I was reading about extendable tables I saw the word camber. What does it mean? What steps do I need to take to avoid it. I tried looking it up but the information was about aligning tires of a vehicle.

If someone can direct me to where I can enrich my knowledge on this issue while providing the woodworking definition that would be great.

  • 1
    Can you provide some context?
    – Jason C
    Dec 20 '15 at 3:07
  • It's over extendable tables
    – Nachmen
    Dec 20 '15 at 8:06
  • 2
    "Context" meaning a sentence that it was used in, a link to what you were reading, etc...
    – Jason C
    Dec 20 '15 at 13:17

From Osborne Wood Products --

It is important to note that our table slides have a camber to them to compensate for the natural sag of the table. Choosing the incorrect type of slide for your table may accentuate the natural sag of the table.

In this context, camber is a hump or a dip that offsets the center sag or end sag of the table. (Tables with legs that move away from each other tend to sag in the middle. Tables supported centrally where the leaves move away will sag at the edges.) So, based on the design of your table, you'd opt for slides with one camber or another.

  • Where can I read more on this subject? And have examples in reality how it works.
    – Nachmen
    Dec 20 '15 at 11:28
  • Bit more info here: paxtonhardware.com/product/installing-table-slides/… Otherwise, just spend some time googling 'camber extension table slides', and see if you can find what you need. (If you're buying pre-made, all you really need to do is choose the one that fits your design...) Dec 20 '15 at 15:32
  • One place that you can see camber in action is with a flat bed trailer carrying no load - frequently you will see them with the middle visibly higher than the ends. This is so that when a load is placed on the trailer if will sag to a nice straight line. It's exactly the same thing that the table discussion is considering - when loaded, it should assume a straight level surface.
    – Ast Pace
    Dec 21 '15 at 1:40
  • @Aloysius I'm trying to DIY a dining table that extends with a rack and pinion system that only one person can extend, while the other side opens up by itself. I have seen the word but I couldn't quantify (grasp)it. With your input (and others) I'm alot further. I still don't understand when the slide is closed how come it doesn't have a opposite effect? I don't know if the wording is right, if you don't understand what I'm asking please ask me.
    – Nachmen
    Dec 21 '15 at 8:34

The word "camber" is just a word, it means a slight convexity in a surface. So without context it's just wild guesses...

If you're talking about hand planes, it's a convex curve applied to the normally straight blade, in the plane of the blade. It can be achieved by grinding the blade into an arc. Image from toolsforworkingwood.com:

enter image description here

One of the reasons to do it is to eliminate ridges formed at the sides of the plane when planing large surfaces and/or make cutting easier. Whether it's something you really want to do or not seems to be a topic of debate, so I guess it comes down to personal preference.

There is a good article about it here and a nice video here.

Sometimes a good way to find better search results for ambigious topics is to include the general field you're looking for with the word. For example, "camber woodworking".

If you're not talking about hand planes then you need to provide more context. If you're talking about tables perhaps it meant angles on the legs or something. If you're talking about cars visit https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/.

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