LumberJocks

Need help on how to fix uneven table top

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Grantford posted 08-07-2014 01:37 AM 1046 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Grantford's profile

Grantford

14 posts in 140 days


08-07-2014 01:37 AM

This is my first table project and I know no other woodworkers to ask for help so I thought I would join this great forum.
I jointed the boards the best I could on my table saw and am happy with that. But the boards are not all the same thickness and I do not own a planner.
While 3 boards are about the same 2 are – or + at least 1/8” and at least 1 of the 3 similar boards seems a little warped. Nothing is attached or put together yet.

It will be a coffee table made up of five 6” wide by 35” length boards of black walnut and I am stuck.

My question, is there any way to make the table top so it comes out looking flush and all the boards are at the same level on top? I didn’t think it would be that big of an issue until I butted them all together and you can really see the unevenness of the top.
I am going to build a frame for the top to rest on and have most tools besides a jointer and a planner.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!

The link below is the basic idea of what I am trying to build
“http://ana-white.com/content/tryde-coffee-table”

Here is my top so far if that helps at all

Thanks!!
Grantford


44 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5452 posts in 1349 days


#1 posted 08-07-2014 01:43 AM

Couple of ways. A router sled that rides on rails. A hand plane (#6-8) size. Rent time at a cabinet shop that has a wider belt sander, and see if they can run it through their equipment. Welcome to LJs.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11536 posts in 1441 days


#2 posted 08-07-2014 01:57 AM

+1 on Shane’s tips. OR
Glue em up where the top is level and the underside has all the unevenness and then route a profile on the lower edge to hide the unevenness.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Grantford's profile

Grantford

14 posts in 140 days


#3 posted 08-07-2014 02:11 AM

Thank you both so much! gfadvm your tip sounds like something I can actually do! Man this beats spending hours trying to think of a solution on my own with the little experience I have to draw on.
I have been woodworking about 7 years as a hobby and am very passionate about it but I would give anything to have had someone to show me the ropes it is a large learning curve on every new project I try. Everything looks very do-able when I get an idea or see something online but without fail when I try to put it all together the problems start one after another even with plans like this project. Once I figure out the solution it seems so obvious but without the basic foundation it is always a hard time.
Thanks again!
Grantford

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

5884 posts in 607 days


#4 posted 08-07-2014 02:18 AM

If you can’t get access to a jointer, I would glue them up and put the warped one to one side or the other. If you put it in the middle somewhere, the whole top will be warped. You can then use a hand plane and plane the wide ones down to being even with the others. Like Andy said, even them up at glue up so that the top side is even. Not sure what your frame will be like, but likely any warp will not be very noticeable or you can just put the legs on and then cut or sand off the legs a little so that the table sits evenly and doesn’t wobble. Only you and someone with a tape measure will be able to tell the top is a little warped.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

497 posts in 272 days


#5 posted 08-07-2014 02:42 AM

Glue em up where the top is level and the underside has all the unevenness and then route a profile on the lower edge to hide the unevenness.

- gfadvm

My favorite way of gluing so that all the tops of the boards are even with each other and, as an added bonus, helps to strengthen the entire top, is using splines. Cutting your grooves, always keeping the top side against the fence, makes sure the top will be even.

-- Practicing unfamiliar techniques on scrap before committing to the real piece leads to safe and reliable results.

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

12383 posts in 1856 days


#6 posted 08-07-2014 02:43 AM

First I was wondering if you want it to have a rustic look? If that knot hole is all the way through, that will lend it to a rustic look. Do they have the same amount of sap wood on either side? If so, then it won’t matter which side is up. I like to hide the sap wood or cut it off.
If you have a hand plane, you should plane the warp out of at least one side so you can have all flat sides up. It is good to have the sides flat before running through the table saw because a warp will throw the edge cut off. One thing to keep the aligned is to biscuit them by registering on the tops of all of them and then you can be assured of a reasonable fit when you clamp them together. You can get a cutter to make the biscuit grooves with your plain router that will assure fit. I prefer that over the biscuit cutting tool that I have
Like gfadvm said if they undersides are varying, after they are all glued together and cut to finished length and width, rout the edges all around to the same thickness and put some edge profile on it so it looks uniform all the way around from the outside .

good luck!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1057 posts in 686 days


#7 posted 08-07-2014 03:10 AM

+1 to the first post. Whatever you do, don’t even think about a belt sander. Don’t ask how I know.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Grantford's profile

Grantford

14 posts in 140 days


#8 posted 08-07-2014 02:30 PM

Thanks so much for all your tips!
The bottoms of the boards have much more sap wood. Here is my plan for the frame

So it looks like I am going to cut the remainder of the sap wood off so I can shift the boards and put the warped on at the end then will try and make slot cuts and put splines then glue then hand plane.

Question on the splines I have a 1/8” and 1/4” slot cutter bit for my router will that work? Or should i use my table saw or what? Also I dont have a router table is that a problem? last do I buy the slines or use whatever is laying around to make them?

Thanks again!!
Grantford

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

497 posts in 272 days


#9 posted 08-07-2014 03:17 PM

Grantford, that looks like a sturdy base. Since you plan to have so many supports beneath, I would be tempted to put the warped board in the middle, then draw out the bow by attaching to the supports with screws.

Regarding splines, I use a table saw. Using a router, especially without a table, could be tricky. If your boards are ~3/4” thick, I would cut 1/4” dados and cut splines out of whatever you have on hand to fit, but not so tight that you have a hard time getting them in. I’m assuming, from an earlier post, that you will have edging or breadboard ends, or a profiling method as gfadvm suttests, to hide the splines and the uneven boards.

If you use breadboard ends or edging, keep in mind that boards will tend to change dimension by seasons while the ends will remain the same length. (..Just another design issue to contend with.)

-- Practicing unfamiliar techniques on scrap before committing to the real piece leads to safe and reliable results.

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

5294 posts in 1328 days


#10 posted 08-07-2014 03:22 PM

Maybe glue up a couple at a time using cauls.

Mike Henderson has a great tutorial on shop made cauls:

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/12302

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1593 posts in 1121 days


#11 posted 08-07-2014 04:08 PM

That base seems a little overkill, is there a reason for that?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

726 posts in 1709 days


#12 posted 08-07-2014 04:28 PM

It may be a good idea, if you haven’t already, to look around your area for a woodworking guild. They exist out there, and are always looking for interested members.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Grantford's profile

Grantford

14 posts in 140 days


#13 posted 08-07-2014 04:42 PM

Thanks i’m in Chicago so im sure there are some. I chose that base because it seemed like something I could do and works with the top I want. I think you are right probably over kill and will do only one support board in the middle and leave the rest out.

Cauls are a good idea and I think I will just glue two up then add another and so on it will take longer but hopefully I can do a better job getting the top level that way.

Thanks Yonak for the info I probably would have spent all weekend trying to setup the router for it. On the table saw should I dado a slot the whole length of the boar? Oh and boards are around .82 .96 .89 in thickness
Also thanks for the tip on the Ends

Thanks!
Grantford

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

5884 posts in 607 days


#14 posted 08-07-2014 04:59 PM

Do you have a dado set? If so remember to place the top side of each board toward the fence. You can run the slot all the way if you will have breadboards, otherwise stop them before each end.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Grantford's profile

Grantford

14 posts in 140 days


#15 posted 08-07-2014 06:13 PM

Yes thankfully I do have a dado set! If I dont want to run the slot all the way what is the best way to start the cut?

Thanks
Grantford

showing 1 through 15 of 44 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase