Gluing Up a Cherry and Maple Tabletop cherry & maple

      A woodworker gets advice on allowing for movement when gluing different wood species together. December 20, 2005

I have a customer who wants a table top built from cherry and maple boards, glued side by side. Is there anyone out there who can advise how to do this? Are there any special adhesives that I should use to bond two different woods?

Forum Responses
(Adhesives Forum)
From contributor A:
How large is this top and does the end grain present itself on the short or long side?

From the original questioner:
The table will be 6' long, and about 3-1/2' wide, including 6" hinged drop leaves on either side. As for exposed end grain, we haven't come to a decision yet. We're looking at some different designs. Are you concerned about splitting, or differing expansion and contraction rates of the two woods showing at the ends?

From contributor A:
My concern is not with the different woods or adhesion, but with the width of each piece. It would help to keep the width to no more than 3-4" if possible, and attach the top in a way that allows it to expand width-wise. If a breadboard edge is used, it too needs to allow for expansion.

From contributor B:
I've made several countertop pieces with mixed species. Cherry with maple is familiar to me, as I have put together three of them with 2" wide pieces. One of these has a breadboard end. I suggest you make absolutely sure that both species are at the same moisture content by checking it at a fresh cut several inches into the wood. I would be confident that the movement across a 30" piece would be no more than 3/4" (assuming it isn't QS stock). One half inch expansion slots at the outer attachment points will assure you enough room, and the same goes for breadboard end, if used.

From the original questioner:
I'm unfamiliar with the use of expansion slots. Would you explain?

From Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying technical advisor:
Cherry and hard maple will swell and shrink about the same amount when the MC changes. Joining them will not be a special problem. However, whether you use mixed species or not, with such a large top you need to be careful to assure that all the pieces are the same MC, that the MC is 6.0 to 6.5% MC, that the surfaces are freshly prepared, that the customer knows that annual cycles of humidity will cause some movement and joints with the leaves may not be perfect at times, and that a skirt on the bottom to hold the legs must float - to name a few items.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: Custom Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article