I am refinishing a table made in the Philippines in 1946. The top is two
pieces of lauan, 40x20; screwed to two pieces running perpendicularly. It
is then just set in bamboo base.
The lauan pieces are connected by dowels, and are about 1/8" apart. The
owner says the gap has been there as long as he can remember, and since the
screw holes don't seem distorted, it has probably always been there.
I could joint it and glue them together. Good or bad idea?
Also, when I sanded the top down I cut ever so slightly into one of the
dowel holes. I could chisel a piece off the bottom and glue it in and then
(carefully) sand it flush. Does that seem reasonable?
Ah that famous "cross-grain situation". The two pieces of luan have shrunk since
they left the
Phillipines for dryer climes, but the perpendicular pieces haven't since wood
shrinks very little
along its length. The joint has popped.
I'd joint and glue. Dowels almost always indicate the joint was
I'd also think about trueing the stretchers with a hand-plane,
but that depends on how bad the warp is. Obviously, you'd want to
the stretchers with some provision for wood movement, too.
The stretchers are about 35" long, with a 1" dip in the middle. Trueing
them would leave them 1/2" thick!
The stretchers certainly should have had some provision for movement, but
they don't. Okay, the center joint split and must have relieved some of the
stress, but they were still 20" across themselves. Built in the Philappines
and moved to a Rochester winter, I am really surprised they didn't split
into several pieces. But since they didn't, I wonder if they aren't safe
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