Table Top Joinery Options; Collaboration, Anyone?
Issue: Issue 330
Posted Date: 7/16/2013
How Do You Attach Your Coffee Table Top?
The woodworker who began this thread had a straightforward question asking for advice (or opinions -- sometimes they're one and the same). - Editor
"Do you prefer buttons, cleats, screws through the underside of the rails, or what?" - Brad B.
"Depending on the design, I've fixed slab tops with 2-3 screws into the centerline of the table top." - Mark M.
"I usually make a large pocket hole with a carving gouge and put the screw through an oversized hole. Shop I used to work for used figure 8's or those steel clips; they both work fine, too." -John
The builder gave the group more information about his project, so they could further refine their advice. - Editor
"It's quartersawn white oak. I grooved the rails and made wood L-shaped blocks to fit the grooves and screw into the top." Brad B.
Which, of course, they did.- Editor
"If memory serves, 'on average' [quartersawn] moves half as much as flatsawn, which means 'on average' 1/16" per foot of width over an average year. I like buttons, and use quite a few as the common practice is to lift a table by the top and not by the apron rails." - Don S.
"I've used the figure '8' and 'Z' clips, but now only use the wooden 'L' buttons placed into mortises cut with my Festool Domino. I make sure to orient the grain of the buttons so they are less likely to break. While the metal clips are sure convenient, I like the look of the buttons a lot. I countersink brass screws in the buttons, but cut the threads in the hard wood with steel screws to avoid breaking the brass screws. Coincidentally, I'm also building a quartersawn white oak coffee table right now and am using the wooden buttons." - Jim D.
What's your favorite method of attaching a tabletop?- Editor
Do Any of You Collaborate? from WoodCentral
The woodworker who asked this question was pondering more about the philosophy, and the design process, than about technical aspects like joinery. Would/could/should, he wondered, other woodworkers ever collaborate with someone else on a project? - Editor
"I was just wondering how many of you get together with other creative people to kick around ideas to make things happen, or refine ideas that you already have, or to take someone else's idea, then build on it to make something better? I'm a pretty creative person, and will usually just start something even not knowing parts of it in the beginning, relying on the rest to come once I'm into it, but I do really like having another creative person to brainstorm with whenever they are around and willing. Is this something you do, or have ever tried? Is there someone you would entertain sharing your ideas with?" - Keith N.
Most people thought collaborating was a good idea -- although there's always the exception. - Editor
"As the old saw goes, 'two heads are better than one.' Other points of view help you see a different way of looking at things -- especially if you are 'stuck.' Talking about (and explaining) a project always helps clarify it in my mind." - J.L.
"Common problem-solving practice. It is what problem solving teams do." - Bill T.
"I enjoy the collaborative process. I have done several projects with other artists. I sometimes am inspired by the work of another artist and will contact them about doing a collaboration. We discuss ideas for incorporating a piece of their art into something I create. Recently I worked with a painter named James Wu. I asked him to paint two oil paintings on masonite. The only information I gave him was size of panels and that the panels would each be one half of a composition. I waited until James sent me the paintings before I designed my piece for them. I used his paintings as the inspiration for the unified composition. James happens to be a fellow artist in the same gallery. So when the piece sells, we both get paid our share. But I have also purchased work from others for the purpose of a collaborative piece. If the artist is not affiliated with the galleries that carry my work, then it is simpler just to buy their contribution." - Thomas S.
"Collaborate? I can't even agree with myself..." - John M.
Site moderator Ellis Walentine shared his philosophy on collaboration -- and how it broadens the options available. - Editor
"The short answer is yes. Over the years, I have collaborated quite often with other woodworkers, architects, my wife (she's a painter, among other things) and other artisans of various skill sets. Working with people with complementary skills is sometimes the only way to do a project, especially on large and complex projects like houses. Collaboration is a great way to expand your design capabilities, both in the conception and the creation of the piece. The whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. I firmly believe that we are craftsmen first, and that woodworking is only one arrow in our quiver. Working with others is one way to add the missing dimensions of our designs." - Ellis W.
Of course, we wonder whether our eZine readers have ever collaborated on a project: did you incorporate someone's expertise in 18th century textiles into a spinning wheel setup? Work with the local archery master to carve a super-special bow and arrow? Or something else...? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.