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Contrasting wood banding on table10/30
I had a customer stop in today and ask about building a custom table similar to the below photo. They would like it built from 12/4 solid walnut with either a light birch/oak banding or a bronze metal banding going across the top as seen in the photo. My concern is that the walnut will move roughly 3/8" from winter to summer width-wise and the contrasting wood or metal will not. I was thinking potentially an epoxy, but the same issue would apply. Any suggestions or tell them no go and need to find a different design.
No adhesive will stop seasonal movement. The only way the inlay would stay flat would be to dovetail it in the top and only glue it in the middle. BUT, depending on when you build it, it will either protrude past the edge of the table during the winter or not be flush in the summer.
Thanks for the response Rich and I completely agree. One solution shared with me was to glue the contrasting banding with the same grain direction as the walnut. It would take a lot of small pieces glued together, but then could be run the same direction as the walnut grain. Assuming I could match up a similar moving wood to walnut, this may work???
Keeping the grain direction the same will work.
Yes, the grain will have to run the same way in the inlay as the primary grain direction.
This is why veneering is the solution to that table's construction.
I am leery of customers that come to me with all the specs on how the table /whatever/ should be built. Specifying 12/4 Walnut is fine, but try to find enough to make that table look good will be nigh impossible. Any piece of Walnut in the US good enough for that table was exported. Generally speaking, all we get is what no one else will buy.
And to finish the rain parade, I would advise against building this table (veneer or solids) if you are not experienced enough to spot the best construct immediately. This is no project upon which to learn veneering.
We often do solid brass inlays on tables. We always use veneer over industrial MDF substrates. From certainlywood.com we get some fantastic grain patterns and it makes a table that is stable and will last. Solids just move too much when trapping metal inlays.
Thanks for the info. We have built several tables with contrasting woods, metal inlays, and using veneers, but these were not what the client wanted as my first response to them was veneer. Before I told them no, I thoughts I'd ask around and see what input the community may have. I think the idea of a contrasting wood, running with the grain, yet still across the table will work for the client.
Some additional info from the client: The table was photographed in Japan and was approximately 4" thick solid wood, although they didn't know species. There were numerous bronze bands running every which way over the table and a metal base.
BTW Dave, if you ever need some quality walnut, I have it in 8/4 and 12/4. Just need to know the right sawmill, and be willing to pay a premium for it.
If that photographed table is solid, there is something else going on. If you look at that bit of sapwood on the right end, then look at the vertical sapwood there appears to be a seam along the top. Same thing appears on the first angle stripe on the front. Sure looks like thick veneer to me.
The table in the photo looks like solid wood to me. The inlaid strips look like the grain runs in the same direction as the tabletop, too. I think whoever built it knew what they were doing. This approach is exactly how you install holly inlay on classic American furniture made with solid wood, the grain always runs in the same direction as the field, and it has worked for hundreds of years.
I cant see that picture well enough to see the grain on the inlay. I may wager that its painted on and not inlay at all.
Also, John- what do you mean classic American furniture? Do you mean period furniture? Plenty of examples of banding not the same direction as the core. Many though not as drastic as this example.
I'm with Rich on this. It's low resolution but I see anomalies in the grain on the left side after the first band.
Could be a very thin brass foil and not solid bar like we have used. That would be more like a finishing item as it is paper thin. If you look at the edge there is a significant roundover and the brass is exactly the same. With the radius edge that would be almost impossible to do using brass bar stock.
Guys don't you know, its nearly 2020 wood movement is a myth ;) !
Now that's funny Kevin, but I did see a YouTube video debunking the wood movement fairy-tale. Six more YouTube videos and I earn my masters in fine woodworking and furniture building.
Well, I am one taking another look at wood movement. After 45 years as a professional, I am reconsidering the movement as the most difficult part of the work.