Introduction: C Channel in Table Tops and Desk Tops
Hello all! I get asked all the time how and why I put C Channel in my table tops. The short answer is because I don't like using breadboard ends. So the Channel really helps keep the top flat and straight. Interested? Check it out! Be sure to watch the video for even more details. Thanks for taking the time to check out my instructable. :)
P.S. I have build plans for several of my projects available - HERE!
Check out the video for an even better description of the build!
Build video - Click Here To Watch!
YouTube - Walker's Woodworks
Instagram - @walkers_woodworks
1/8" Thick C Channel 3/4"x3" I get mine AND RAMPA HARDWARE from Bidwellwood.com use the code walker10 for a sitewide discount!
Bits & Bits Company Coupon code - WALKER15
1/4 upcut bit - https://bitsbits.com/index.php?main_page=product_...
Surfacing bit - https://bitsbits.com/index.php?main_page=product_...
(I use the SKD330 D-12 L-18 M6)
Rampa Screws - Screws
(I use D - 20 M6 15)
Tools and materials used in this video. (Affiliate links included)
Bosch Router - https://amzn.to/2WIOJcr
Narex Chisel set - https://amzn.to/39g25j7
Titebond Instant Bond Wood Adhesive - https://amzn.to/3anAbDc
Makita 55-Inch Guide Rail - https://amzn.to/2QMuiHF
Makita Track Clamps - https://amzn.to/2wthgIs
Other things I use in the shop on a regular basis and MERCH! https://kit.co/WalkersWoodworks
Step 1: Prepping and Protecting the Channel
The first thing I do with the raw channel is clean it with acetone. This removes all the dirt and oils the metal has on it. Make sure to wipe it down several times until the rag comes off clean.
Once they are all clean you can add the clear coat. You could also just use spray paint. I do like to use something that helps prevent rust though. Note that the channel should have elongated holes to allow for wood movement.
I usually do about 4 coats on them before install.
Step 2: Channel Placement
After they are all dry I put them on the underside of the table to mark where I want to inlay them. I typically put them in from the ends about 12"
Once they are where I want them I mark the edges with a pencil.
On tops over 6 ft I like to use 3 pieces of channel and just center the third one.
Step 3: Routing the Slots for the Channel
I use two bits to inlay the channel. The first one is a 1/4" spiral upcut bit from Bits & Bits. I will link this bit as well as everything else I use in the supplies area on the front page for you guys. But I will also add a coupon code that you guys can use to get 15% off your order on the Bits & Bits website!
I just use the track from my track saw but you can use a straight edge of any kind for this.
Basically I set the track up so the edge of the router bit just covers my pencil line and cuts to the inside of the lines. This will allow room for the channel to slide down into the top with some room to spare. Make sure to clamp down the straight edge.
The first pass I do is only about a quarter inch making sure to hold the router tight to the straight edge. I go about a bit size past the end lines to give the channel some room on the ends.
I then measure the channel from the bottom of the leg to the very top then set a stop on my router to
cut just a hair deeper so you don't bottom out the legs of the channel.
Then I set the straight edge up to cut the other line and repeat the process.
Step 4: Recessing the Channel
To take out the center section I use this beast of a bit. Its actually a surfacing bit. I use it to flatten slabs but it takes the least amount of time in this application. You don't have to use this bit but it does work great for this.
Basically its the same process for this. Measure the channel thickness on the top and set a stop on the router. You will likely need to make more than one pass to remove all the material.
Once the material is removed I use a chisel to take out the remaining material on the ends.
Step 5: Marking for Holes
After I am happy with the fitment I mark out the holes with a pencil.
Then I use a center punch to have a center point for the drill bit to start.
Step 6: Drilling Holes
Using the insert as a depth gauge I use painters tape to put a flag on the drill bit. I like using forstner bits for this.
They leave a better finish and don't walk when starting the hole. The bit size for these inserts is 3/8"
I drill just a little deeper than the flag to keep the insert from bottoming out.
Step 7: Inserting the Inserts (LOL)
Once the hole is drilled I use CA glue on the insert to ensure it is locked in place once installed.
Don't spill it everywhere like I do.
As I screw in the insert I go slow and do several back and forth twists as I go to keep from tearing out the wood.
These Rampa inserts are my favorite i've used. They work very well and are built to last. People ask what ones I use a lot.
Step 8: Install Screws
These are the corresponding screws for the inserts. I love the flat heads because they are a lot lower profile.
I like to install them from the inside out. It might not matter but I feel like it lays the channel down more evenly this way.
Also don't over tighten these bolts. The wood will expand and contract moving these in the slot. Make them snug but don't wrench down on them like the hulk.
Step 9: Finished!
Be sure to check out the video for even more details on how and why I use C Channel in all my tops!
Thanks again for checking out the instructable. See you on the next one!