Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Major cuppage

With as many balls as I am juggling right now, it is amazing that this piece was ever completed! Some people think that the lives of furniture makers is serene, and that life in the woodshop is all zen. That couldn't be further from reality. Truth is - there are so many things to do, that actual woodworking takes a back seat to repairs, administrative crap, and cleaning.

This Ash dining table is a 2nd generation design.

Remember my first one looked like this, and I wasn't happy with it. Oh, there was nothing wrong with it, it just didn't fit into my dining room the way I'd envisioned it.

That is why Plan B works so well! The new base was much more what I had in mind, although I had to borrow some long Bessey clamps from Eddie in order to assemble it.

Those clamps are really expensive - way out of my budget range!

The assembly of the base went well. But since the table top had been sitting in my dining room for two months, there was a problem with it.

There has been a big debate about table top assembly and the proper way to glue wood together, in relation to the annual rings of each board. In the past, the common concept was that the annual rings should be alternated on each piece, thus minimizing the amount of cup that a table top might experience.

But lately, some woodworkers have opined that that isn't the case - that the top should be laid up with the appearance of the top in mind, to hell with the annual rings.

Now in the past, I've always paid attention to the rings, and always alternated them. But after reading so many opinions, I decided to glue this top up with the gorgeousness of the grain as my top priority.

Umm.... it cupped.

Both halves.


So - to anyone who says - to hell with the rings - you're wrong.



Major cuppage.

Now this tabletop was comprised of two halves, both measuring about two feet wide and seven feet long. The weight alone was one reason I did it in halves, but the other is that it is just too hard to assemble when using one solid top. The amount of movement can be fierce, and I didn't feel like taking on that battle.

So a little creative clamping allowed me to pull the top flat while attaching the top to the base. Those cauls (above) were clamped to the top, pulling it flat, while I used table top clips from underneath, pulling it flat.

How do you keep that seam from opening up, you ask? I've done many tables with a center seam, and they've never experienced a gap. The easy way is to clamp the halves together

and use these Brass Table Keepers on the underside, to keep the two sides perfectly aligned.

Now this is much more what I had in mind!

Bookmatched legs, using Craig Vandall Stevens' five sided leg. Or - in this case, I made it a six-sided leg.

Next step? Side benches and two arm chairs.


Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

LOVE the table and top. Thanks for experimenting so the rest of us don't have to... I've always alternated the rings, but had read it wasn't necessary. I have never heard of the "table keepers", how many would you use and are you saying the pieces are left unglued?
P.S. Love that tiled floor!

Anonymous said...

I have the same questions--what keeps the top from cupping over time? It is lovely!

Wood It Is! said...

The TableTop clips mounted on the underside will hold the tabletop flat. If you pull the top flat and then attach it with the clips, it stays flat.

Also, those Table Keepers keep the two halves perfectly aligned, and held tightly together. No, the halves are not glued together, they are two separate pieces. I've done quite a few large tables this way, and never had any problems.

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

Thanks Jamie, I had never heard of leaving table halves unjoined like that!