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RE: Table Tops2/2
If I cut 3/8 inch thick x 14 -18 inches wide hardwood, that has nice grain for table tops, and I want the table top to look 2 to 2 ½ inch thick, can we put light weight MDF, what size, or what product is better, and take the 3/8 and apply a 45 degree angle to meet the top so that it would look like a solid, thick piece of wood, will that work?
Or is it better to put the 3/8 on the top and sides and lesser species on the bottom over the MDF or other wood to try to do for high-end furniture? The hardwood on the bottom would be stained the same as the top.
What are the thoughts on this?
Tommy, I think that before you get into the stacked mdf vs. torsion box question or the solid edge vs veneered edge question you should take a step back and consider the issues that may result from your choice of hardwood thickness. A 3/8 inch board is just that, a board, and it will want to move across its width like a board. Veneer can be glued and fit into a mitered frame because it is so thin that the forces of expansion/contraction are so slight as to be easily held in check by the glue bond. I do not believe this to be so with 3/8 inch thick hardwood.
I agree with Mymatt, 3/8" thick "veneers" will be deadly. Even if you manage to press it flat which would only be possible with a moisture free adhesive such as epoxy or PU, the resulting top would crack with the first change in humidity.
A few years ago I made a flame cherry cabinet top that was about 18" x 84" x 1" thick. I only had one really nice 8" wide flame cherry board so had to come up with a way to make that one board into the entire top surface.
The solution was to resaw that board into three 1/4" layers that were glued to the face of a full width cherry blank I'd made out of non-figured cherry. I then profiled an edge detail (using a raised panel cutter) that hid the seam between the flame upper layer and the main cherry sub-surface.
This worked really well and the top has been stable for the 3 to 4 years since construction.
You could take the same concept and increase it to the thickness you require. However I'd be concerned about any 2 1/2" thick solid top unless handled correctly. If I were applying 1/4" to the top of a thick solid core I'd be inclined to apply a 1/4" layer to the bottom as well. That will give a glue line moisture barrier 1/4" in from both faces. I'd also want to use very stable boards for the core.....or perhaps edge glue 3" wide boards together to help in stability.
The alternative on the core is to make an approximately 1" thick top and band it with a thicker edge applied to the bottom surface around the edges. The ends would need end grain strips glued on as vs. picture framing the ends with length wise boards so they will expand and contract with the rest of the top.