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I'm making a table utilizing plywood as legs and solid ash wood as a tabletop. I plan on lacquering plywood and oiling the tabletop.
1) Should I be wary of oil interacting with lacquer at join line?

2) I need quite strong connection -- the tabletop is cantilevered, so I'm going to glue wood to plywood. My understanding is that I should glue first and finish after - am I right?

enter image description here

  • Is it safe to say what is pictured isn't the whole design? I'm trying to figure out how this will stand up as-pictured. I was about to ask how you're planning on constructing the plywood legs, but then I saw there was only one, so I'm thinking maybe this drawing doesn't represent everything? – Charlie Kilian Feb 9 '18 at 16:22
  • Yes, pictured is half of the table. – Gleb Feb 9 '18 at 16:25
  • Short answer is yes. It's quite common with tables for example for the tabletops to be finished one way and the legs/underframing another (e.g. varnish or oil for the former, paint on the latter). – Graphus Feb 11 '18 at 13:37
  • Re. the joining, you don't want to glue the tabletop (or any solid wood) to something that doesn't expand and contract similarly. You need to allow for movement between the plywood and the ash top. – Graphus Feb 11 '18 at 13:39
  • @Graphus isn’t there any allowance in that? The connection is just 50cm long, can’t glue take some strain? – Gleb Feb 11 '18 at 20:07
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I wouldn't worry about the finish too much. After all, who is going to be peering under the table to see how neat the finish is?

There should be no problem with the interaction, If you oil the lacquer, it will just sit on the surface and eventually be wiped off. If you lacquer the oil, it won't stick very well (so I would lacquer first, and oil after).


What I would be more concerned about, is the strength of the joint. Gluing to end grain is weak, and half of the plywood surface will be end grain.

I suggest putting some screws through the back of the cantilever and into the wood top (being careful not to go too far of course!). The problem with this, is that it will tend to split the plywood; therefor use round-head or pan-head screws, and screw onto a washer (to spread the load further). If you are worried about the visibility of this, you could hide the screw heads in a recess you drill with something that gives a flat-bottomed hole. Pocket screws would be perfect for this.

Alternatively, you could dowel/biscuit-joint the top to the legs. (Belt and braces would be both)

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