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    creating table tops

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  1. Live edge slabs actually aren't that popular any more, at least not in my industry. It used to be everyone wanted one, that fad I feel like only lasted maybe a year. People still think they're cool and some are still buying them, but I've seen that business almost drop off completely. The bases we make go to all types of applications, reclaimed wood, "farm house" tables, slabs, even stone and glass tops. I've got a few tops here a local company gave to me as a trade for some bases, most of them are 1-1/4" thick, and our standard bases easily pull those flat (they all are slightly cupped, I don't trust the quality of this company), but I have a top that's 2-1/2" thick and another book-matched double live edge top that is also about 2-1/2" thick, this one isn't so much cupped, more like "v'd", like each slab is straight, but they both are angled at the seam where they are joined. These thicker slabs I can't get those pulled flat, if I put a very stout base under them, the screws just strip the wood, or snap. Guess I could use lag bolts, haven't tried that yet. They're not bad, maybe 3/8" from outer edge to center over 36" or so. I just can't get them to budge.
  2. Ok good, that's pretty much what I've been telling people. So if you make a top that's pretty seriously cupped, it needs to be scrapped and re-made? I'm glad I don't do woodworking. You guys must have a lot of patience!
  3. Title may be a little mis-leading, but I manufacture metal bases for table tops, I don't do any of the woodworking myself. I get questions quite a bit asking things like: Are your bases sturdy enough to keep my top flat? or other questions along those same lines. Hoping you guys can clarify some things for me, and hopefully I haven't been giving people ignorant answers. But if I'm not mistaken, tops should be made in a way where they don't need to rely on the base to keep them flat, correct? We put slots for the mounting holes so the wood can freely expand and contract over the bases. Sometimes I'll have people tell me they have a top that cupped a lot, like a couple inches over a 48" width and they want me to make a base to pull it flat. Is this a reasonable solution? There's a lot to this wood movement issue that I don't know much about, if a top warps, does that mean it was made improperly? I had a customer who told me when they started making tops, they used to finish 3 sides, but not the bottom to save time, and all their tables cupped, but they don't really have that issue anymore once they started finishing all 4 sides. Thanks for any help you can give me!
  4. Here ya go: Dirt cheap, swivel, and have a brake. 200# capacity each. I use these quite a bit for customers who want their bases on casters. I actually use the threaded stem casters, but I think these would work better for you? They're pretty small, so you don't really get wobble issues with these. Smaller casters are harder to roll, but they're typically more rigid and stronger. If you're looking for something a little fancier, go to and pick something out there. I have a $600 store credit with them. Long story. I won't give you the casters for free, but I could work out a nice deal with you, just to recoup some of my credit for actual cash. This offer goes for anyone BTW.
  5. About a year ago I was cutting out a 3" hole through 1/2" thick aluminum plate on a mill. Vice wasn't big enough to grab it as it was a 12" square. I was too lazy to properly clamp it to the mill table so I just held up against the vice to keep it from spinning with my hand. Basically it was on the flat part of the machine vice (Kurt vice of you're familiar with them) and the end was up against the vice jaws. I was actually wearing leather gloves too, which is a big no no. Well something bumped and it lifted the piece high enough to be able to rotate freely and it pulled my hand with it. If you've ever seen the accident pictures from mills and lathes, you know this same situation has killed many. I was very lucky. My hand was stopped by the other end of the vice, hit at just the right spot where it jammed my finger nail back into my finger. At the ER he said there was no finger nail in there, but it wasn't in my glove and I had two nails growing out for a while. I think I'm finally down to just one nail now, I kept picking off the second nail. It sounds painful but I didn't feel a thing. Still can't in that finger.
  6. Have you ever tapped anything over 1/4-20? You can tap a 1/4-20 hole with an electric drill. I used to do a job that required 3/4-10 tapped holes. Actually had no load on it, just needed to be that size so the bolt could be drilled out through the axis and a spring a plunger go inside it. I had a tap wrench with 12" handles, but I remember I could barely get through one hole. I ended up drilling the hole only 1/16" smaller than 3/4", which it made it much easier to tap. But again, no load on it, so I didn't need the strength from the threads. Your situation is different. Just remember, on a tap that large, it is absolutely crucial you start the tap off straight. If you start at even a slight angle, you're screwed. Lube it up too. Lots of tapping fluid! Good luck getting those bolts out too. They're probably a grade 8. If they're not, and you can easily drill through them, that's why they sheared. Replace them with grade 8 bolts. If they are indeed grade 8, you'll need cobalt drill bits ($$$). Definitely something I wouldn't look forward to. Good luck!
  7. There isn't a secret math formula for cutting 45's. Based on the amount of overhang, here's my stab at what happened: You tilted the base plate on your saw to be at a 45 degree angle and used the normal notch line on the plate to cut on the line you marked, but you didn't realize that the blade no longer cuts true to this line when the plate isn't set to 90 degrees. I could show you the math on this one if you're interested, but basically that notch line usually marks right at the center of the cut. So if the plate is moved to 45 degrees, you will have half of the material thickness sticking out past the marked line. If that's 3/4" lumber, I would bet your top piece is 3/4" too long (3/8" per side), correct? Next time either do a little math to figure out exactly where the blade will cut based on a reference mark, or line up the actual blade with the marked line. There's nothing wrong with using construction lumber and minimal tools for quick projects. Don't expect it to last a lifetime, but it's still fun to make. Heck in this day and age you can probably sell that stuff for more than what real furniture is selling for! Just call it reclaimed and add an extra 0 to the price.
  8. My recommendations would be to one: make sure water has a way to exit the tubing. Water will get in there no mater what you do. Even if the outside is completely sealed, condensation will accumulate on the inside of the tubes and it will rot from the inside out. If you plan to drill straight through the tubing to screw the boards down, instead of welding flanges or tabs on the side of the frame flush with the top, make sure you leave a few extra holes with no screws. Those holes with the screws will clog up fast from small rust flakes. The other big thing is to incorporate leveling feet into the bottom. I like to weld a square cap on the bottom of the legs and drill and tap the center for leveling feet. If you just weld two sides of the cap, that leaves the other two open to allow for water the exit the legs, and the seam is barely noticeable. Leveling also have the added feature that they lift the metal off the ground slightly, so it's not sitting in rain on rainy days. You probably don't have to worry about freezing or snow, does it snow in Australia? I don't know what the climate is like there, but around here if you're by the ocean, it's almost necessary everything outdoor be made from aluminum or stainless, since the saltwater and humidity will eat away at steel frames in no time at all. Otherwise this project is about as simple as it gets. Good luck!
  9. What are your plans for the metal base? That's the only area I can help you with.
  10. I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. you make 1000 tops every week that are out of square? Your first post said you let it slide if it's an order of 150 that are out of square. Or were you referring to letting 1 out of 150 slide? Aside from that, do you know the brand and/or model number of those retractable drop cords in your shop? You like them? I can't find any that work well.
  11. My OP was a bit misleading, I don't sell completed tables, only the metal bases. I have dozens of local customers that sell tables, and I can almost guarantee they wouldn't buy from me if I was also selling tables. But occasionally someone will come in and insist that I supply the completed table, not just the base. I usually refer people to this customer since I think he's the easiest to work with and his prices are right, but I'll start sending people elsewhere if his work is a little sketchy. I'll probably just bring it up with him. All the tops I have were ordered at the same time, so who knows, it could be a new guy that had just started working there that messed some stuff up.
  12. I make metal bases for tables, and I have a local woodworking shop who is a good customer and I have a pretty good relationship with him. Anyone coming in looking for a referral on who to make the tops I send to him. Anytime I need wood for a project, I buy it from him as well and he buys all his bases from me. I've never really checked his work, just mounted it and sent it off. I have about 5 tables setup in my showroom that I recently started noticing little things. Honestly, none of these issues would bother me if I were the customer, but I don't want to be sending customers his way if his work is sub-par. I attached a couple pictures of what I'm noticing. First, and this is probably the worst, the table tops aren't square. That is a shop-built square in the picture that was precision ground and powder coated, it's been double checked with other squares, so it's definitely square. The table is off square by almost 1/4" over 20". It's not a crazy amount, and it's barely noticeable without the square put up against there. But I feel like keeping two edges square should be pretty easy, correct? All of the tables I have are off square by about this much at least on one side. Some of them have 1 square side, and the other is off. The next problem I noticed is what looks like little chatter marks in the wood. I noticed this because it's the same finish that shows up when there's chatter when we polish stainless when running it through a Timesaver. I would assume this is the same problem caused by their wide belt sander? Is this chatter, or is that just part of the character of the wood? Let me know if I'm totally off track here, and this looks fine compared to typical woodworking standards. Like I said, I don't mind the issues myself if I were buying a table, but I have some high end, very picky customers, and it looks bad on me if I refer them to someone who does a sub-par job. Hm... Wouldn't let me upload pictures. Try this:
  13. Aluminum extruded I-Beams are commonly used as light weight straight edges. Extruded aluminum has some of the best dimensional tolerances of any metal profile. We're not talking .001" accuracy, but you don't need that kind of accuracy anyway, and if you do, you would need to be looking at Starrett straight edges. Honestly, I would just find an extruded aluminum profile that works for your application. Angle would work, but might be a little too flimsy. Aluminum I-Beam is expensive, if you can find some cheap that's the best option. Otherwise any square or box profile works pretty well as a straight edge. Not sure where you're located, if you near Illinois I have a couple suppliers I could refer you to. Otherwise just check eBay. As previously mentioned, 80/20 parts are readily available and pretty inexpensive and they're pretty straight. You don't need an 8' straight edge to check the straightness of an 8' length. If you have a 6' straight edge, that will work very well at double checking the straightness of a length of material.
  14. Could be, who knows. here I go jumping to conclusions again. I'd need to see a picture or something of the crack to make a good judgement. either way, I still don't think it's wise to weld something as a beginner where if your weld failed, someone could be killed.
  15. I'd bet my wife your weld didn't do any more than some hot glue would have done. You should have just used some Bondo, or JB Weld. Would've looked better. Vehicle frames take much less of a beating than you would think. Next time you're under a vehicle look at some of the manufacturers welds. Automobile frames have some of the worst welding in industry done on them. Not sure why it's that way, but it doesn't matter the make or model, all the frame welds suck.