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TNT Sr
Posts: 1,327
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Help choosing desktop material...

[ Edited ]

So I've finally gotten the two bottom pieces built for the computer desk.  But now comes the top.  I wanted to use solid wood (edge glued) to make a piece that's 6' long by about 25" deep.  She's afraid it's going to turn out "bumpy" across the seams and suggests I use a plywood top w/solid wood trim to profile.  I have a 6" jointer and a 12" planer.

 

So my question is, if I opted for her route, how about a nice veneer.  If so, where would I get it? 

 

 I've seen alot of ya'll put up pics with nice FLAT tops of edge glued pieces.  I want to try that, but I don't know if I can sell her on it.

 

Need some ideas please.  If I can figure out how to show her there won't be any bumps in the road, I should be good to go.


Thanks for the help,


Troy

Troy

Remember, you're just one mistake away from a lesson learned...
Veteran Advisor
Carl_Fisher
Posts: 296
Registered: ‎01-23-2011
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

[ Edited ]

Edge glue and then hand plane or cabinet scraper to smooth out the joints.  Cabinet scraper will leave you with hardly any sanding necessary before finish.

 

Make sure you use cauls across the boards as you clamp to keep the plane as flat as possible while you apply edge clamping pressure to bring them together.

 

_______________________________________
Carl Fisher
Fisher of Pens
Esteemed Advisor
Larry-Jenkins
Posts: 3,356
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

I definitely would do a glue-up of the top using solid wood.

 

25" deep x 6' long is well within most Cabinet Shop's drum sanders which will give you the ""flat" surface she wants.

 

The amount they sand off to get it flat depends on how good you do your glue-ups.  I like to do two boards at first, let dry, add one more, let dry and so on.  Seems to give me much better control of flatness, but takes a little longer.

 

Larry

Larry.. East Central Iowa

Good enough.. Isn't.
Esteemed Advisor
Larry-Jenkins
Posts: 3,356
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

And to add one more thing..

 

To give your top some good proportions, consider making it out of 5/4 or 6/4 lumber.  Then, when it's sanded flat, it will still look thick enough.  Might even look nice with an Ogee edging..

 

Larry

Larry.. East Central Iowa

Good enough.. Isn't.
Advisor
TNT Sr
Posts: 1,327
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

Carl - Wish I owned a plane.  I've seen alot of ya'll do great things with them...but I know my learning curve and she'd like to use it before the kids are out of the house...

 

Larry - Good idea on the cabinet shop.  Think I'll call around tomorrow and see what I can find.  That thought never even crossed my mind.  Course, I might could use this as justification to get me one :smileywink:

 

Thanks for the help fellas...I think it's going to end up solid wood..I think...

Troy

Remember, you're just one mistake away from a lesson learned...
Senior Contributor
DRAGON1
Posts: 414
Registered: ‎11-03-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

Clamp 3-4 inch boards edge to edge then run them through your planer.

 

Do it again.

 

Set up your clamps every 8 inches (one on top, one on bottom)

 

Using cabinet clamps start at one end and clamp both together (of course, you have glue on them) and work your way from that end to the other lifting/dropping the boards so they are even when clamped (a soft mallet comes in handy).  They should be so even your fingernail won't even catch the edges when you run it over it.

 

Work your way, 1 clamp at a time, don't lock it down till it's perfect.

 

After it sets, run a 120 over the seam and the whole surface.

 

Put on some edge trim and sand that out.

Of course I don't look busy!!!

I did it right the first time!!!!
Advisor
TNT Sr
Posts: 1,327
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Help choosing desktop material...

So I found a cabinet maker who'd let me use his drum sander.  I'm sure there'll be a price, but I'm good with that...was down at the lumber yard today though and was looking through their plys.  Maple, Birch, Ash, Oak, and Alder...

 

Now I've got to rethink it all cause those looked really nice!!! Will the madness ever end?

Troy

Remember, you're just one mistake away from a lesson learned...
Advisor
tomsteve1967
Posts: 811
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

even on ply tops on computer desks i have built, and with a polyurethane finish, i get pretty flat results by using a long board i have for auto finishing and sanding between coats with 320. for the 1st coat or 2 i can usually see some low spots after a light sanding. they arent terrible, but with the long board to sand with, it spreads out the area and i get a pretty darn flat finish when i get to the 4 and 5th coat.

no matter what i build or how many times i build it, it's all practice.
Senior Advisor
Woodburner
Posts: 3,027
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

Troy even if you use plywood, you will have to deal with covering the unfinished edge. Finn it were me, I would use the solid wood of her choice . I agree with the suggestion of a bit thicker wood ie; 5/4,  6/4  for better appearance.  Good idea was mentioned on doing one glue up at a time. No matter what, you have to assure yourself that the brd. edges are square and parallel to each other.    Do you have a biscuit jointer ? If so, place a biscuit about every 8"  making sure that you do not place any where the end of board will stop.  Place a biscuit about 2-3 " from the end.  Lots of people think biscuits were / can be used to add strength to the joint.

NO NO NO  Strictly for alignment of the edges. A simple glue joint of just plain wood is stronger than biscuit

joined edges.

 

If you do not have a biscuit jointer.  Make sure once again that your boards have smooth and parallel edges.  Make a good job of spreading your glue on the edges and clamp themsnug. Do not over pressure the clamps. You can end up with a dry joint.    If you know what cauls are, clamp them numerous places on the joints.   Look them up on google if'n you may not.  You should use cauls on both sides of the joint.

 

After glue has set and dried good, maybe just maybe your work is done. If'n you have any uneven places , either sand them even with each other or even better, use a set of scrapers which work superbly and mucho faster and easier than sanding.

 

Step 2.  Add next board and  keep on trucking.

 

If'n in doubt, take some scrap pieces of wood and go through these very same steps and then you might can prove to SWMBO  how good a job you can do.   Prove was a very poor choice of words, I apologize.  Try exhibit  to SWMBO how talented you are.

 

If there is still any doubt about which way you want to do it, ask her. We are going on 45 years of wedded bliss and , " Yes Dear" is my favorite reply. 

  

LEO
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Larry-Jenkins
Posts: 3,356
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Help choosing desktop material...

Troy..

 

Please do not use plywood.  The veneer on the sheets today is so thin, you cannot sand them much if at al before you sand right though it.

 

Have her pick out a nice closed grain wood.  Again, consider 5/4 or 6/4.

 

Larry

Larry.. East Central Iowa

Good enough.. Isn't.

 

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