Table side apron grain...


I built the table below to donate to a charity auction (hopefully it will bring more than the cost of the wood...). We are storing it our living room temporarily, and my wife wants another one just like it; only in mahogany rather than butternut.
http://www.frontiernet.net/~toller/table.jpg
I picked up some 50" "shorts". After making the top and the shelf I will have some really wide short scraps left over. I could use them to make the side pieces, so that the grain direction will be the same as the top and shelf. I realize that they will be much weaker than if the grain ran the other way, but it would allow me to glue the top and shelf in since movement would not be an issue. I "think" that would add more strength than the sides would take away.
What do you think? Cabinets are built that way, why not tables?
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Toller wrote:

I think it would be OK _________

Cabinets have bigger sides?
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dadiOH
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I think it would be significantly weaker. It's not a really wide table, so that might be okay, but weaker nevertheless.
Also, IMHO it wouldn't look as nice with the grain running vertically on the sides.
Josh
Toller wrote:

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Nope, reason it's not done is that if you get the slightest racking stress, you crack your short-grained "apron." Now if you had full-length aprons - all the way to the floor, box or dovetail carcass joinery would be fine.
Take a 1 1/2 piece a foot long and smack it in the middle. Dollars to dogturds it breaks.
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Aside from the strength issues, it will just look somewhat "wrong". Even if people can't put their finger on it, something will just feel off about the table. Certainly mahogany grain will not be as pronounced as the butternut or a wood like oak, so perhaps it won't be too noticeable.
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Toller wrote:

Everybody else seems to think that vertical grain ends are going to introduce "strength" problems. The table is small and the two aprons on each end are supported by spindles between them, the legs and by the top or shelf.
It is true that the table would be weaker than it would be if the apron was "normal" but how strong does a table like this have to be? I guarantee you that what you propose isn't going to have any practical effect.
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after looking at other tables and cabinets, I also agree with Mark and Josh that it won't look right. Grain always runs the long way, but on these it will run the short way. Since ribbon figure is pretty striking, the effect will be pronounced.
As a fall back position, how about using botton side pieces perpendicular to the top, but using the cut off scraps for the top side pieces; gluing the top down, but letting the shelf float? There will be no movement between the top and the sides, so that will be fine. The top side pieces will have movement of 1/8", but the bottom side pieces will not move. That will be about a 1 degree flex, but it will be split between the two sides, so it will be 1/2 degree on each side. Is that close enough to nothing to not bother the joints? I was planning on gluing and pocket screwing them.
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"Toller" wrote in message

This is done on table aprons on a lot of period pieces, particularly French, but is always veneered. If you really want the look of vertical grain, that is the way to do it.
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Last update: 12/13/05
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