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Old 02-17-2017, 12:08 AM   #1
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Farmhouse Table Questions


Hi, I am building a farmhouse table for the first time and had a couple questions. I've attached a picture for reference.

1. Plans call for pocket hole screws to join all of the "planks" on the table top together. Should I be worried about expansion/contraction? I read up a little bit on this and some have suggested not joining the planks together at all, but just doubling up on screws from the apron and legs into the tabletop and breadboards into the table top.
1a. The same source suggested making the breadboards a hair wider than the tabletop to allow for expansion/contraction. Is this necessary?

2. I purchased most of my wood about a week ago, but realized I needed an extra board for the tabletop. I don't think the board is fully dry as you can tell when you hold lumber. Should I be worried about this if I am beginning to build in around 36 hours? Will the stain take? Am I overthinking?
I am using all untreated wood, by the way.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:56 AM   #2
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


You ask about expansion / contraction.

If the tabletop was glued together, would the boards expand / contract separately?

NO. And the pocket screw method is similar to gluing, so no problem either.

But if the planks are not fully dried, there might be a little more shrinkage, do you have a moisture meter?

It will tell you if all your material is suitable at this time to build with.

That is going to be a great looking table. I like the idea.


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Old 02-17-2017, 06:36 AM   #3
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


And if the wood shrinks it will give it a little character. Farmhouse tables were originally built to be functional, not fine furniture.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:31 AM   #4
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


Gluing the planks together will be fine. The problem could arise with the breadboard ends as they are shrinking in a different direction than the main slab.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:24 AM   #5
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


I built a top to a cabinet like that kitchen table top many years ago.. used pocket screws maybe even some glue, maybe not, and it has held together just fine...

It was kind of a quick get something on there job but from what I recall the only real hassle with it was keeping the boards flush as I screwed in the pocket screws in... having the right clamps etc will prevent that..

Should look real nice when you are done..
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:32 PM   #6
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


Thanks everyone! Sounds like I'm thinking too much!
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:04 PM   #7
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


Historically to allow for top expansion and contraction some type of fastener into the aprons was used. This clip example screwed to the top underside and went into a groove in the aprons.

All bets are off on your farm table.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:17 PM   #8
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


And then there is one of my sons that's an absolute Kreg screw nut. This table he built is from old barn wood he salvaged and has nothing but Kreg screws holding it together. Rock solid and he isn't a person to be concerned with small things like expansion and contraction.
Yep, those are 2x4s when they were 2X4.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:37 PM   #9
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


Looks like I will be taking your son's route then.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: Farmhouse Table Questions


Then there was this small Trestle table at my daughter's house that looked like a wreck pulled from a dumpster dive. I didn't ask. Frame joints in terrible condition and the particle board top was loose from pulled screws but the top surface had nice laminate.

Kreg's quickly solved the frame problem but now for that loose top, and screws through the cleats into particle board were useless. So let's revert back to bout 1953 as a 7th grader and remember that kraft paper solution to turn a cherry wood bowl. Yes Sir, a brown paper grocery bag. Cut 2 one inch paper strips for each of the two cleats and glued the cleats to the top's bottom with Elmer's.

The top can't be pulled off but f it ever needs to be taken off the top pops off from the paper joint cleats with a butcher knife and a mallet. The paper splits in half its thickness.

I like rehabilitating old things someone has given up on.
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