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How to join table top correctly with glue and pocket hole screws

How to join table top correctly with glue and pocket hole screws


  #1  
Old 09-27-15, 09:01 PM
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How to join table top correctly with glue and pocket hole screws

Hello all,

I just make a end table and results are not as good as I expected.
The major problem is that the table top is NOT flat.

When I join the board, what I have done is to first put glue on the sides, then use pocket hole screw to fasten the boards together. After the screw is driven in, the join of the boards are NOT flat anymore. I don't have face clamps and I don't expect to buy those expensive clamps any time soon.

Question 1> Should I glue the counter top first, then apply pocket hole screws later?

Question 2> What is right way to do the counter top if I don't have face clamps?

Thank you
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  #2  
Old 09-27-15, 09:57 PM
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The boards need to be run through a jointer first to get the edges square and flat.

Short of doing that I would not try to pocket screw the edges. I'd just fasten each board individually to the frame. It is not going to be great but the best you can do without using a jointer to remove the radius and square the edges.
 
  #3  
Old 09-28-15, 03:36 AM
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If the top is already assembled you might use a belt sander to level it out, maybe even a planer over the really high spots.
 
  #4  
Old 09-28-15, 07:08 AM
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Q1: Answer depends on what kind and how many clamps you have. If you have several long pipe clamps to draw the boards together, then I wouldn't fuss with the pocket screws til the glue is dry. You can use the screws INSTEAD of clamps to draw the joints together--but they'll never apply the kind of pressure that clamps can.

Q2: Along with long pipe clamps you would sandwich the assembly with "clamping cauls". Cauls are pairs of boards that span across the glue joints and force the assembly flat. A proper caul is made by cutting each as long as the top is wide, then using a plane you shave the ends down a bit until the caul has a *slight* curve. You then apply the cauls (waxed so they don't stick to the glue squeeze-out) after the top is clamped and when the caul clamps are tightened the slight opposing bows forces the entire assembly flat. Google "clamping cauls" for more detail.

The exact technique used doesn't matter nearly as much as proper stock preparation. "2-by" construction material does not have a straight and clean enough edge for glue to bond correctly.
 
  #5  
Old 09-28-15, 07:12 AM
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You might get better results if you assemble the top upside down on a flat surface but I think Ray gave you the ultimate solution.
 
  #6  
Old 09-28-15, 10:31 AM
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guy and stickshift are dead on.

It's possible to use a planer in place of the jointer if you do the edges of two boards which will be glued directly together; clamp the boards together so that either the two "top" faces or the two "bottom" faces are together, then plane the two edges together (you could also do a thin rip on a table saw to take of the radius corners first to speed up the work a bit). Then once the mating edges are flat, lay the boards into pipe clamps, which aren't super expensive and are the best for this kind of job although you do also need to have or buy some pipe as well.

Laying the boards on the pipes before clamping should start them out pretty flat, and to keep things level during clamping you can lay some weight on top once the clamps are snug (stacks of books on top of waxed paper would work), then tighten the clamps down while the glue dries.

For a solid plank table top like that, attaching to the base should use slots in the cross-members of the brace (aligned across the grain direction in the top) or use "figure 8" connectors like these (Desk Top Fasteners, 8 Pack - Rockler Woodworking Tools) to allow for the expansion/contraction of the table top.
 
  #7  
Old 09-28-15, 12:54 PM
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You can also rip the edges with a circular saw. You need to use a clamped on metal guide for best results. You can not do it by hand and the type of guide that goes into the saw shoe won't work as well because it follows the other edge which probably isn't true.

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  #8  
Old 09-28-15, 02:00 PM
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Pocket Screws

When joining with pocket screws, turn the boards upside down on a flat surface and clamp the two boards to the flat surface to align the top sides of the boards(now facing down) before fastening with the pocket screws.

You also need to alternate the bark sides up and down on each adjoining board. Looking from left to right, the third and fifth boards need to be turned over.
 
  #9  
Old 09-29-15, 07:04 AM
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try to correct the misalignment with a planer and I make the surface even worse Now, the counter top has uneven boards with cutting groove on sides too. Jut realize that the wood work is NOT as easy as it looks like.

Thank you all.

Amazon.com: WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch: Power & Hand Tools
 
  #10  
Old 09-29-15, 07:07 AM
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@Wirepuller38,

I will remember this tips next time when i build a coffee table.

Thank you!
 
  #11  
Old 09-29-15, 07:25 AM
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Don't be too hard on yourself, you are working with wood that is not intended for a furniture grade appearance. This is more like building a picnic table, where the top does not have to look good as long as there's BBQ on it.

Pocket hole jigs and screws work very good on building a face frame, but not for table tops. A table top should be constructed using biscuits or dowels. A biscuit cutter is much easier than dowels.

If you want to get into woodworking you will need some clamps. The cheapest way is to get the pony clamps that you can attach to any length of 3/4" iron pipe. I have many pony clamps of different lengths, but if you want to save money you can easily remove the clamps from one pipe and attach to another longer pipe when needed.
 
  #12  
Old 09-29-15, 10:18 AM
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Hello Handyone,

I have bought clamps from HF 36 in. Quick Release Bar Clamp. The biggest mistake I made in this project is that I should clamp the board even on the top and bottom before I drive the pocket hole screws.

I have ordered sander and will upload finished table in a week.

Thank you!
 
  #13  
Old 09-29-15, 02:00 PM
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That lightweight bar clamp is probably not up to the task as far as clamping the size of lumber you're dealing with. That weight of clamp is more for gluing up face frames/picture frames , drawer construction, or rail/stile cabinet door assemblies.

If you don't want to go higher grade than HF, this one might have a chance of working for you, if you put one every 8-12 inches along the length of the work piece:

36 in. Aluminum Bar Clamp

2 or 3 of these is what you really need for this kind of job (along with some lengths of 3/4 inch pipe, which isn't terribly expensive):

Pipe Clamp - 3/4" Cast Iron Pipe Clamps,2 Piece.

Also for the pipe clamps, as handyone said already, if you need a longer clamp, you can just get more pipe without needing a whole new clamp. Remember that the size on pipe refers to the inner diameter, so don't expect a 3/4" pipe to be 3/4" across on the outside.
 
  #14  
Old 09-30-15, 08:57 PM
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I completely messed up with the counter top stain

Hello all,

I have used Elmer's E914 Carpenter's Color Change Wood Filler, 16-Ounce, Natural with Minmax wood conditioner. The big problem is that the wood filler doesn't take stain and the counter top now looks horrible.

Any way I can save my wood work?

Thank you
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  #15  
Old 10-01-15, 03:43 AM
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A couple 80-grit belts ought to get you back to natural pine.

Don't despair! The best lessons are those learned from our mistakes.
 
  #16  
Old 10-01-15, 03:50 AM
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Wood fillers rarely take stain well, they are also prone to crack if there is any movement

Hopefully aggressive sanding will remove a lot of the filler, if not, I'd consider laminating the top with plywood using wood trim along the perimeter to hide the plys.
 
  #17  
Old 10-01-15, 05:21 AM
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You can paint it now instead of staining it.
 
  #18  
Old 10-01-15, 05:47 AM
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Hello all,

Question 1> If I paint the wood, can I get the cherry finish? What kind of paint I can use on the wood?

Question 2> If the filler doesn't take stain, why people use it and where people use it?

Question 2> Why I cannot get the same finish as the stain can cover show?
The finish shown under the text "traditional cherry" looks so good.

Thank you
 

Last edited by q0987; 10-01-15 at 06:04 AM.
  #19  
Old 10-01-15, 08:30 AM
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#1 - while you can get a cherry colored paint - it won't look like a cherry stain.

#2 - You need to know when/where a filler is appropriate. Most fillers are best used to fill minor cracks like the filler often used on hardwood flooring to fill the gap between boards. Most is sanded off making the filler not as noticeable. Stains unlike paint vary depending on the type of wood it's applied to. A hardwood will absorb less stain [less color] than a soft wood. The colors naturally in the wood also play a part in how the stain will look. I've done a few jobs where it was necessary to use 2 different stains so the mismatched wood would be similar in color.
 
 

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