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  • #28993
    Chris Bunney
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I’m after a bit of advice: my father-in-law has given me a load of old elm floorboards that he has ripped up from his old barn. Most are in good condition and I would like to make a dining table with them. They are about 1″ thick and cut into lengths roughly 3-4′ long. I am happy edge joining the boards, but I also want to end join them (along the end grain) to give me a longer table.

    What’s the best way to achieve this that will be strong enough for a dining table? I am planning to stagger the end joints to maximise stability from the surrounding boards, but am worried about the strength of the end joints.

    Any advice appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    #29003
    BrianJ
    Participant

    I think the biggest part of the issue is getting them square in all it’s relative ways.
    A well executed shooting board and well set plane will get that done up relatively quick, I suppose you could use a sort of mortise and tenon (floating, or drill holes in both ends and use a dowel pin). Or suggest a half lap type joint using a router plane to keep your depth consistent. Either Should create a strong joint to help keep your plates off your lap.
    Brian

    Ontario, Canada

    #29004
    Scott V
    Participant

    From my reading (not experience), a splice or scarf joint is the appropriate way to extend lumber with a good amount of strength. There are many variations of these joints, some which are more elaborate and have locking keys. Others are simpler and are not much more than a sloping half-lap, where the slope is 6-8 times the thickness of the board. Strength is supposedly far superior to a simple half-lap.

    I would really love to see someone using this joint. I think they are largely used in carpentry and boat building, but I do not remember seeing one used in furniture. I suppose machined finger joints have largely replaced the scarf joint these days.

    -Scott Los Angeles, California, USA

    #29005
    Alien8
    Participant

    What about a staggered layout of the boards? That way you’d be joining long grain to long grain mostly. Then you’d have end grain to end grain on only small areas but it wouldn’t need to be as strong a joint.
    That is assuming you don’t want an exact multiple of your shorter boards.

    Diego

    #29011
    Chris Bunney
    Participant

    Thank you all for your answers.
    Diego – I did wonder about just staggering the boards; I guess the long grain glued joints would give it plenty of strength.

    I think I might try some experiments with the lap joints suggested by Brian and Scott – the sloping lapped joints could end up being quite a lot of work though without any table saw, but then this forum is all about hand tool working!

    Anyhow – most of the hard work is going to be just getting all the boards flat and square, as Diego alluded to!

    Cheers all.

    Chris, Exeter. UK.

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    #29013
    Scott V
    Participant

    Chris-

    Here is a youtube video of a chap who cuts a spliced joint with hand tools. His slope is steeper than what I have read, but he has some good techniques for marking, paring the joining faces and clamping.

    -Scott Los Angeles, California, USA

    #29017
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    great video thanks Scott

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #29062
    Chris Bunney
    Participant

    Thanks Scott – good find!
    I will give that a try!

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    #53813
    MTaylor
    Participant

    Don’t rule out creating the table top as 3 foot sections with contrasting dividing wood. Sometimes its easier to celebrate a joint than to hide it.

    #56075
    Chris Bunney
    Participant

    Thanks Michael – I like that idea. I’m currently feeling a bit daunted by the large amount of work that is required to plane and square all the boards with just hand tools! Good practice I suppose!

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    #56081
    RL
    Participant

    What you are looking to do has been done many times before. I would construct it like a very long frame and panel door with more than one cross-members. You could leave off the stiles if you wish. Making the panel pieces flush with the frame would be the way to go.

    #56144
    Chris Bunney
    Participant

    Hmmm – interesting idea. I had not thought of that. That would be a good way to make it splittable too in the middle to add an extra section for extending it. Thanks!

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    #59436
    SueinNC
    Participant

    I was recently in an indigenous village in the amazon river basin. They used a lot of the scarf/splice joints. They had very limited tools and an abundance of dense wood (we call that exotic wood). The joints were used in the rafters and even the ridge pole as well as benches.

    #59441
    Jim Allen
    Participant

    Hi Sue,
    I’m interested in the splice joint. Did you take any pictures? If so please share them. I’m also interested in your trip.

    Jim from the mythical State of Jefferson – Oregon side

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