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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After several years of dropping hints by SWMBO, I have finally got it in my head to start on a dining room table for her. I scored a large quantity of pecan in various widths and thicknesses. I talked with a guy at the local VA clinic and he gave me some tips on how to begin planing the boards. After planing, can a router be used to smooth the edges f or joining? Might use dowels for joining and gluing. Your advice and experience is most welcome.
 

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go to the head of the class...
skip the dowels and do it w/ splines...
use a slotting cutter to cut the spline slots.....

.
 

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Sure. Get a good straight edge...Mdf, ply etc....clamp it to the work leaving a smidge showing and, use a top bearing pattern bit.
Or, use the router table. Set the bit for a 16th or less cut and, bring the out feed fence forward to be flush with the cutter. Use a straight edge to insure it's flush.
Or, simply run the work on edge through the planer....if it's narrow enough. That's my go to method.

Edit...Stick beat me to it...I think. I can't read his pdf on this little kindle screen. But, I surely agree about using splines instead of dowels....or biscuits, for that matter.
 
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Might use dowels for joining and gluing
you know.. dowels over time loosen all on their own...
you make through splines as well as blind...
you do bread boards on your table and you can do through splines...
splines help tremendously w/ alignment, strength, stability, and are easy to do...
 
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I make my splines from hard board and, stop the slots so it doesn't show. I don't bother to conform the splines to the rounded ends of the slot. Why bother? The spline is only for alignment anywho.
 

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I make my splines from hard board and, stop the slots so it doesn't show. I don't bother to conform the splines to the rounded ends of the slot. Why bother? The spline is only for alignment anywho.
Baltic birch make for premium splines...
the spline is way more than just alignment..
 

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True enough, Stick. BB would certainly add stability to an edge joint...if that's needed. My builds are small enough to not need the extra stability. But, an alignment spline is well worth the time. And hard board is cheap.
I did build a 9' long, 30" wide, 2" thick bar top about 20 years ago. Had 2 hard board splines. Last time I was in that place, last year, it was solid as it ever was. But, aside from one end, it was fully supported by the compartments below.
 

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John; years ago I took a router course and the instructor had a slightly different take on the joint thing. He pointed out that if you have the two boards clamped in their proper location against each other and run your router, with a straight bit, down the joint the match will be perfect. Mirror images...doesn't matter if the line isn't perfectly straight.
It's the concept here, not the details; obviously this concept can be refined to a lot of different variables. The point is that the bit is perfectly round anything on one side will be perfectly matched on the other side.
Note; this is for freehand routing...not really applicable to table routing. Those adjustable dadoing jigs that so many members have built would be perfect for this app.

One thing for sure, the bit has to touch both edges at the same time, but you could leave a slight gap between the clamped boards. Obviously less than the bit diameter.
 

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Not tight tight, Randy, the spline and wood are going to swell slightly and you really don't want the spline to act as a wedge, flaring the upper and lower 'flanges' if I can call them that (too late at night; I'm drawing a blank ).
My chair maker friend dials in a .002" clearance on his CNC M&T joints. Nice easy fit.
 

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Is there a formula for how tight the spline fits the groove?
Also wondering if it's useful to use short lengths of spline with 1/4 inch gaps between the pieces for glue squeezeout.
make the slots a 1/16'' over depth... 2ea 9/16'' deep slots get a spline 1'' wide
the splines slide easily into the slots w/ little resistance...
no on the gaps..
if you have that much squeeze out you are using way too much glue.. a painted on thin film of glue in the slots is all you need...

Note:
lightly kant the edges of the spline w/ a sanding block before installing...
 
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Here is another way on the router table. Using double sided tape, stick a piece of Laminex on the out-feed side of the fence with the bit level with it. The thickness of the
Laminex or whatever you use is the thickness that is removed from the work-piece per pass.
 

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Here is another way on the router table. Using double sided tape, stick a piece of Laminex on the out-feed side of the fence with the bit level with it. The thickness of the
Laminex or whatever you use is the thickness that is removed from the work-piece per pass.
That works well if you don't have a split fence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Many, many thanks for all the replies to my question! To answer, stick's question- I have no idea where I have been or even where I am now! Will do some research on Youtube and check the various links given here. I have put it off for about 6 years so there is no hurry. But don't ask SWMBO about the time frame in question.
I have looked at table tops in restaurants. Some are edge-to-edge and others are cut strips and are glued on their sides with the thin part vertical and the thick part horizontal. So many things to consider. I guess I'll ask her. That should solve that mystery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I looked at the link in #2 and couldn't make heads or tails out of it. The later link by stick was more clear as to the steps, dimensions, etc.
 
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