I am making two end tables out of black walnut and would like to use two 8 inch ceramic tiles in the center of each table top.
My plan is to use frame and panel construction. The overall dimension for the top is 16 x 22 inches. The tile “panel” will be 8 x 16 inches so the rails and styles will be either 3 or 4 inches wide.
I was thinking about using 3/4 inch plywood for the base and either mastic or construction adhesive to attach the tile to the plywood. Would MDF be more stable? What is best way to adhere tile to the panel?
Is plywood or MDF stable enough that it could be glued into a frame with these dimensions without having to worry about seasonal expansion?
I have read that grout should be placed between the two tiles but that caulk (silicone based?) should be used between the tile and wood. Is this correct?
I have also seen it recommended that the wooden frame be finished first and then assembled since grout or caulk could prevent proper adhesion of finish. Any suggestions on the best approach?
Thanks in advance for any advice with this project.