Table Top Panel Movement

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Forum topic by Beeguy posted 02-08-2009 12:28 AM 906 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3660 days

02-08-2009 12:28 AM

I recently saw a video on building a coffee table using pocket screws. The project was oak and the top was a glued up (with screws) panel. The top was attached to the apron using screws. The dimensions were roughly 40” X 24”. My question is at what size panel do you have to consider wood movement and not attach it directly to the apron with screws? The top was made up of boards that looked to be three or four inches wide. I know wider boards have more movement. Is this the reason the screws were ok? If the top would have been made of three eight inch wide boards would that make using the screws a potential problem?

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

3 replies so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3565 days

#1 posted 02-08-2009 03:09 AM

it will work, but can guarantee it will not last long. Eventually something’s gonna give. No matter how small the pieces are that are being glued up, it’s the total width that you have to account for. Three 8” or eight 3” will still have the same movement agross the grain (tangentially).
I built a coffe table way back in highschool (about 15 years ago) for my parents with three panels glued to make an aprox 20” wide top. Built with red oak and I screwed cleats to the apron and then screwed through the cleats up into the top without using oblong holes. Well, about a month or so ago, wile visiting my parents, I noticed the whole table had broke apart at all the joints in the apron to the legs. The told me it had broken some 10 years ago but loved the table so much they kept it. For some reason it still stands, but is broken

-- Childress Woodworks

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3660 days

#2 posted 02-10-2009 01:58 AM

I sent a note to the folks at Kreg asking the same question. They said that pocket holes allow wood movement and this is especially true if you back off a quarter turn on the screws. I guess there is a little room in each pocket around the screw, I just didn’t think it was enough.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3744 days

#3 posted 02-10-2009 03:23 AM

Thanks for the info. I just had to re-build a top to a clothes hamper where the top cracked apart. This will save me much effort in the future.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

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