Yield Not to Temptation AKA Dealing with Wood Swelling

I recently renovated our kitchen and it included the purchase of a laminated hardwood slab that I needed to make into an L shape with one side around 20" wide and the other section 14".
I kept thinking I would like to miter this and glue the joint together, perhaps with biscuits, some type of fastener across the bottom to keep the miter together.
My point is this, I am well aware of the effects of wood swelling and shrinking. What I do not understand is why do we go into some kind of denial thinking it won't happen to me, at least not this time.
Fortunately a friend of mine who is a trained cabinetmaker was over just before I was going to cut the miter. He said keep the grain running in the same direction and just do a butt joint. He then told me he did something similar when he renovated his own kitchen a few years ago and in denial decided to do a miter. Surprise surprise, it split open after less than a year.
Are we the only ones who go into this temporary denial, continue to try to beat mother nature only to find out the laws of physics remain constant???
Glen Duff
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I'd miter with a spline to maintain the surfaces flush. Slide a dovetail in each - no glue except on the final inch of the most visible part. Pinning the spline at one end and pins in grooves would work, too, but not as well. Of course, I'd also finish the bottom equal to the top.

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wrote:

I've seen a lot of maple counter tops mitered into 'L's without problems. I *think* the secret is not gluing the miter but allowing it to move a bit. Most of the ones I've seen have some sort of cross bolt arrangement that holds the miter together but would still allow for a bit of movement. I've never seen a professionally installed maple kitchen counter that wasn't mitered, so I would be just a wee mite suspicious of your friend's advice.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
"It's just eighth-grade Sewickley." Chuck Knox
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email

Pilots, parachutists, motorcyclists, stuntmen, armed robbers, sword swallowers, people who have frequent unprotected sex......
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