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Author Topic: How to join slabs  (Read 12412 times)

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Offline ljohnsaw

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How to join slabs
« on: October 03, 2015, 02:04:03 AM »
I was asked to make a live edge slab for my niece's dinning table.  My cedar (incense cedar) was not wide enough so I book matched two slabs.  I will joint the straight edge and want to glue it up.  The slab is currently 2-" thick and will plane it down (with a router shuttle setup) to somewhere between 1- to 2-".  I typically do my woodworking joints with Titebond yellow glue.  Seems like that should be enough glue surface to support a 40" wide slab.  Not too sure of the final length so I'm hesitant to use biscuits or splines.  What methods would you suggest for this joint?  Glue?  I also have a few knots to fill - any particular epoxy I should look for?

Thanks!

 

 
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Ianab

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 02:27:50 AM »
When I do that sort of build I use splines. Just route some matching grooves into the surfaces to be joined, then plane up a board to the same thickness as the router bit / slots. Cross cut them to slighty shorter than the depth of the slots.

If you get a good glue joint, that should technically be strong enough. But that can be tricky with large boards like that, so I like some mechanical support as well. It also helps with alignment when you clamp it up.

If you have to trim the ends yet, then maybe leave the end 6" or so un-splined. That way you have some trim area without exposing a spline.
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Offline WDH

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 07:35:34 AM »
The glue will be fine if you can line up the slabs without splines or biscuits. 
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Offline warren46

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 08:10:59 AM »
When I need to glue up a wide surface like a table top I first plane the boards to very near final thickness.  I then joint the mating surfaces (2 at a time if there are more than 2 boards) together.  When edge jointing the two boards I put the edge to be glued of both boards down on the jointer.  That way when the 2 boards are laid down or opened like a book, the edges will be tight when the boards are flat even i the jointer is off of 90 degrees just a bit.

I then glue up the surface using cauls and plenty of clamps.  The bottom cauls have parallel edges and are set upright on my workbench which is 3" thick and known to be flat.  The upper caul is slightly convex.  When the boards to be glued are clamped between the cauls/workbench, there is even pressure from the edges to the center of the glue up keeping the boards aligned and flat.  Just a little sanding to eliminate any glue squeeze out and the joints almost disappear.
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 09:17:02 AM »
Titebond II or III would be my first choice.  It does not have a long open time, so you need to have everything prepared for a fast alignment and clamping when you apply the glue.

The best epoxy system that I am aware of is West Systems Epoxy.

I prefer the Titebond to the epoxy for glue-up's though.  The Titebond seems to penetrate deeper into the wood, providing a stronger overall joint.
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2015, 01:53:27 AM »
Big pieces like that like to move around after the milling step. May not be much, but it usually happens. If you include dowels, biscuits or splines your final glueup will go more smoothly and you shouldn't see any little offset "surprises".
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Offline Magicman

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2015, 08:30:26 AM »
I seldom have enough hands so I personally prefer to use biscuits/dowels on all edge gluing. 
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Offline Just Me

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2015, 08:47:07 AM »
Not too sure of the final length so I'm hesitant to use biscuits or splines.  What methods would you suggest for this joint?  Glue?  I also have a few knots to fill - any particular epoxy I should look for?

Thanks!

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

What I do in that case is spline the middle and short splines on the end. You have a rough idea how long the table will be so I will spline up to about three inches of those marks, skip to the end and put a short spline perpendicular in the very end to help alignment and holding it flat. usually just a 3/4" by 3/4" piece of a hard wood like oak about 6" long. This short spline will be totally cut off when done and so there is no spline showing at all on the end grain when done.

I too vote for West System.

Larry

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2015, 11:43:19 AM »
Thanks, guys.  The reason for not knowing the overall length:  My niece is strong-willed and wants to put the table cross-ways in the dinning area  ???  That gives her about 64", she figures, and it will be 41+" wide.  This slab is a reasonable amount of work and I think once she sees it, she may change her mind and want to go lengthwise.  The entire slab is 8' long but has the funny taper that is about 20" with the most figure.  I could spline the middle section (2 or 3 feet) and big-spline at each end just to help with glue-up, then she can pick where to cut out her table top.

The wood is bone dry so I don't expect much movement (I could be wrong, know to happen on rare occasions  ;) ), so I plan to make a nice "milling" sled for my router and surface plane the entire slab at one time.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to join slabs - The finished table!
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 07:30:58 PM »
Well, it was a long time coming but it is finally done. The slabs were cut October 2015.  I glued up the slabs (January 2016) with Titebond III and use a 3" router bit with a sled to make it flat (both sides):

 

I delivered the table in April or May - don't remember.  My niece took it from there.  She sanded it some more because there was lots of movement around the knots at the small end.  Then she experimented with epoxy filling the cracks.  She finished it with a satin poly, ordered up the legs she liked and put it all together.  I think it came out great and her friends and co-workers are envious that she got it for "free"!

 

 

 

 

I'm so happy she kept the small end that has all the movement.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline ESFted

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2016, 07:39:25 PM »
That really turned out nice.  Good job on the glue up.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2016, 08:55:43 PM »
Congrats to you and your niece.  You both did a superb job.
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Offline OffGrid973

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 11:07:36 PM »
That is a great piece, good glue up on that joint !
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Offline WDH

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2016, 08:06:52 AM »
That is really nice.
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Offline Czech_Made

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2016, 08:30:24 AM »
Nice!

Offline thecfarm

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2016, 01:45:19 PM »
That small end adds alot to the table.
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Offline lowpolyjoe

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 07:15:40 PM »
Beautiful !

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2016, 06:41:25 AM »
 smiley_thumbsup
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Offline cbla

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Re: How to join slabs
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2016, 07:15:23 AM »
Very nice


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