Is gluing table top planks better than using pocket hole screws?


That lightweight bar clamp is probably not up to the task as far as clamping the size of lumber you're dealing with. That weight of clamp is more for gluing up face frames/picture frames , drawer construction, or rail/stile cabinet door assemblies.

If you don't want to go higher grade than HF, this one might have a chance of working for you, if you put one every 8-12 inches along the length of the work piece:

36 in. Aluminum Bar Clamp

2 or 3 of these is what you really need for this kind of job (along with some lengths of 3/4 inch pipe, which isn't terribly expensive):

Pipe Clamp - 3/4" Cast Iron Pipe Clamps,2 Piece.

Also for the pipe clamps, as handyone said already, if you need a longer clamp, you can just get more pipe without needing a whole new clamp. Remember that the size on pipe refers to the inner diameter, so don't expect a 3/4" pipe to be 3/4" across on the...

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Do pocket hole screws allow for proper expansion and contraction in planked table tops?

It completely depends on where they're sited. They're perfectly acceptable in some places and utterly wrong in others.

Refer to this previous Question, What general considerations do I need to take into account for wood movement? for more info on that regard with some more useful info in this Answer.

Anywhere a pocket screw (or any other fastener, or glue) restricts the ability of cross-grain wood joints to expand and contract as they need to with changes in internal moisture content you have a problem — either the fastener has to give (breaking or bending) or the wood has to give (breaking free of the fastener or if it can't bowing and/or cracking overall). Slightly off-topic: this is one reason that some hammer-and-nails carpentry can appear to break the rules, it's because nails allow for some movement in part because they're mild steel and can bend a bit.

To give...

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Much useful related info in these previous Questions:
What is a good way to prevent jointed tabletops from bowing when tightening fasteners or the glue sets?
Do pocket hole screws allow for proper expansion and contraction in planked table tops?

Pocket screws are a fast-and-dirty way of joining wood. Where speed is of the essence or clamp numbers are limited what they allow is for clamped-up glued wood joints to have the clamps released as soon as the screws are driven home, since they then act as clamps to keep the joint closed while the glue sets.

I'm leaning towards the pocket holes so I won't have to deal with all the clamping that would be needed.

As you can see from the above there's a problem with the idea that using the pocket screws will save a lot of time here, since to do a good job the tabletop should be clamped up well before the screws are driven home, and if it's clamped anyway why use the screws at all? After all they provide little...

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Step One: Assemble the Table Top

Make your cuts for the table top: 5 - 2x10 @ 53" and 2 - 2x10 @ 47.5" *Tip: Make sure you cut the 47 1/2" end pieces out of one 2x10x8s, or you will not have enough wood for the five middle planks. I also cut my end pieces last, after the middle planks were assembled, to ensure the most accurate length. Lay all of your pieces together and choose which sides you want to be on the "good" side of the table top. Mark where the pocket holes should go with a carpenter's pencil and drill 1 1/2" pocket holes using your Kreg Jig. Assemble the middle planks of the table top using 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and wood glue. Attach the end pieces using 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and wood...

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This question comes from Chris. He writes:

Hey Marc, I love your show. I watch it religiously and have learned so many good techniques. I wanted to know, what is your position on pocket hole joinery in relation to coffee table assembly. I built my first coffee table using a Kreg pocket hole jig to join the apron and legs together. Kreg states in their owner’s manual that a pocket hole is mechanically stronger than a mortise and tenon joint. Do you think pocket hole joinery is cheap sign of craftsmanship? I would like your feedback on what you think of my coffee table design? I have attached a picture of my coffee table.

And here was my reply:
Hi Chris. First off, let me compliment you on your design and craftsmanship. What a beautiful piece. No matter what the underlying joinery is, that is a fantastic design with great execution. Now, concerning pocket hole screws. Remember, joinery can be just as much about taste and opinion as it is about strength and utility....

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These free end table plans are very basic, but create a very useful and handy table. This Shaker table plan has been used for over 150 years, but still works wonderfully in many settings.

These small table plans were designed for the woodworking beginner, and will show you how to build a table with the Kreg pocket hole jig.

Because of their versatility, this Shaker table is an item that sells well.

Page 2 Shows How to Assemble These Free End Table Plans.

Page 2 shows how these
free end table plans are assembled
using the Kreg pocket hole jig
and a simple, spacing jig.

Click here
or on the photo to visit Page 2.

The furniture plans PDF
for these small table plans
is complete.
The link is at the
bottom of the page.

Follow the Step by Step Instructions to Build this End Table.


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This table is a little narrower than I would have liked for it's length (34x72), but it's perfectly sized for the space we are using it in. At 72" long, I would have preferred something closer to 40" wide but this works for us. The top is made from 16" wide soffet boards from a house I helped tear down when I was 10 yrs old (no, it wasn't the house we were living in). The old boards have been in the barn for 40 years and needed to be used. The center painted board is also from the same house.

WARNING: Take appropriate precautions when cutting and sanding old wood with paint on it. Old paint may contain lead. Make sure you do not inhale dust while you are working with painted wood and wash your hands frequently. If you have children who might chew on the wood, it would be best not to use it.

Per usual, I used pocket screws to fasten the table top together after applying glue to the edges. Pic 3 shows the underside of the table. A straight edge clamp and a circular saw...

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Kreg Pocket Jig is one method (one I actually love as I own one).

Making a 15degree hand router slide block is another way to make a pocket bore slot. Both methods are great for flat jointing panels.

Another method if you have a table saw is tongue and groove. A router is beter suited for this if you have a table mounted router. Both allow you to set your cuts to have a flush surface.

Another method uses a Hand router and a jig that creates a slot in both boards and placing a piece of wood like a biscuit but uses a home made jig that clamps to the boards using the router to create the biscuit slot.

Another method if you have a table saw is using a 4" diameter x 1/16 scoring saw that cuts a 1/16 groove in the edge of the board. Then you can use 1/16 edge shavings from the edge of a board to act as the biscuits but as one long continuious biscuit down the length of the board.

Clamps are still a must for any of these methods.

Last is a $45 +...

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1. Does PVC trim require a primer?

A primer is only needed if you want the paint manufacturer’s warranty. Excellent adhesion can be achieved by properly cleaning the board before applying a topcoat of paint to PVC trim. (Refer to painting guidelines in the Versatex contractor handbook for more information on painting PVC trim.)


2. What type of paint do you recommend for coating PVC trim?

Just about any 100% acrylic latex, or 100% acrylic latex with a urethane additive, can be used to achieve superior coating durability and flexibility. Lacquers are not recommended with PVC trim because lacquers are a more brittle coating, and will not flex with any movement in the PVC trim. Paints like Duration by Sherwin Williams, Manor Hall paints by PPG and Moorelife by Benjamin Moore adhere well to PVC trim.

Paint on PVC trim will last three to five times longer than paints on wood or wood composites due to the absence of moisture in the substrate....

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