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Forum topic by Schon77 posted 02-19-2015 03:31 PM 1560 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Schon77's profile


12 posts in 1159 days

02-19-2015 03:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table top question joining milling miter saw tablesaw sander drill-driver

Hello all this is my first post on the site.

I have been making wood furniture for the last 2 years for a hobby and make certain pieces of furniture for friends and family. My main problem is that my table tops are not seamless. I have used wood filler, but I hate the look. I am using #2 pine from Lowe’s and it is not the straightest, but I just got a table saw so I was planning to rip the pieces so that they are flush. Please let me know of any way to overcome this obstacle with the tools I currently have which are miter saw, table saw, circular saw, drill and disc sander. I use a kreg jig to combine the boards.

Any advice would be great!



35 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9249 posts in 1452 days

#1 posted 02-19-2015 03:36 PM

Had the same problem. Some old Stanley baileys remedied that issue.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View WhyMe's profile


1008 posts in 1527 days

#2 posted 02-19-2015 03:55 PM

You won’t achieve a totally seamless top using bread board ends. Bread board ends need to float to allow for expansion and contraction of the main top. To get seamless tops without bread board end requires planing and jointing of the boards and a lot of finish sanding. No wood filler should be needed. And #2 pine is not the best material to use for fine table tops. Pine is okay for rustic stuff.

View jmartel's profile


7807 posts in 2116 days

#3 posted 02-19-2015 03:58 PM

How are you attaching the breadboard ends on the tops? If it’s with glue and a kreg jig, the top will crack and fail from wood movement. Be aware of that.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View mnguy's profile


193 posts in 3364 days

#4 posted 02-19-2015 04:08 PM

Bread board construction is intended to keep the table top flat, not gapless. Like WhyMe said, if you want zero / minimal gap between boards, you need to joint your edges before glue up and also let your stock acclimate between machining stages. Using splines between the boards will help reduce gapping.

View bondogaposis's profile


4683 posts in 2317 days

#5 posted 02-19-2015 05:22 PM

Lots of issues here.
1) Using home center pine for furniture. They dry construction grade lumber to something like 20% moisture content, not near low enough for furniture. Buy your wood from a hardwood dealer that caters to the furniture cabinet industry or allow time for your wood to reach 6% or lower moisture content.

2) Your construction methods don’t appear to allow for wood movement. Wood changes in width w/ every change in humidity, but not in length. So when you pocket screw the ends of boards to the breadboard end gaps are inevitable or splits will occur as the wood dries.

3) I recommend that you joint your edges and glue up parallel boards to form a single unit, forget the pocket screws, you don’t need them. Don’t use breadboard ends until you learn to construct them to allow for movement. Here is a link, there are many others.

4) Learn how to attach a table top to allow for wood movement. Here is another link.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Schon77's profile


12 posts in 1159 days

#6 posted 02-19-2015 05:54 PM

Thank you for all the responses!

TheFridge- Did you just hand plane it to death?

WhyMe- Yeah I have noticed it is impossible to get the seamless with the bread boards. Would it be possible if I didn’t use them?

Jmartel- I attach the breadboard with the kregjig to the rest of the tabletop, I have made quite a few tables and I have never had a problem with cracking or anything of that nature. Though I do understand that it can happen that is why I am seeking advice.

mnguy- What do you mean joint your edges and what are splines?

bondogaposis- Yes I know the wood is not the best, but it is what my family and friends can afford. When you refer to this movement are you just alarmed with the bread board because it is fixed? What clamps and glue would you recommend for making the parallel boards a single unit? I am unaware of the jointing you are referring to can you go into further detail please. Thanks for the helpful links by the way.

I will no longer be using breadboards, but I still want to get that seamless tabletop, though I don’t have a planer. I still plan to rip the round edges off the wood, but can someone expand on the process of combining the pieces without a planer because all the videos I watch have someone using a planer over 30 times.

- Schon77

View jdh122's profile


995 posts in 2784 days

#7 posted 02-19-2015 06:16 PM

My thoughts:
In addition to rethinking the breadboard ends, which are not always necessary to keep a tabletop flat if it’s not too wide and if it’s attached right, you need to joint the boards. This means use either a handplane or a jointer to get the two boards very straight along their edge and perpendicular to their face. As Bondo said, no need to use screws, glue alone is (way more than) strong enough.
Lumber quality is an issue too. You can certainly use construction lumber if you pick through it but: you need to let it dry in your shop or house for a month or so and, because the wood will probably warp a bit you also need to be able to straighten it (this is done on the jointer, or else with handplanes). The most important thing to look for when you buy construction lumber for woodworking is that the board does not have the pith (middle of the tree) inside it. In fact one of the best ways to get good wood from construction lumber is to buy 2X10s that DO have the pith and then rip it into two narrower boards by removing the pith.
So, basically it comes down to the fact that you need to have some way to joint boards. The most common way is a jointer or a longish handplane. People have also rigged up routertables and tablesaws to do jointing but I have no experience with either.
To combine the pieces: you run the edge of the two boards you want to glue together through the jointer as many times as it takes until it has touched everywhere along the board. Apply glue on both edges and clamp.
Hope this helps a bit…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2365 days

#8 posted 02-19-2015 06:18 PM

First, forget about making nice “seamless” table tops with construction lumber from Loews

Another approach I used on a similar project was to forget the seamless approach and burn it with a propane torch. Wire brush after burning the stain it if you want some color then coat it with semi gloss polyurethane.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Schon77's profile


12 posts in 1159 days

#9 posted 02-19-2015 06:24 PM

Any suggestions on clamps or brands of glue? The tip about using the 2×10 instead is a great idea, never thought of that.

View jdh122's profile


995 posts in 2784 days

#10 posted 02-19-2015 06:35 PM

Any glue will do, basically. All are stronger than the wood. Just get regular carpenter’s yellow glue, any brand. It cleans up with water, gives you a decent amount of time to work.
For clamps I would suggest starting with pipe clamps. You buy the clamp assembly and then buy some black pipe separately in the length you need. But just about any type of bar clamp will do too.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

918 posts in 2201 days

#11 posted 02-19-2015 06:49 PM

In addition to pipe clamps I find cauls a necessity when clamping panels.

-- Jerry

View Schon77's profile


12 posts in 1159 days

#12 posted 02-19-2015 06:52 PM

Cauls are used to sandwich the boards together to reduce movement up and down?


View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1188 days

#13 posted 02-20-2015 04:29 AM

Pine can be used, I use sugar pine often very stable and expensive probably equal to oak and fir, it’s a couple 3 steps above #2 which for most parts framing lumber. Jointing is a must for seamlessness between field boards, they can expand all they want as long as the grain pattern runs the same direction and the joint and glue up was done properly.

Biscuits and splines do help big time but lots more work. If the boards are flat sawn their placement should be alternating growth ring up then next one down to minimize over all cupping in the future. Clamping must be from alternate sides, (top bottom top bottom) to even out pressure even with parallel faced bar clamps. Dividing the surface into 1/3rds Clamping 3 to 6 boards at a time is easier, especially if you’re going to caul the ends for alignments sake then glue up the 3 and sand the surface.

As everyone else has stated bread boards need to accommodate expansion that said there will be times of the yr when the ends may look wrong. If you get the mat down to 12 15% then seal it really good it will resist some of the expansion from heat and humidity. but not entirely.

P.S. the table looks nice, looks like it can take a beating and keep on ticking

-- I meant to do that!

View Schon77's profile


12 posts in 1159 days

#14 posted 02-20-2015 04:56 AM

To everyone I will no longer do bread boards, I understand why now. I will wait till I have the proper skill and equipment to do that.

Thank you for the compliment on my table I appreciate that. Yes, I kind of over engineer all my tables. Though I do sleep well at night knowing my furniture will never break in a f4 tornado. This is a must in Oklahoma.

I bought some 3 ft clamps and wood glue so I will be playing around with the methods everyone has explained. Does anyone have any tips for using a table saw to make square and flush boards? I will be practicing tomorrow with the table saw I just got but some tips would be great.

Thank you all for all the responses and I will post pictures of what I try tomorrow.


View jdh122's profile


995 posts in 2784 days

#15 posted 02-20-2015 10:57 AM

Here’s one explanation of how to joint on a tablesaw:

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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