Dining Table

I am relatively new to woodworking and have been lurking here learning a lot. I am planning to build a large, informal dining table to accomodate the entire family. It will be about 10 feet long and 38 to 40 inches wide. I plan to adapt a trestle base from an existing plan that I have. The top will be based on a table a relative of mine uses which he told me was made from heart pine flooring. I have gotten recycled heart pint flooring. Like most flooring it is much shorter than 10 feet. What I pan to do is start with a plywood under layer and then attached the pine flooring to it and this will fomr the table top. This results in three questions, how do I join two pieces of plywood to get the 10foot lenght, how do I attached the flooring to allow for wood movement and should I use some type of hard finish on the plywood to seal it from any spills that may make their way thru the top?
Appreciate any help I can get and will probably be back with more questions as this progresses.
Russ
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On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 13:05:05 -0500, "Russ Stanton"

Doesn't sound like a good idea to fasten the boards to ply (you'll get splits and/or gaps). You can make longer boards using finger joints. Read up about wood movement and how this is done with table tops, especially large ones.
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Help me to understand the difference in wood movement between using the flooring on a table top and suing it as flooring and fastened to an underlayerment.
I understand the wood will tend move more in width than length, I was thinking of leaving just a bit of gap in the tongue and groove and fasten perhaps with a slot in the plywood and one screw, or could I nail in a manner like a hardwood floor is nailed to underlayerment?
Russ
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On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 19:28:08 -0500, "Russ Stanton"

in a floor the ply is nailed to the framing.
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Just as one response points out, the boards are nailed to the floor joists. But more important, around the border of the installation, a gap is left (hidden by kick or shoe molding) allowing the floor to expand and contract with seasonal changes. Besides this fact, most hardwood floors will have some cracks in the boards somewhere with time, no matter the expert installation. This is acceptable, not so with a dining table.
Are you sure you want a trestle table 10 feet long? Does your dining room look like a monastary? Usually a design that includes expandable leaves is much more desireable as it can be configured for additional guests as the needs arise. Search your favorite woodworking catalogs for the proper hardware to allow the center to be split and leaves (leafs?) dropped in.
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In terms of length, I have the room (not a monastary) and would prefer the look without leaves.
Understand the wood movement, would the idea I mentioned, using screws in a slot in the ply to hold the floor planks down handle the wood movement. I saw this approach mentioned in other table applications and thought it would work in this design. Also I had planned to edge the table so that both the ply and the floor plank edges were covered with a contrasting hardwood.
Thanks for information being presented, if the screw in a slot idea does not work, then I'll look at other design approaches.
Russ
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You could also go with the plywood sub-base and biscuit join (or spline join) the board together. That way you could simple run three rows of screws underneath. One row right up the middle with no slot required since there will be no movement there. And the other two rows on the edges runinng down the length. Naturally leave room with a slot for expansion. If you aren't sure play it on the safe side and go more than you need. When you are done, monitor the wood movement over a year (each season) to see how the wood moves. Then you'll know for next time.
Woodwork Safely, Jim Barry http://www.woodchuckcanuck.com
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Hey Russ - the screw idea should work fine. It's not so very different from what those of us that live in log homes do to accommodate log movement when we frame against the logs.
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On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 21:20:45 -0500, "Russ Stanton"

Russ- while you might get a table that works this way, I think you'd get a much nicer table top by joining up full thickness planks. the cost will be about the same, and the result will be much more satisfying.
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Hi Russ,
I'd forget about the plywood underneath. Your idea with slotted screws would work though. If you are trying the get 10 boards, there are a number of methods. Mortise and tenon, floating tenon, connect the two boards underneath with a length of solid wood extending 12 -15 inches or so from the length of the joint Woodwork Safely, Jim Barry http://www.woodchuckcanuck.com
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I want to thank everybody for their replies inlcuding a few who sent direct e-mails.
Since the screw in a slot idea seems like it will work that is the approach I plan to take. I realize that I could use an entirely different approach but I am actually after the "look" of recycled flooring as a table top.
It is great to get advice from folks like you and I really do approciate it. I'll probably be back for more help, in time its back to lurk mode.
Russ

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I built a 48 inch by 96 inch trestle table a few years back. Two leaves are included in the 96 inches of length. The main problem I had was moving the dang thing when then time came. I had to take it apart to get it into two of our houses. I still have it upstairs but will probably get rid of it soon as it is taking up too much room.
Good luck and I think you will enjoy the work and the satisfaction of using it for years afterward!
RonT
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