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Never Fix Metal Edging To Solid Wood Table Tops

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The most important thing to know about metal edging, is that it should not be applied to solid wood tops. This is because wood tends to move naturally and this movement can cause the edging to come away creating gaps. The edges do also move slightly themselves.

Metal edging is usually fixed on by glue and small nails at the join. The screws will be panhead or countersunk so they sit flush and don’t scratch. (View metal options for table top edging here) In humid environments, like restaurant spaces or cold environments like heritage buildings, movement can be particularly extreme and can cause the edging to completely detach from the table.

Case Study: What happens when metalwork is applied to solid wood table tops

Brass-edging-2 Brass-edging-3 Brass-edging-1

In these images, brass edging was applied to solid wooden tops. When installed into a heated atmosphere the wood shrinks leaving the brass to come adrift from the edge. On the occassion the tables were also not glued all the day around the strip as we would expect, but only at the join which didn't help matters.

It's sometimes, but not always, possible to repair table top damage like this. In this instance, our customer care team removed the strip and studs, cut down the excess brass from the end, applied adhesive properly and re-attached the strips and studs. However, it’s likely that the wood will shrink further and therefore may require more repairs in the future.

Brass inlay-406817-edited

In the final image you can see that the brass inlayed into the top, has also moved and have crushed the wood beyond repair. If we tried to remove the brass it would cause more damage.

What's the solution? Apply metal edging to veneer table tops

A veneer is a thin layer of wood glued to a cheaper wooden core. The core of a laminated or veneered table top can be MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), plywood or chipboard. Chipboard is the least satisfactory option, as it’s a poor fix for screws connecting the top to the base and should be avoided for this reason. (It may also be worth considering moisture resistant MDF for outdoor purposes as MDF will expand when wet; even indoor tables are susceptible to moisture through the edges.) 

Veneer table tops are typically half the cost of a solid wood alternative which is an added bonus to the fact that metal edging won't move like it will on a solid wood table top. Further a wide range of wood-veneers are available and can be laid at different angles creating interesting patterns or just straight.

To summarise: veneers are usually cheaper, less problematic where edging is concerned & can allow even more design possibilities than solid tops.

Below are two examples of table tops with metal edges.

Oak veneer table top with mild steel edge and counter sunk screws

Oak veneer table top with mild steel edge and counter sunk screws

Stained ash veneer top with brass edging glued on and fitted with small nails at the join

Stained ash veneer top with brass edging glued on and fitted with small nails at the join

Veneered table tops with metal edges in restaurants

veneer oak table top with metal edge

The best bit is that it's very hard to tell the difference between a solid wood table top and a veneered one. The above image features a round Oak Rustic Cracked Veneered Top on 25mm MDF base stained to TF102 light oak with a 40mm thick edge, straight profile, with mild steel trim to edges & rivet detail. Can you tell that it's not solid oak?

View more images of D&D's East 59th restaurant Leeds. For more info on how to choose the right table top read either our What Top? Types of Wooden Table Top blog or Restaurant Table Tops: Metal, Marble & More

Topics: Tables,

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 02/07/18 12:00
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