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Ron Dudelston

Table Skirt - I Need Some Advice

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This week I'm going to start a project for my sister's church.  They are replacing their pews with padded chairs (good choice I might add) but to smooth the feathers of a few members they want to build a 4 foot circular communion table out of a the straight backs of some of the pews.  I'm hoping that the backs are solid oak or I'll be gluing some edging.  Anyway, I want to put a 3" or so skirt under the top so I need your thoughts.  How would you folks do it?  I'm thinking about making the skirt about 1/2" thick and kerf cutting the back side to make it bendable.  How far apart should I make the cuts?  I think I'll inset the skirt about 2" in from the edge so the skirt will be about 44" in diameter.  Y'all got any ideas?

 

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Here's a link that has some calculations on kerf bending- http://www.woodworkingspecialops.com/page2.htm


 


I guess it could be steam bent, but that would probably have to be done in sections unless you had a 12 foot steam box.

 

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My thoughts would be to rip 3" to 4"  wide strips about 1/4" thick  and then run them through the planner or thickness sander down to 1/8".  Laminate them on a home made form. Make the radius a litter to allow for spring back.   You may have to do it in 3 or 4 piece.  If you are using legs close to the edge of the table you can hide them in the leg morttise..   I would use a Urea type glue so you have a longer working time.  You then could run one edge over the jointer  and rip the other on a table saw.  By doing it this way you can tell them that everything is made out of the pews.


Good luck.

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Morning Ron,


 


If this were my project I'd take a couple of hours and build a steam chamber and bend the skirt pieces.  The one in this link is pretty easy and inexpensive to build.


 


The main reason I'd go with this approach is that cutting kerfs is time consuming and a real guessing game for determining the placement and depth of each kerf.  The goal is to make kerfs often enough and deep enough to produce a smooth curve.  My kerf bending experience has always resulted in a series of arc-chords (little short segments of flat) rather than a smooth curve.  Bending the skirts would produce beautiful smooth curves for you.


Another approach would be to build some plywood curved forms and applying oak veneer onto them.  The forms would be cut on a band saw and could be any thickness and depth you found appropriate and pleasing for the table.


 


Good luck on this project.  It's always good to be able to reuse nice material rather than sending it to the landfill or burn pile.


 


Please post pictures as you work through and complete this wonderful table,


George

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Ron

I made a small round lamp table for our livingroom. What I did on the skirt was to lay out the pieces for the curves, laminate them together then cut them out on the band saw. worked out good for me. Here is a photo of the dry fit. I also inset the legs a little so the skirt travels all the way around and is almost seamless. Hope this helps.

roundskirt.jpg

To attach the top, I drill straight down the bottom of the skirts and used glue and screws. That way they were hidden. You may need to to attach a thinner skirt with pocket screws.

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That is the only way I know of Ron, unless you use maybe 1/4" wood and steam it so it will bend or I would put the kerfs about 1/4" apart, wish you good luck. Let us know how it turns out and what method you use.


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I've been playing and it looks like the easiest way to do this is to plane the strips to an 1/8 inch, make an mdf jig to form the ring and laminate the circle.  I'll make a photo journal as I go along.  Thanks for the advice guys!

 

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Look up the Kerfkore Company. Thier product may help as far as bending properly. They have a www.kerfkore.com address. Not that you cant' kerf cut it your self. They will send you free samples and you will see why this is a well engineered product for end result. they have a bendable real oak veneer. Available through Wurth. If you do it yourself the kerf width of your table saw makes a differance. Then also the thickness of your stock. Real wood grain runs vertical. You should spend some reasonable time in engineering a backing and method of attachment. I have some 1/2" bendable with 1/8" saw kerf spaced 3/8" apart. I like to use the frame in my cold press. I also use the frame to inset an identical curved dado or mortise in the tops under side your skirt will inset to. I would use web frame construction with the backing incorporated. If this is your first rodeo at steam I would think twice. There is defiantly a ruling  learning curve. If you make your own kerf item it is very easy to make a jig that spaces like a box joint fixture. Now in this event you can change the rules some. Your grain can run horizontal by using veneer. I would cold press my kerfed substrate with a backing veneer as well. The substrate has a finish side front and you can veneer over that in the vacuum press. The web site for Kerfkore has some videos that if any thing will inspire you.

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For the baby bed I just did I did the curved top by laminating 3 pieces of oak each about 1/4" thick over a particle board form.  It was the first time I'd done it and it went fairly easy.  You are probably working with a smaller radius so going thinner might be better.

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