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table design advice

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  • table design advice

    cross posting this from woodnet. Figured I'd see if anyone here has advice, too.

    I'm in the process of my first "real" woodworking project: a round table with simple square tapered legs and plain apron with a bead detail along the bottom. When complete, the legs and apron (actually already dry-fit) will be painted black or Charleston Green. The 48" round top will be made from walnut. I've already got the walnut and have laid out my cut lines, but that's it as far as the top goes. The top will be finished with tung oil or something similar. I haven't completely decided on that either.

    The question is: how do I treat the edge of the table top. I was going to use a Roman Ogee (or similar, maybe even just a chamfer) on the underside. Then I started thinking about the endgrain. Is it going to cause me a problem when finishing? Should I just use a veneer strip to encircle the whole thing and forget about the edge detail? Should I use a bentwood lamination technique to wrap the entire perimeter so I can rout a detail without exposing endgrain? Maybe re-orient my plank layout to ensure no exposed endgrain (will require endgrain to long grain gluing, and I don't have a biscuit joiner. Also would probably look funny)?

    Any ideas welcomed.

  • #2
    I made a pedistal table out of cherry and used a roman ogee bit to profile the edge. The endgrain looks fine. But, you should sand the end grain to a higher grit since it has a tendancy to absorb more of the finish. If you are finish sanding to 150 for example, you would probably want to sand the end grain to 180 or 220. This is how I have treated end grain in the past and it has worked for me.


    • #3
      I agree. I have had the same problem with red oak, which has some wide open poors on its end grain. I sanded the end grain to 320 (all rest to 220) and it helped. Not sure, but you probably are applying a clear finish so the effect should be minimized anyway?


      • #4
        I agree with the "sand it finer" solution for end grain - it works well. For Walnut, I would go to at least 220 for surfaces, and 320 for end grain.

        Don't do the cross-grain glueing. Even with biscuits, it will either come off or split in a few years as the wood expands and contracts. You need a breadboard end if you go that way on a rectangle, and I don't know what you would do for a circle.

        The quick and dirty solution for counter tops and other "less than premium" work is to hide the edges with veneer. The older I get, the cheaper that looks. Although I have done it a lot in the past, I doubt if I will do it for any furniture work.

        A 48 inch round table sounds like a dining table that will get some hard use, wet spills, heat, and stains. I am not expert on tung oil so I would check better sources than me. It does give a beautiful finish to fine wood furniture, but my impression is that it isn't the most durable for daily use. I normally spray lacquer for this type use.