinto, i’m talking about the chamfers between the planks, not on the edges of the table. same answer?

View Ted's profile


2785 posts in 1629 days

#4 posted 05-17-2014 07:59 PM

I like the idea of doing the chamfer after the glue up. Just make sure you stay on the line and it should look fine.

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

View HerbC's profile


1566 posts in 2277 days

#5 posted 05-18-2014 02:16 AM

Seems to me that there’s a lot of room for error with the camfer after glue up method.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View NiteWalker's profile


2735 posts in 1995 days

#6 posted 05-18-2014 02:17 AM

If you decide on the chamfer, I’d do it before glueup. Much easier than after. Get the squeezeout while it’s wet with a steel rule or old chisel.

If you want to see how it looks before the chamfer, just clamp it up dry.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Buckethead's profile


3140 posts in 1286 days

#7 posted 05-18-2014 03:17 AM

Seems like before would be a heckuva lot easier. After you needing a guide, a plunge router (if the chamfer isn’t continuous), or a whole lotta chiseling. I suppose there might be a plane which would work, but before takes a lot of the risk out. Even if you botch one before. You can rip an eighth off and go again. A mulligan. A botched move post glue, means ripping the top down for the mulligan. Circular saw style.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 947 days

#8 posted 05-18-2014 03:49 AM

I did the barn door I made after the glue up.
It’s pretty easy to run a router down a straight edge. I have confidence running the router, so that risk was taken out of my reasoning when deciding.
The barn door was a pretty big glue up and it would have been a mess trying to get the glue out of the grooves on both sides with bar clamps in the way. If I did it again, I still would have done it after.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1140 posts in 1052 days

#9 posted 05-18-2014 03:54 AM

Are you doing tongue and groove?
Or just plain jointed edges?

If you do chamfer before, tongue and groove provides lineup, if not, and you are out even a slight amount, you will have to plane the boards flat. And re-chamfer.
I like pre-chamfer, but use tongue and groove to guarantee alignment. If not I would just use a V bit in a router and run it do create the chamfers after planing it.

-- Jeff NJ

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