What width pieces for 21x52 tabletop?

Wreckers:
I'm planning a 21" x 52" coffee table, though I'm thinking of making it a bit shorter than that.
The plan so far is to glue up the top from solid 1" nominal oak.
Is this the best approach to this? What width of pieces should I use for the glue-up? Is it better to use fewer wider pieces or more narrower pieces?
S4S stock is available in width up to 12" nominal in my area.
Unfortunatly, I'm not equipped to prep rough stock.
Thanks
Charles
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My preferences would be as few pieces as possible, especially if you don't have a planer or jointer. You want as few glue joints to clean up by hand as you can manage.
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wrote:

What about wood movement? Wouldn't the larger boards move more?
I've access to a friends jointer, but no planer.
Charles
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Swingman

Lol. I guess theoretically it would move more, but only by the thickness of the total amount of glue (thickness) compared to the total size of the table. Remember wood expands/contracts most between the rings, or growth lines, and changes little in the other direction. You can google for more information on wood movement, I'm not the difinitive source.
All in all, I'd use the biggest boards I could afford so that I'd have to do the littlest amount of work needed.

You don't need the planer to do a table, but will need the jointer to get the edges straight (or insert manual labor method here).

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_I_ generally glue-up with pieces that are 4"-6" wide, taking care to alternate direction of growth rings, using 'plain sawn' stock.
For the 21" dimension, I'd use 4 pieces, 5-1/4" wide.

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wrote:

I'll vote with Bob on this one. Narrower pieces will give you that "cutting board" look and present alignment problems during the glue-up. You may have to plane the final top to remove the ridges. A wider set of boards might cup or warp easily (DAMHIKT). Just remember to alternate the pieces so that the grain at the ends is "up" on one board and "down" on the next.
Bob
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I agree with comments regarding the growth rings. I like to use random width boards, some narrow, some wide, to avoid another sort of "cookie cutter" look. The amount of work involved in joining boards isn't all that much, so I wouldn't let that stop you from using some narrow boards ("narrow" for me might mean no less than 3"). I find much more warpage and cupping with those wide boards and believe that a top made from the narrower stock to be more stable. Sometimes I'll even rip a wider board in half to avoid this sort of problem. Good luck...
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Why? When's the last time you saw more than an eighth of an inch deformation on an 8" wide board, even if it kissed the pith, the worst-case scenario? That's what happened when the board came from 60% MC to 8%. How much you think you're going to get from cycling 20/5, a normal for Midwest moisture?
Best thing is to make it visually pleasing by keeping sap to sap, heart to heart, give it equal finish on either side, and try and avoid the extremes that placing it over a heating duct or in front of a window might provide.

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Amen.
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I would get quarter sawn 12" wide stock, and use two boards. you might be able to get pretty near QS by picking from the pile, or you could order such on purpose. That would give you a stable, non-cupping top. If you can't get QS, then 4 pieces, with alternating ring directions, would be my choice.
If you could get it, it might be fun to get a 8/4 piece of QS and have it resawn to bookmatch the rays and flecks...I would love doing that!
Brian

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