Failure & Wisdom

With the two huge slabs sufficiently flat, I was eager to apply glue and bust out the long clamps. Fortunately, my beard accumulated a touch more gray since my last large panel glue up. Therefore, I spent a full night’s time (typically 90 minutes for me) carefully jointing, checking, heaving, jointing, checking, and heaving again the slabs’ mating edges. I paid special attention to the gap and the exact grain match of the sap wood. I knew I’d be looking at this joint for many decades and the last thing I want to stare at during Sunday Sauce is an unsightly seam. One helpful note if you decide to glue up somethings this wide is to alternate the clamps. I normally don’t worry about this but I had a helluva time keeping the panel from warping at first. Then I reversed the long parallel clamps from the top to the bottom and everything flattened out.

Now came the “innovative” portion of the project: the “bookmatching” of the side profiles and the end grain. Reference the previous post for details but I’ll try to explain it in pictures as well. I’d already made cuts 1 and 2 on the sides and set them aside. With the top glued up I could use the final dimensions to make cuts 3 and 4.

With lots of clamps and lots of glue I used the cabinetmakers triangles to line up the pieces on the end grain.

At this point, I feared my original plan wasn’t going to work out. But I kept chugging along by removing a tiny bit of the bottom end pieces to make room for the entire side pieces (cuts 1 and 2) I’d removed previously. I knew in my heart though, this plan was doomed.

I never anticipated the four “quadrants” created by the end grain – especially when viewed from either end of the table. I thought they’d meet up a lot better but they didn’t. I’ve created the illustration below to try and explain because I just realized I never got a picture of this during the build (Freud would insert something about my subconscious or childhood here). It was one of those times that you just walk out of the shop because you realized you needed to hit the drawing board again.


When I removed the clamps and cleared my head I tried to focus on the positive: the sides looked fabulous (you’ll see a picture in a future post). The joint was tight and the gain match was spot on. But I knew I couldn’t look at the janky ends any more than I could look at an crappy center seam. Breadboards would look good so I set off to review some designs and made a trip to the lumber yard for 8/4 walnut. That’s where we’ll pick up next time.

About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
This entry was posted in Dining Table, Home Improvement, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Failure & Wisdom

  1. tombuhl says:

    Great storytelling. At this rate you’ll rapidly become a wise old man. Just keep exploring, messing up and learning.

    Liked by 1 person

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