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Coffee Table - Big Mistake!

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steve h08/07/2010 23:34:50
403 forum posts
128 photos
Firstly I would like to apologise for not having been on the forum for quite some time, it comes down to the culmination of 2 and half years of designing and having had built a brand new facility for the company I work for.  We just moved in at the begiining of June and have been settling in since - although time afforded to my hobby has been very limited!
Just as well really considering the whopping mistake I have made with my coffee table and I would like some advice - PLEASE!
I made the tabletop oversize, about 20mm over all the round round and had decided to profile the edge - I did and hated it, so decided to cut it off - Mistake No:1
Now the top was to small - ok I will add some lipping, I was looking at do some contrasting inlay with a maple drawer front, now maple lipping with the matching drawer.
Mistake No:2 I made the lipping, but the top is solid oak, so how do I attach the ends?
I decided to miller dowel the ends onto the bonded side lipping, but I now fear that when the wood expands, It will crack the joints.  I have only dowelled the ends, but fear my mistake is to big.
Have I caused myself a huge issue, or can I get away with it - the main issue eitherway is that I have ruined many hours of work and if it ever gets the opportunity to adorn our living room, I will always see all the mistakes I have made!
Maybe I should stick to what I know - which I have decided is not a lot!
Mike Jordan09/07/2010 08:33:55
160 forum posts
17 photos
Hi Steve
DONT JUMP! I'm going to talk you down!
Ive spent hours carefully crafting something for the rubbish bin, so have most of us who do handwork of any kind. You have already spotted the potential failings before putting the item into use so nothing is really lost, and no blood soaked bandages are involved!
 Why not make a new oak top and recycle the existing one on some future project?
It's not a whopping mistake, just a slight change of plan.
As a rule -"Those who have never made a mistake haven't made much at all"  
Best of Luck
Woodworker09/07/2010 11:28:29
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Hi Steve, and welcome back!
I'd just like to second what Mike has already said. You must have done most of the hard work when building the under-frame which, if I've got the right end of the stick, is still fine. The last thing you want to do is have to look at those errors when trying to relax in the evening! A new top sounds like the best idea for sure. 
Sparky09/07/2010 12:27:59
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Hi Steve & welcome back too
I totally agree with Mike & Ben but, I certainly would do something first that the others have not mentioned..............
Once that is done, you can have a better frame of mind, trust me, laughing at it is 100% better than crying over it

Now, the new top idea sounds great and you still get to use the old wood for a new project.......2 birds come to mind

Good luck mate and keep smiling...........your dead a long time!
Dominic Collings09/07/2010 16:46:19
47 forum posts
9 photos
Doesn't sound like much of a problem to me unless I'm missing something. Presumably the front edge lippjng will run with the grain so no problem there. You say you profiled the edge and once cut off it's too small. By this do you mean it's too small to cover the top at all or does it cover the top with little or no over hang? It must have been a major router bit to eat up 20mm all the way around. There are several options I can think of If it does cover to top consider changing the design so the to is flush with the sides. I've just made a computer desk with a top like this. I added a chamfer to create an artificial shadow line do it doesn't look odd. Consider bread boarding the ends by reducing the width of the top further still and adding ends to the current top. There are plenty of solutions without spending on extra stock. Do you have pictures?
Brian Barber09/07/2010 21:42:44
160 forum posts
244 photos
Hi Steve,
don`t worry about it - there are no mistakes in woodwork, only opportunities. I have been there many times. The way I work is that things just develop as they go along and this is fairly typical of the problems that I encounter all the time ( don`t tell anyone though). I don`t think maple lipping goes with oak, so I would replace it with oak (again). A breadboard edge is fine on the end grain, using biscuits will give a really good joint. Oak lippings along the long edges will look ok and maybe a simple square edge is all that is needed to make a really elegant table.
Hope this helps
Toothy10/07/2010 16:34:25
458 forum posts
67 photos
Hi Steve
Been there done it
Just haven't recycled the top yet
Revise your plans and make a new top It is far better than having to make a new frame
steve h13/07/2010 19:36:36
403 forum posts
128 photos
I find myself apologising a lot these days, for never having the time for anything, 101 good intentions, with only enough time to actually deliver a few.
Thank you all very much for your thoughts, knowledge and inspiration, when sometimes you wish you could just walk away from it all, put it in the woodburner & start again.
I have decided to remake the top and see how it goes, although all the best timber has already been used, so it may not be that great and being a little tight on budgets these days, additional timber purchases are not an option.
Thanks again guys - I will add some more pictures - next week - if I get the chance!
Darren Loucaides 104/08/2010 10:21:40
31 forum posts
18 photos
1 articles
Look out for a version of this discussion in GW231's Maker's Notes section.
Mailee04/08/2010 11:49:20
1048 forum posts
1235 photos
Now I may have this wrong but from what you have described couldn't you just remove the dowels from the end pieces and then elongate the holes in the end of the table top to allow the wood to expand and contract? It would be better with a picture to see the end pieces. Just a thought. HTH.
steve h07/08/2010 21:26:11
403 forum posts
128 photos
Time flys when you are having fun!
I cannot believe it was a month ago since I made this initial posting - I have gone away, pondered what to do - decided to start the whole coffee table from scratch, but have decided to cut up the orginal top and make it into a small table come stool.
This was very much completed, for a little sanding and finishing, but holidays beckoned and I have not had chance.
So, by the end of this week - I promised SWMBO to have it finished   I will have to add some pictures of my little table - nothing fancy or complicated, (not that I can do fancy or complicated!) I just wanted to use up the timber.
I had selected some oak for the new top and had bonded this prior to the holiday! 
I do have to remake the frame as well now, as this got damaged accidently and had to be thrown away - oh well - only 15 hours work or so!
Ged Meager08/08/2010 16:02:52
222 forum posts
Been there seen it done it got the T shirt etc etc. Make a new top is your only realistic cure Mabe change it shape to oval etcthink ten times cut once cheaper that way
woodturner ged
Ron Davis09/08/2010 14:45:19
1614 forum posts
201 photos
Read this months The Woodworker, mine came today, and read the thread again , with Andy's comments
Sparky09/08/2010 16:35:54
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Crikey Ron, how did you get The Woodworker so fast?
I've only just got the lastest issue (231) of  Good Woodworking!
Darren Loucaides 109/08/2010 16:58:18
31 forum posts
18 photos
1 articles
I think Ron means Good Woodworking 231 and Andy King's comments, which are on p27 in Maker's Notes.

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