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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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
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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
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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