Some advice sought on building a bar/counter top.

There is a space between my kitchen and the living room that was setup to be used as a bar type counter, a place to put 3 tall chairs in front of for eating or drinking. It currently has a piece of subfloor I put there as a temporary fix in lieu of having just the top of the wall there.
I am read now to build the top I want. The overall dimensions will be 25" x 74" and the front will be curved, I haven't decided yet exactly what that will look like. I am making a template out of MDF and chipping away at it until I find the best look that maximizes the space.
Anyway, I purchased 4 Birdseye Maple boards of varying lengths and widths, but all between 7 and 9 inches wide. I also purchased 1 10 foot Paduk board. What I want is a Maple surface with 1 or 2 1/2" or 3/4" stripes of Paduk in it. This means edge joining it all. I am planning on ripping each piece of Maple to a little over 6" wide, cutting the strips of Paduk and gluing it up, then using the MDF template to cut the final shape. I am also thinking of mounting the wood on top of the 1/2" MDF in order to get a little thickness (the Maple is 3/4") to it, then trimming the edge with a thin strip of Paduk.
Will edge gluing be sufficient in this application or should I go with biscuits?
A couple of the boards, especially the Paduk is bowed, that is if you lay the board down on it's face and butt it up against a straight edge the ends hit first, leaving about 1/8" of gap in the middle. The other way the middle hits and the ends have a gap. I seem to remember there being a jig I saw to fix this kind of bow on a table saw. Anybody have good advice on this?
Once I am done would it be good to just roll on glue to the MDF and clamp the wood onto it in order to use it for a base?
Thank you for any thoughts.
-Jim
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Lots of good juicy questions here.
1. You should actually use a jointer to straighten the edge. In this case the board has "crook" as you describe it. You can also have "bow", "twist\warp" or "cup". Crook is easy to remove. If you don't have a jointer, then make a long sled that can hold the board so the sled's straight edge runs against the table saw fence and one crook'd edge hangs off the other side of the sled to be cut by the blade. Maybe google "Jointing sled". Then use this straight edge against the fence to rip to width. Bad crook is best handled this way even if you do have a jointer.
2. For the panel, well clamped edge gluing is strong enough but biscuits will help with alignment during glue up and add a little more strength.
3. Biggest concern is wood movement. - Will Maple and Paduack expand contract differently enough or at diffenent enough rate to break the glue joints or introduce stress so it warps? You can look up the expansion characteristics somewhere and see how similar they are. Encased film finish will minimize this some but not completly.
- Having a glued panel attached to a substrate is a nice concept but the real wood will expand, the MDF will not. Needs to be able to float.
- Edge band. Same expansion issue. Needs to be addressed if running across end grain.
4. Shaping. Yes make a template of exactly what you want with MDF. Mark the panel from the MDF template and bandsaw or jigsaw or hand saw to about 1/8 of line. Then use a router with a pattern bit and use the MDF as a template to trim to a clean edge.
5. Install
6. Enough a cool beverage.

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jtpr wrote:

Just glue is plenty. The only value of biscuits is alignment. ___________

Clamp it to a piece of ply with two straight, parallel edges so that it overhangs sufficiently to whack off the crooked part on one edge then run thru the saw with one edge of ply against the fence. (Alternatively, clamp a straight edge to it and trim the crooked part off with a router.) Once one edge is straight use that edge against the saw fence and trim the other side as needed.
--

dadiOH
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1. I agree with everything Sonoma said, assuming we both understood correctly the direction of your bow.
2. I know you want to keep your nice wide maple boards in one piece, but it's asking for trouble. The wide boards will cup with changing humidity with unhappy results. You really need to rip each board into 3" widths and assemble them so that the "smiles" on the end grain alternate up and down. That will minimize the ripple effect to manageable amounts.
3. Finish both top and bottom surfaces the same. If you don't, the difference in the humidity exchange may cause the whole thing to cup edge to edge.
4. Achieve the illusion of thickness with an apron instead of gluing to MDF, Plywood, or anything else that won't expand/contract at the same rate as the maple with changing humidity. If you just gotta have that solid sound and feel, find a cheap wood that has the same expansion/contraction coefficients as maple and glue to that. Here's a link that you might find helpful. http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/fplgtr113.htm
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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<snip>

Edge gluing should be sufficient

Like the others said, attach a piece of plywood or MDF to the wood and run that against your TS fence. To attach, you could screw it or use double sided tape (carpet tape).

Bad idea as the other have said because the wood will expand and contract while the MDF won't. What I have done in a similar is to put slots (perpendicular to the long grain of the wood) in a piece of plywood and then screw it to the underside of the good wood. The right length wood screws with washers will allow for differential wood movement and the plywood will help keep the wood flat. My 3/4" thick lauan table is still flat after 12-14 years. The table is made of 3 11" wide planks; and other planks from the same batch used for benches have considerably warped.
Also, don't try to put edging on the end grain; again the wood movement will screw things up. You might want to install a narrow apron (say 1-1/2" wide) to the bottom of the edge to give it some thickness.

YAMW
Luigi www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking
to email me, try recnorm at the above domain name
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