Hands On

MAR/APR 2003
Volume 46/Issue 2

Project Articles
Classic Rolltop Desk
Keyed Corner Jewelry Box
Colonial Spice Cabinet

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Basic Techniques for Faceplate Turning
Service Pointers
MARK V Quill Feed Maintenance
Safety Tips
12 Valuable Lathe Safety Tips

What's New
Wall Mounted Storage System for Tables

Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You

National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH

Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Online Replacement Parts Catalog

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MARK V Demo Near You

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Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips

Contacting Shopsmith

Copyright 2003.
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


Ask Smitty No woodworker (except SMITTY, of course) has ALL the answers. From time-to-time, everyone hits a snag, trying to figure out some sort of in-shop problem.
Don't worry, SMITTY can help. Just use the
special e-mail link to send your questions to SMITTY. He’ll do his best to get back to you soon, with the answers to those questions.

Here are the questions . . . and SMITTY’S answers for this issue!

If you're having a problem setting-up, aligning or maintaining your Shopsmith equipment, you should contact Shopsmith's Technical Support Staff (NOT Smitty).
Call TOLL-FREE, 1-800-762-7555 during normal business hours to speak directly with a Shopsmith Technical Support Representative.

Printer friendly PDF copy of article

Placing veneer between layers of turning stock
From Scott Hampton, Visalia, CA, writes:
I have read several articles about turning bowls on wood lathes and would like to know more about it before trying it myself. I have found that most authors of these books and articles recommend placing veneer between the boards that they glue together to create deeper bowls, but they don't say why they do this. Does it create and better bond between the layers of wood, or is it merely for decorative purposes...and you can go without the veneer without any turning problems ? Looking forward to your answer.

This is a purely decorative approach and does not create a stronger bond between the woods. Assembling layers of contrasting woods merely looks “snazzy”.


“Curling” tabletop has man baffled
From Gene, via e-mail:
Some years ago, I built a dining table. For the top, I used an oak plywood sheet and (in accordance with the plans) attached 1 x 4 strips to the plywood sheet using wood screws and glue. In less than a year it appeared that some of the edges of the 1 x 4 strips began to curl and slightly separate from each other. Why did this happen and how, if I decide to build a table using a similar design for the tabletop, can I avoid the same thing happening?

Additionally, I was shown a dining tabletop which was built by creating a frame and strips of wood that were glued edge-to-edge and then fastened inside the frame. I am not sure how this was accomplished, but, once again, the strips are separating and the edges appear to be curling. What am I not understanding?

If the edges are curling up, one of two things are happening. Either the underside is taking on moisture (relative to the top), or the top is loosing moisture (relative to the bottom). Turning all the planks with the annual rings cupping down when you build your next table will hedge the bet toward flatness because, with equal moisture top and bottom, the annual rings tend to straighten. However, we think you have a situation with uneven moisture (obviously). Poly-U is a good sealer, but not even it will prevent cellular moisture loss. From research through the Forest Products Laboratory, no finish totally blocks moisture loss or gain except a thick coat (over 1/16") of paraffin wax.

Your problem has more to do with moisture loss rather than moisture gain, judging by your location. Even wood that is kiln dried to 6% moisture in a mill will loose moisture in the extremely dry desert air of Las Vegas. It may drop to 2% or even less.

Gluing planks edge to edge WITHOUT the plywood underlayment is your best bet. Also finishing the table surfaces equally top and bottom will help a great deal. Quarter-sawn wood is also much more stable (especially in oak) and it will only move half as much as flat or riff sawn boards.

You should add your thickness just around the edges, but your edging MUST follow the grain of the top. In other words, edge grain on the sides and end grain on the ends.

You must not frame the top with solid edge banding or restrict the movement of the wood in any way (such as with plywood). The top will still move, either splitting the top or the corners of the banding. You should also allow for the movement of the top with slotted or oversized screw holes in the table rails or use table-top clips in grooves in the table rails.

How much movement should you allow for? In your area (and only if the tables are going to stay in the desert environment), allow 1/16" per foot of width for quarter-sawn...and 1/8" per foot for flat sawn wood. If you ever plan to move these tables to a damper environment, these dimensions must be doubled.

How do furniture manufacturers get away with banding table tops, you might ask? They use veneers on mdf (or some other stable base)or some companies even vacuum impregnate their solid wood tops throughout with finish (like pressure treated lumber). When cured, all cells are either coated and/or filled with finish and in that way, the top is permanently stabilized. I hope all this helps.

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