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Major mistake in table design

Some of you may remember a lengthy thread I posted back in August - November 2012 following the progress of my table build.


Well, I am back to admit a major flaw in my design and I hope no one has repeated it.  I thought it was a great idea to cut a recess in the solid wood table top to hold a Corian "cutting board".  After a year exposed on the deck it turns out that was not a good idea.  Every time I tried a low-n-slow it seemed like the rains came and turned the recess into a table top lake.  Even when covered it seemed rain found a way into that recess.  Eventually the moisture caused the table top to split.





I acquired a solid piece of Corian from a kitchen remodel and remade the entire top from it.  Now I have more "cutting board" space to work with and no concerns about water collecting in the recess and splitting the table top.




  • I like!!!!
    Jefferson .GA.  
    Been egging since 1985 on a medium egg
  • Live and learn - thanks for sharing your knowledge.  New table looks great!
    "If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots." - NdGT

    "The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand." - DT

  • Are you sure it was the water collection? A jointed top that width will undergo anywhere from 1/4" to 1" of dimension change depending on the species. 
    Classic mistake of many new woodworkers (not suggesting you are) is to put end caps on a table top like you have, with the end cap grain at 90º to the grain in the top. The wood will only shrink across the grain so as the top shrinks the end cap remains the same length. Result is a broken joint. 
    I wonder if the Corian insert actually split the top, it does not shrink as the top does. 

    The new top looks great, good recovery. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,326
    I'm unfamiliar with Corian, it doesn't dull knife edges?  
    Regardless, the new top is beautiful!  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 1,366
    Botch said:
    I'm unfamiliar with Corian, it doesn't dull knife edges?  
    Regardless, the new top is beautiful!  
    Corian will definitely dull your knives.
    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, SMALL, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,191
    me think it's the snugly fit corian expansion that split it? anyway, new top looks much nicer and cleaner! 
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 2,650
    Very clean looking table- nice
    Greensboro, NC
  • ETBeeETBee Posts: 46

    It's possible the Corian insert caused the split.  I assumed it was water because there was some discoloration in spots around the recess.  I thought I left sufficient gaps around the insert to handle contraction but perhaps I underestimated.

    I did not put end caps on the table top nor did I attach it firmly to the base.  I already made that mistake and learned from it a few years ago.  I attached it using "figure 8" clips so expansion and contraction of the top should not have torn it apart.

    I imagine anything other than end-grain wood will dull high quality knives, but I don't own any high quality knives anyway.  Referring to it as "cutting board" is probably misleading.  It's more of a heat resistant work surface for my purposes.

  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,064
    edited February 2014
    Don't sweat it, my table was done by a professional and it split. Always covered too! I'll call it character...but it split to the right of the small.

    photo IMG_0822.jpg

    I don't have a pic of the split...but you can see I have a recessed insert too.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • flynnbobflynnbob Posts: 647
    Thanks for this.  I am going to make a table out of an old gas grill and this may be the ticket. I am going to take the lid off, cover the top with something, and use as a rolling prep / storage table. I figured that it would take a fellow Tech grad to come up with a novel idea!  Any idea on how to adhere Corian to stainless?
    Milton, GA.
  • Where are all the Dawg fans with the Ga Tech engineering jokes?? Come on y'all - this is an easy one! I'm just kidding @ETBee. I really like the new table top. Looks very clean. Still trying to figure out what kind of table to try to build. Whatever I do, I can tell already your skills are way above mine.
    LBGE; Adjustable Rig
    Delaware County, PA
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 8,046
    @ETBee - nice and clean looking table but be careful putting anything over 212* on it, that is the non repairable heat level for corian or any other solid surface counter material.


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    @ETBee...where you at?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • QDudeQDude Posts: 667
    I think that your original premise is correct - water got in the trough and it eventually worked through the finish causing the crack.  A couple of other reasons that will cause cracking are:

    1.  Not finishing each side of the top in the same manner - same sanding and number of protective coats.

    2.  The grain needs to be alternated between each piece that is glued together.  If the end grain on one board is pointed up, then the next piece should be pointed down.  Alternate these and this will help to minimize cupping and eventually splitting.

    In the end, even when you do everything right, some wood will split.  It is just the nature of wood and being outside exposed to the elements just makes the problem worse.

    A northern Colorado Egghead since 2012!

    XL and a Small BGE.

  • ETBeeETBee Posts: 46
    henapple said:
    @ETBee...where you at?
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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