Seasonal Movement & Top Attachment

BLOG_2567This past week I had an extra hour in the shop, so I decided to assemble one of the Shaker stands that we’re building at each of the stops on The Woodworking Shows – the next stop is in Detroit. (If you’re within driving distance, please stop in and say hello.)

Our second afternoon session at the shows is a discussion and demonstration of how the stand’s top is cut and attached. Back in the day, you would see tops sometimes attached with nails or wooden pegs driven down through the top into the aprons below. That, of course, often lead to splits in the top as it expanded and contracted during seasonal changes – or tried to. Restricting movement, as we now better understand (and experience more do to the tightly closed homes in which we live and the forced hot air systems that we use to warm our houses), is not something to be ignored.

Today, we make adjustments for wood movement. On our stand we’re using wooden clips or buttons to do the job. We screw the top to the front rail, then use clips at the sides and back to allow seasonal movement – there’s no restriction.

BLOG_2568Why screw the front? Screws hold fast. This allows the front or show area of the stand to remain consistent while any movement is directed toward the back. This is where the wooden clips come into play.

During our show sessions, we show a fascinating technique for cutting the wooden clips or buttons. Plus, we talk about a number of ways to fit the clips in place. We discuss using a biscuit joiner, mortiser and a third option that is shown in the opening photo – using a router setup. This is easily accomplished when working on a small project, but you quickly discover that it’s not such a great choice when the project grows significantly is size.

See when The Woodworking Shows are close to you. With a stronger focus on woodworking instruction and information, these shows are a great value for any woodworker.

Build Something Great!


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