radiant floors and dinning table

Forum: Furniture-making

Good afternoon. I am building a 4×8 x21/4 single slab live edge pine farm table for my wife . The wood is approx 8% moisture as it sits in the shop . My question relates to radiant heat and this table . My house is heated with radiant floors with being stamped concrete of radiant floors in kitchen /dinning area. What can I do to prevent this table top from cracking via the heat and dryness of the floors ? Do I need to control the humidity in the space or would an expansion /contraction connection to the base work ? Or do I need both ? Thanks in advance .

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3 Replies

Manitario ...

The wood will move seasonally wherever you put it, so the connection to the base should allow for the natural expansion/contraction of the top.
Radiant heat is less drying than forced air, so it won’t change the humidity beyond what occurs with the normal seasonal fluctuation.
If the top already has a crack, it may continue to open up with the normal seasonal movement unless you stabilize it with bowties. Most of my furniture has live edge slabs incorporated into it, and I have radiant heat, and I haven’t had any problems.

mrwojo ...

Thank you for your response. I have already incorporated a slip joint into the top/base connection. Fortunately there is zero cracks at this time in the top so a dutchman is not required. I had to ask the question as I had a bar top that started dry and after a winter in kitchen it was damn near unusable . ANy special consideration in regard to use of epoxy clear finish that I should be aware of . I will of course seal all sides and edges but only plan to use brushing lacquer for the underside of the top and epoxy on rest of the top. Does that sound appropriate . I am not a pro at this wood working but I am a disabled vet with the time the tools years of experience and enough knowledge to make awesome pieces but always find where I could do better.

Manitario ...

Once wood is dry throughout, you shouldn’t have much more warping or cracking, unless a really big change in the environment. Most of the time with big slabs if there is a bunch more warping or cracking it is because it wasn’t dry all the way through, especially if it has been air dried. Generally where I live the average humidity in the summer is between 60-70% and the winter around 15-20%; the moisture content in the wood varies from ~3% in the winter to 9% in the summer.

I use epoxy frequently to seal large cracks in the slabs but I’ve never used it for a thick finish on the top, most of the finish I use is a wiping varnish (easily fixed if scratched or stained).