How to glue up wood table tops

One of the most basic things you can learn how to do in wood working is the glue up of two pieces of wood. There are various reasons why you would glue up wood. Glue is the hold all with any woodworking project

Check out my post “Different types of wood glue for your woodworking project”

Top 3 applications for glue ups:

  • Table tops
  • Joints
  • Cutting boards


Choosing the best wood for the job

Picking out the best wood is key to any woodworking project. Choosing boards with end grains that run vertical are best when gluing up tops. This cuts down one your table top bowing or cupping.

Check out my post on “How to select the right wood for your project”

Check the board cup?

When I glue up boards I like to check the cup of each board. I typically try to arrange the boards so that the cups are opposite of each other. In theory this method is used so that after time the entire piece is working together to keep the top nice and flat.

Glue squeeze out?

Applying enough glue to the joint is extremely important. Glue squeeze out is just that. The glue that squeezes out of the joint after the boards are clamped together. I personally like to have a hefty squeeze out so that I know the entire edge is covered. Before the squeeze out dries you can use a wet cloth to wipe the excess glue off. If there is any remaining glue after the joint has dried you can use a sander or car scraper to remove the excess. It is important to note that stain doesn’t take well to glue so if staining the boards is your end finish make sure to remove all squeeze out from areas that can not be reached with a sander.

Simple glue up

One of the most basic methods is simply to apply a wood glue evenly to the entire edge of one board. Making sure that you have an Adequate amounts of glue. Once the glue is applied to the edge simply clamp the two boards in place. Depending on the size of the top you should alternate the clamps placing 1 clamp on the bottom then the next on the top. Always starting with two bottom clamps on each end. This will help the boards stay flat during the drying process.

Kreg Jig
Kreg Jig

Pocket holes & Kreg screws

This is a great option for the Hobbiest and Professional. When pocket holes are used correctly and in the right application they can speed up the the entire process. This method uses a pocket hole jig to drill a hole in the edge of a board. This allows the boards to be attached using screws. The Kreg jig can be set to use on various board thicknesses. The pocket hole method will provide a strong bond between the two boards. When using pocket holes and screws glue should be used as well. Glue is what will make the joint hold up over time. (Never skip gluing a joint)

Check out my post “How to use a Kreg Jig”



Dewalt Biscuit Joiner
Dewalt Biscuit Joiner

Biscuits joints

Biscuit joints are used in vast applications by professionals. This method of joining wood involves cutting a small slot in the edge of two boards that a small wooden biscuit will slide into. Using a biscuit joiner correctly will make it easier to keep the board surface flat when glued together. This means less sanding! When using the biscuit joiner (also known as a plate joiner) make sure to set the depth of the slot to the middle of the boards. The biscuits are glued into the slots. Glue is also applied to the boards edge. Once all edges and biscuits are glued the boards can be clamped together making sure to Aline the biscuits to the opposing boards slots. After clamping the boards together use a wet rag to wipe off the excess from any squeeze out. This will save time sanding off dry glue later. The biscuits will swell once dried making for a nice strong joint. Glue is what will make the joint hold up over time. (Never skip gluing a joint)

Checkout my post “How to use a biscuit jointer”

If you find this information helpful or have any questions leave them in the comments.

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