View Full Version : joining oak wood boards

12-03-2008, 03:51 PM
Hello. Iím looking to make a small desk. The lumber yard only sells 3/4 inch thick oak boards in 8 inch and 12 inch widths. What is the best/easiest way to glue the eight inch and twelve inch boards together so I get a 20 inch width desk? Is Elmers Wood Glue okay for this? The desktop dimensions will be 48 x 20. Thanks! Steve

Mark SBG
12-03-2008, 05:52 PM
First, edge joint one edge and plane the other. This will give you straight and parallel edges. If you are limited on tools, you can do the same thing by ripping the boards on the table saw. You will likely want to rip the boards regardless of the method you use. If you buy 8" boards, you will want to rip to 20"/3 or approximately 6 11/16" widths. If you buy 12" boards, you will rip them to 10"

Second, I would install biscuits with a biscuit joiner every 8 to 12 inches on the edges.

Glue the biscuits and edges together with a good quality wood glue. I personally prefer Tite Bond II, but Elmers wood glue should do fine.

Clamp the boards together making sure there are no vertical shifts in the boards. (The biscuits should prevent too much movement.)

If you have a planer that is 20" or more wide, I would plane the whole assembly together after the glue dries to the desired thickness. If your planer is less than 20" wide, the boards should be planed before they are glued. If you don't have a planer, you will be stuck with the thickness that you buy. Any variation in the thickness will show up when you join them and you will have to sand it flat.

Alternatively, you can buy veneered plywood and edge band it...

12-03-2008, 06:09 PM
Welcome to the forum :)

If it were me, I would use plywood for a desk rather than gluing up a bunch of boards.... more stable, cheaper, and easier to work. Use the solid oak to trim the edges so it looks like it was made from solid oak boards.

12-03-2008, 07:32 PM
I agree with MarC - plywood is THE way to do large flat surfaces unless you like handling all the wood movement issues & such. Plywood's simple, looks right, is easy to work with, and already comes in larger panels than you need. Trim the edges with oak solids & nobody'll ever be the wiser... except that the desk will probably last longer.

-- Tim --

Member of the
Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial
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12-04-2008, 08:26 AM
Not to mention it'll cost a fortune to purchase all the oak hardwood needed for the desk from a big box store.

Plywood and solid oak trim will look nice I'm sure.


12-04-2008, 08:35 AM
The plywood idea is a good one, especially if you don't have access to tools like jointers and planers.

As to a glued up panel, my preference is to glue up a panel wider than I need then cut it to final size as opposed to ripping individual boards to incremental widths prior to glue up. It may seem wasteful to glue up, say, 3 eight inch wide boards, only to rip four inches off of one edge to get a 20 inch wide panel, but it allows me to determine exactly what part of the panel to use for the final piece. I may decide to make two cuts, say remove an inch or so from one edge, then set up to cut the final width removing material from the other edge. This helps to hide the glue lines (if I have done a decent job of grain matching) since each board is a different width. Note that this is not generally an issue since I buy my lumber skip planed on the faces and in random widths without the edges being surfaced.

12-04-2008, 08:46 AM
>The lumber yard
>only sells 3/4 inch thick oak boards in 8 inch and 12 inch
>widths. What is the best/easiest way to glue the eight inch
>and twelve inch boards together so I get a 20 inch width

Do you not have a tablesaw, or some facility to rip boards to a desired width? Is that why you're trying to work with only the board widths offered by the lumber yard?

If you don't have a tablesaw, it would be helpful if you could mention what tools (power or hand) you do have onhand to use for the project.