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I am learning furniture building. I started by building tables using pocket hole screws to attach the planks together and also to attach the table top to the apron/base.

I am now converting to using fasteners, such as table buttons, z clips, etc., to attach the table top to allow for the top to expand and contract.

My question is, if I am properly using fasteners to attach the table top, allowing for it to expand and contract,is gluing the planks better than pocket hole screws? If pocket hole screws are used, will the table be able to expand and contract properly?

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    You probably want to take this question to the Woodworking Stack Exchange – keshlam Mar 17 '16 at 21:23
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A properly glued panel will be significantly stronger than a panel that is joined only with pocket screws. That being said, pocket screws can still be useful to eliminate the need for clamps while the glue dries.

A single panel (like a tabletop made of several planks of wood glued/screwed together) will expand/contract as a single piece, hence why the need to join the table top to the apron using a fastener that allows the panel to expand and contract.

  • Ok. So, using pocket hole screws to attach the planks will not hinder the top from being able to expand and contract? – ScottK Mar 17 '16 at 20:14
  • Correct. The exception being if you did breadboard ends in which case you don't want to screw those – Steven Mar 17 '16 at 23:03
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Why not both? I have built cabinet doors where the rails and styles were attached to each other using glue and pocket screws. I left the center inserts free floating.

The doors swelled and shrunk overall, as new wood will, but the joints are tight after several years.

I agree that more flexible fastening between the top and the base makes sense since the top will have significantly different expansion from the base, and the points of contact are much smaller. Also the gaps caused by shifting at those points are hidden.

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