making a dining room table top

I'm making a dinning room table with a fairly substantial oak top (40"x66"). I've run into a snag. I've milled all of the boards, and was unable to face joint the boards because I did not think my jointer was up to the task. I made so many passes through the planner, and the boards seemed reasonable straight to begin with. Now I've got the boards thicknessed to the dimension that I want (so I can't joint them any more!) but the boards are variously cupped and bowed just a bit more than I'm comfortable with. IF I glue them up now, I think I'll get a wavy mess. I was thinking of simply cleating them from below, but am wondering about the disadvantages of such an approach. Would I have to leave significant space between the boards if they are screwed to a cleat? Is there any way to salvage this operation and continue gluing up?
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Doug,
they may seem straight but what you really want is parallel. Cleating from the bottom may work in the short run but, IMHO, you're sure to have problems down the road.
You probably don't want to start over although that's the real way to go so maybe you could put it together and then use a combination of hand planing and sanding to level the top. FWW had a good article on flattening a tabletop just recently.
Jo

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How about cleating from below, and then rounting a channel between all the pieces then glueing strips into the channels. This can look attractive, if you use a contrasting wood. I love the look of e.g., oak and black walnut. This can look like an intended design feature vs a "recovery".
If you glue them as-is, you will get the wavy mess. The only way to fix the wave would be finding a local woodmill with a very large sanding machine, but then you will loose thickness and spend some money.
Dave Paine.

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If you inlay wood across the grain it will come out or will split. I can almost guarantee it. I have glued up wavy boards before. I have more success with dense strong woods. I use clamps to flatten them as the glue dries. There is no guarantee that when you finish you will have a flat top. I had a large drum sander and could run the glued up top through it to clean it. I guess I learned along time ago to leave the stock as thick as you can at glue up so that you can take care of issues such as these. max

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On 12 Nov 2004 17:53:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hvc.rr.com (Doug) calmly ranted:

Cupped AND bowed? Then they won't work as a flat tabletop surface, Doug. The bow will cause splits if you force it together & glue it. Cupped boards may flatten out a bit with cleats, but probably not enough. Buy new stock or keep working it until it's flat and straight. Then determine if it's still OK for use as a tabletop.
What kind of support/legs are you planning on using?
(BTW, it's "dining" and "planer".)

Quite true.

Put the same number of coats of finish on all sides, especially the top and bottom. Cleats are fine, but glue the boards together and use elongated holes in the cleats. Lee Valley sells expansion washers for that purpose. www.leevalley.com Item # 50K35.01
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snipped-for-privacy@hvc.rr.com says...

CLeating simply requires that the center screw through the cleat goes through an appropriately drilled hole. The screws holding the cleat on either side of the center screw go through slotted holes so they hold the top down but still allow the wood to move side to side out from the center.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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On 12 Nov 2004 17:53:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hvc.rr.com (Doug) wrote:

It would probably be best if you start from scratch with some new wood. However, if the pieces you have a particularly nice grain or some other reason you want to keep this particular batch of wood (other than being penny wise and time foolish) then you might be able to use these. To salvage this you need to meet two conditions: You have a good, sharp, smoothing plane and the ends of the table top are finished breadboard style.
Glue up the pieces so the two outside pieces curve downward. This will ensure that the outside edges remain full thickness. Once you have the top glued up then use the plane to flatten the top. After you put on the breadboard ends, which are also full thickness, the top will look to be uniform thickness. The underside will look 'interesting' but that can be your secret or a good conversation topic after someone drops their fork and sees the underside...
TWS
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