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Forum topic by MattyMattAg posted 08-01-2014 09:46 AM 1358 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MattyMattAg

38 posts in 943 days


08-01-2014 09:46 AM

I’m not a biscuit guy, and have glued up table tops many different ways. Butt joint, sliding dovetail, tongue and grove, and spline.

Which is best and strongest? I’ve read that the different styles of joinery don’t make the joint stronger, but I’m not sure I believe that.

Also, I’m make a thin table top for a nightstand… 3/4” thick and 4” wide. Based on you guys’ experience, is a butt joint the way to go?

-- If Jesus was a carpenter, what better profession could there be?


9 replies so far

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1632 days


#1 posted 08-01-2014 10:37 AM

If joinery doesn’t make the joint stronger why do we have various joints. I would use a tongue and groove on the table top. not only does it help aligne the two pieces you also have much more glue surface.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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rrww

263 posts in 1573 days


#2 posted 08-01-2014 11:34 AM

I just edge glue the tops together – never had a problem as long as the wood is prepared properly. I have used other methods on large tops for the sole purpose of alignment during gluing.

The best depends on what your are doing. For me the best is the fastest – time is money in a business. I have never met a customer who cared how the top was glued up. If your doing this as a hobby do whatever makes you feel good its not about time.

As far as the strongest – how much strength do you need for a top? Do the legs/base of the table have the same strength as the top? If the legs snap off before the top fails does it matter?

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#3 posted 08-01-2014 11:36 AM

I’m pretty skeptical that tongue and groove or a sliding dovetail can really add strength to an edge-grain to edge-grain joint. We all know that modern glues are stronger than the wood in a simple glue-up, so even if other joints are stronger (which I’m not sure is right, given that we take away wood to make them) there can’t really be any strength advantage because the wood will still break before the glue does in all of them. I searched online for breakage tests comparing these joints but couldn’t find any.
To my mind the advantage of these other joints is alignment. But I could be wrong…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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Blackbear

137 posts in 1679 days


#4 posted 08-01-2014 12:52 PM

I use Tightbond glue with some biscuits for alignment. The long grain to long grain joints, properly glued and clamped, make really strong joints. You can skip the biscuits but alignment will be harder. Maybe try some dowels for alignment?

For smaller stuff like cribbage boards and butcher blocks I skip the biscuits, but those fit through my planer. A table top needs to be carefully jointed and aligned unless you want to do a lot of hand planing and sanding.

My grandfather used a spline method to align the pieces instead of biscuits. He would rip a groove in each board and insert a floating spline for alignment. The drawback was you would need to make a breadboard end to hide the spline.

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bondogaposis

4020 posts in 1811 days


#5 posted 08-01-2014 02:06 PM

Simple edge glue ups are the easiest a best way to make a table top. You can use biscuits for alignment or better yet use cauls. A proper edge to edge joint is stronger than the wood itself, so any extra effort to add splines is largely wasted, because while it may make the joint stronger it can’t make the wood stronger.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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timbertailor

1591 posts in 884 days


#6 posted 08-01-2014 02:21 PM

You do not need a biscuit jointer to use them.

A simple trick is to cut a groove in the two panels their entire length (router or a table saw)

Then you can place the biscuits anywhere. They willl keep one surface level with the other. Just remember to keep the tops and bottoms oriented properly. Proper alignment will keep surfaces flat and reduce the amount of sanding required.

I agree. Modern glues are so strong, they pretty much negate any advantage one jointing method has over another in strength.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#7 posted 08-01-2014 04:41 PM

To make a clean edge to edge joint use an edge trim
plane :)

I used one for this top and the results were very good.

Then attach to the apron, here’s one way:

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#8 posted 08-01-2014 04:53 PM

No need to use any splines or biscuits for long grain glueups like tabletops.
The wood will split before the glue fails.
Usually I am in favor of mechanical joints like dovetails and mortise and tenons. However for tabletops I prefer long grain glueups with Titebond II.

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

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1591 posts in 884 days


#9 posted 08-01-2014 06:00 PM



No need to use any splines or biscuits for long grain glueups like tabletops.
The wood will split before the glue fails.
Usually I am in favor of mechanical joints like dovetails and mortise and tenons. However for tabletops I prefer long grain glueups with Titebond II.

- pintodeluxe

The biscuits are not for strength, they are for surface alignment when glued up.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

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