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Old 01-02-2014, 08:46 AM   #1
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Hickory table - 2012

We have a 2012 classic and of course it has the hickory table. The first table cracked last year and Airstream replaced it with another beautiful hickory table. Yesterday we were inside the trailer getting ready to go for a few days when Gloria noticed that the new table has a crack in it as well. We live in central Washington so it is cold and dry here, but two tables in less than 2 years seems a bit much.

Have any of you had the same issue? We know that Airstream will make it good again but kind of a hassle.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:38 AM   #2
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Don't get it wet

Not the main table, but I let some water get under the computer on the writing table and didn't find it till the next morning. It looks like solid wood, but in fact is a particle board core veneer covered table.

Airstream wanted $600+ for a replacement, but I had a local cabinet shop make a perfect replacement, except in solid wood for $125. Guess my point is if Airstream will not replace it, find a good local cabinet shop to make you one.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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Solid wood shrinks and swells with changes in humidity. Allowances must be made to account for it during construction. If there are brackets, cleats, screws, etc across the width of the table which restrict the movement, cracks and splits will develop. Also, the underneath side of the table should have the same finish as to equalize the process.

If it is easier, it could be taken off, taken to a local cabinetmaker, sawn open along the split, then glued back together. We do it often in our shop. Most times it can be done w/o disturbing the original finish.

This said, it will just split again if allowances are not made to accomodate the shrinking/swelling. Slot the screw holes underneath in the brackets if you can.

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Old 01-02-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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It is real wood. Anytime you deal with real wood especially if it goes thru extreme weath conditions from hot to cold, from dry to lots of moisture in the air the wood reacts to those changes. The reason you don't have those issues in a house is the temp is kept regulated and the humidity level stays pretty constant in a house. A camper is another animal and wood is a natural product that we try to control. Hickory wood is notorious for cracks in it. That is part of its rustic charm and character. Probably not a lot you can do about it other than keep replacing table tops. I don't know how airstream sealed the table . If they oil it then I would try to keep it oiled on a regular basis and that might help with the cracking
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panheaddale View Post
. If they oil it then I would try to keep it oiled on a regular basis and that might help with the cracking
Airstream uses a laquer based finish, and oil would only damage it.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #6
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If it is easier, it could be taken off, taken to a local cabinetmaker, sawn open along the split, then glued back together. We do it often in our shop. Most times it can be done w/o disturbing the original finish.

This said, it will just split again if allowances are not made to accomodate the shrinking/swelling. Slot the screw holes underneath in the brackets if you can.


Appropriate advice above.

The Hickory slab has to float. Not something that I would expect Airstream fabricators to know.

For me, it would be fun to add butterfly joins as it inevitably cracked throughout its life.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:07 PM   #7
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table

Quote:
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Airstream uses a laquer based finish, and oil would only damage it.
That is why I said " IF."
Airstream has just oiled some in the past.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:26 PM   #8
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That is why I said " IF."
Airstream has just oiled some in the past.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to make a big deal out of it, just trying to help others who might not know. It's apparent at least to me, it was easy to miss your "if".
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:04 PM   #9
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Boys , boys, boys....let's not split hairs. It is unlikely that AS would use oil. Too messy, too time consuming to appy, and little to no protection. They would use a sprayed finish, either a lacquer (poor choice) or a conversion varnish (hope so). Much faster.

A good finish, on all 6 sides, will help prevent splitting, but sometimes mother nature wins out and **** happens. The key to it is the slotted screw holes underneath.

Hickory ranks with oak as one of the most open grained woods of all. They both shrink/swell more than any other domestic wood. On a top the size of the table, movement of up to 3/8" would be possible. If the movement gets restricted with a screw or a row of screws in some sort of bracket, something has to give.

Usually a split at the end of the board.

John
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:33 PM   #10
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When I walked past a stock pile of the hickory parts at the factory today during the tour, the way the light showed on a Classic 30 corner top (behind the dinette) made me think of a poor urethane job with waves and perhaps spots in it. All the hickory parts have been fabricated by an independent outside vendor in the Jackson Center area for several years.

I may see that exact part in my unit next week.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:03 PM   #11
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It's a characteristic of solid wood. Sometimes you release some of the natural tension in flat sawn wood by taking the hardware off and running the bottom side lengthwise through a table saw to put a shallow kerf in it a several inches apart. It would weaken the top a bit but may save it from cracking.

On the other hand, the cracking you have may be enough to relieve the tension and prevent more of it. Fill it with matching wood putty, put another coat of finish or wax on the top, and enjoy it. Hickory has a lot of rustic character and this only adds to it.
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