Desk Top Construction


I plan on building a built-in desk top to a section of my office room (36" x 119"). What is the best/strongest way for cutting and gluing? I am not a master woodworker...this is just a hobby.
1---cut boards 2"-3" in width and flip end to end or flip side to side?
2---glue and clamp edges with a straight cut, tongue & groove or biscuit joinery?
3---considering the length of the boards, should there be any reinforcing cross-piece somewhere along the bottom other than the support framing?
Any comments would be greatly appreciated...
Rich
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Richard Holub wrote:

More important IMO is laying them out so they look nice. The idea for flipping is that by alternating the direction of the annular rings any tendency to cup in one board will be offset by its neighbor's tendency to cup in the opposite direction. Not a big deal IMO...especially with boards 2-3" wide.
Flipping either way accomplishes the same thing as far as annular rings go. ______________

Any of the above. If the edges are good no sort of mechanical joint is needed...mechanical joints aid in alignment of the edges, don't do squat for strength. ________________

Depends on the size of the aprons (framing), their construction, what sort of weight might be on them and where it might be.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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OK dadiOH, now to disect this a little further...

OK, so would it be ok to leave the boards at let say 5"-6" in width/ This would give me less work with gluing.
If the edges are good no sort of mechanical joint is needed...mechanical joints aid in alignment of the edges, don't do squat for strength.
I was under the impression that mechanical joints (e.g. biscuits) are used in furniture construction just for that purpose, strength?

I was planning on puting aprons all around the desk top. Perhapps 1.5"-2" in front/back and 4"-5" at each end.
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Going to the 5"-6" width of board could run the risk of cupping. Note it is a risk not a definate. Depends on how the board was cut (quartersawn, riftsawn etc.) the humidity of the wood at the time of construction and the humidity of the office after placement.
If you go the 5"-6" method, I would consider gluing a board across the 36in depth at both ends and one in the middle of the 119" span.
Aprons all around will look good and make the top appear thicker. If you go with the crossways boards for stability, aprons will hide this fact while looking good.
Biscuits will not add to the strength of the joint. I do not have a biscuit cutter. I either use dowels which provide alignment vertically and horizontally, but take a lot more time than biscuits, or I cut a slot in each piece and use a 1/4in plywood strip as a continuous biscuit. I have an adjustable slot cutting and so can make the slot fit the actual thickness of the slot.
I expect your boards will not be exactly flat. Using the continuous slot biscuit will minimize vertical alignment deviations which will reduce final sanding efforts.
Dave Paine.

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"Tyke" wrote in message

You will definitely want to reconsider doing that.
Wood expands/contracts across the grain and "gluing a board(s) across across the 36in depth" (across the grain) will eventually end up in grief due to the inevitable wood movement, and will do little for sag across the 119" span.
His proposed apron should protect him from sagging, which I am assuming he was worried about because of the 119" span.
He also needs to be aware of how he fastens the desk top to the propoosed aprons.
There are many methods to do this, but figure eight fastners are readily available that will allow his glued up desk top to expand and contract while holding the top securely to the underpinning aprons.
Rockler also sells a table top fastener that fits in a slot, and allows for expansion/contraction.
http://www.rockler.com/findit.cfm?pagex4
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/13/05
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Tyke wrote:

That's crossgrain gluing and is a recipe for disaster.
How about putting all the boards with the tree center up. That way they all bow, if at all, in the same direction and can be held down with one or two screws in the middle and a screw in an elongated slot at front and back (and anywhere else you'd like).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Richard Holub wrote:

Too many variables to say...type of wood, where you live, etc.
I made a round, 48" white oak breakfast table 3-4 years ago - boards are all 5-6" wide x about 7/8". No problem with it and I live in central Florida. Top is *very* solidly attached to the aprons though. ________________

Nope. A decent glue joint is stronger than the wood. Wanna buy a glue joint bit? How about a wedge T&G one? :) ______________

You still haven't said what thickness the top is to be or type of wood. Regardless, the front/back aprons are pretty skinny and I'd use at least one, probably two cross pieces for something that long with that sort of frame. Personally, I'd use the 4-5" aprons everywhere and put in some drawers (what's a desk without drawers?). The frame pieces for drawer runners could also serve as cross reinforcement. Even if you didn't make drawers, I think aprons all the same size would look better. The wider aprons would allow more area to attach the legs as well.
Regarding attaching top to aprons, unless the top is ply you have to allow for expansion/contraction of the top...you cant just glue/screw it to the aprons. The conventional way to do that is with little steel "L" brackets...one side fits in a dado on the apron, other side is has a hole in it and is screwed from underneath into the top. Easy to make your own "L" brackets out of hardwood. My breakfast table has very stout oak "L"s through bolted into 1/4" threaded brass inserts in the bottom of the top. The other side of the "L"s hook under a 1/2 x 1/2 oak strip glued to the backs of the aprons about 1/16 below the top.
A nicety when attaching the top is to have the top edge of the aprons beveled very slightly inward so that the top contacts just the outside edge. Otherwise, it is easy to get gaps twixt top and apron.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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