trouble with table top

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Forum topic by goochs posted 02-19-2015 10:49 PM 931 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 1255 days

02-19-2015 10:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: farmhouse table wood separations

I built this farmhouse table for my daughter who in turn did the finishing of it. It was made from pine and the table edging is all 2×4 doubled up. The slats are 1×6’s 28”long. The table is huge.
The outside edge is glued and screwed as well as the outer slats all around. The inside slats are only pocket screwed on sides and ends.
Problem is 2 boards look like they have shrunk width wise and have left gaps on both sides. The one picture with the red circles shows 2 of the pocket holes being pulled away. I’m planning on taking those 2 boards out and replacing them if at all possible or at least cutting strips to fill the gaps( would rather not)
Any ideas why this happened?? The edges and other end of the table are not showing any separations at all so it is confusing to say the least.

8 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2885 days

#1 posted 02-19-2015 11:13 PM

Looks like you didn’t properly take into account wood movement and the boards in question pulled apart due to the wood shrinking as it dried out. I’d let it go a while longer and then evaluate what will be required to fix it.


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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2997 days

#2 posted 02-19-2015 11:17 PM

I am assuming your boards (slats) all run across the width of the table.
This puts the wood in an orientation that has the most expansion and contraction in the worst possible direction, the length of the table where you have the most boards.
That table, depending on how long it is, might have to grow and shrink over a 1/2”. If it can’t move it will rip something apart.
The only way I have seen this orientation of the boards work was with lap joints between each board that can spread the movement out across all the joints, instead of it all accumulating at one end.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3919 days

#3 posted 02-19-2015 11:37 PM

a sharpie

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View WhyMe's profile


1025 posts in 1587 days

#4 posted 02-20-2015 12:41 AM

That’s a no no in wood working to fully fasten all the boards perpendicular to a side or end rail board. The panel needs to float to allow for expansion and contraction.

View goochs's profile


56 posts in 1255 days

#5 posted 02-20-2015 01:09 AM

yes I should have known but I was following construction plans (anna white) live and learn, but I think it will be fixable.

View goochs's profile


56 posts in 1255 days

#6 posted 02-20-2015 01:10 AM

a sharpie

- Moron

but the sharpie fell through :={

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1882 days

#7 posted 02-20-2015 01:26 AM

Wood shrinks and expands across the grain when moisture content changes. It changes very little along its length whether it’s green or dry. So when you put a large panel of boards perpendicular to another board, the panel shrunk and the end one stayed the same length. The panel had to break loose somewhere.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View bondogaposis's profile


4765 posts in 2377 days

#8 posted 02-20-2015 02:22 AM

That is known as the “panel of doom”, we see it frequently here on LJ. If you want to read more about it here is a link. Ana White’s plans are known for not taking wood movement into account.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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