Opinions Wanted - Trestle Table

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Two issues of concern: 1) The table top is about 11' 9" long. One end is 31" wide and the other end is 35" wide. As is, the table looks odd (though not so in the pics), b eing too narrow looking. I think it needs to be wider and I do have more boards, to widen the table top. Also, the leg units are 48" wide, so the " feet" stick out well beyond the table top sides.... that looks awkward, too . A wider table top would make things look much better. Question: What might be an optimum width for this length of table top, for it to look app ropriately sized?
2) One leg unit was checked from the start and is more noticeable in these pics, i.e., after it has been planed and sanded with 80 grit, a better vi ew of the check. The leg unit is pretty darn stable, doesn't flex along t he check, but that might not last forever. The leg is 3.5" thick. I thin k, but not sure yet, I can have it sawn along the check, at a local pro woo d shop, then glue it back together, with a long tenon running the length of the cut face. I wonder how well I can clamp it, though, having uneven edg es for the clamp faces to press against. This check is really unsightly a nd I would like to remove it, despite the unit being stable, but I'm not su re if I can glue things back together and it be as stable as it seems to be , now. Question: Would you cut the check out? Any glue & clamp advice would be appreciated, also. I do have adequate hefty bar clamps for this s ize stock.
First 5 Pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/?details=1
Additional comments: In person, the table really looks rustic, as is. Rem inds me of something the vikings or midevil folks would sit around, big and bulky raw furniture. I wasn't expecting it to have this look to it and I like this appearance. I wonder if a finish coat will remove this midevil- like look. If this look remains, I can see a long matching bench seat, or two, to accompany it. I have the rootball stock for bench legs.
Thanks for any help. Sonny
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On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:27:08 PM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:

That's medieval, not midevil.
Sonny
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Sonny wrote:

Looks midevil to me
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It looks nice. I would not be concerned with cracks on a table like this. They only add to its authenticity. If it gets bad, you can always put in a dutchman. I have seen that done on big slab tables like this. As for finish, there are folks who do this sort of thing all the time and sell their tables to the public. What do they do? Might want to check out their products and copy them. The table is powerful enough visually, any kind of finish that shows the wood will be fine. Just don't paint it!! ;-)
As for the look, the more you can add to the set with a similar theme, the better. This is unique enough, go for it and make more things like this. It will almost overwhelming to the senses to see a complete set. I have seen sets like that and helped work on a few. People really respond to this sort of thing.
I worked for a short while for a guy who would go out to the beach and collect driftwood stumps of all sizes. He made them into tables and other furniture. He got top dollar and people loved them.
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Just some random thoughts here.
First, the table looks odd because almost all dining room tables land in th e vicinity of 36" in width. Sure, a bit one way or another, but certainly not on something that long. I would think that something that long and tha t rustic would even be better if it were around the 40" mark in width.
Unless you want a tripping hazard, get the legs in under the table somewhat . You might get used to the legs sticking out from the perimeter of the to p, but your guests won't. It will fool your eye to see the edge of the tab le, then not notice the legs sticking further out onto the floor. I think y ou should take a minute put into Sketchup and see how it looks in perspecti ve, or even just draw it out. I don't recall seeing tables that have legs that extend beyond the top, but surely someone here can Google one up for t he sake of argument.
As far as the cracks go, cracks that large can cause a nuisance. Large rus tic type tables, benches and chairs made from mesquite are popular here in South Texas and have been for a while. It is nearly impossible to find mes quite that isn't cracked, or more commonly had "wind shake" which looks lik e a check or a crack but is actually fiber separation. These separations c an be several feet long and up to 3/4" of an inch wide, although most are s maller.
You could kill two birds with one stone if you fill the cracks you have wit h epoxy. I colored the stuff I used (West Systems) with laser printer tone r to get it black after I mixed the two parts of epoxy, then poured the mix into the cracks. I did a lot of that when wood turning, and it looked pre tty neat. Sold all that stuff as mesquite was red hot for a while, or I wo uld get you a pic. I helped a friend of mine for a while that made mesquit e table tops and then fastened them onto wrought iron bases. We took the me squite, put some backing rod in the crack (so the epoxy wouldn't run out an d eventually it would stop sinking down without pouring a gallon a crack in ) and filled away. The black epoxy maintained the rustic look of the crack , but also prevented the crack from spreading.
If you go the epoxy route, the manufacturers of two different epoxy product s told us that when used as filler, we shouldn't skimp as opposed to using it as an adhesive where less is more. We used it on small cracks though, a nd didn't have problems. Also, we filled a couple of large cracks a week t hat screwed us up and the epoxy would have fallen below the surface of the wood instead of keeping a slight over fill. The good thing about that is y ou can simply pour more epoxy on top and if it is a fresh pour from the day before and perfectly clean the epoxy will adhere very well.
I think for epoxy work of this type, I would look to Lew H here on the wrec k to get his opinion. He knows more about that than anyone I know from yea rs of practical experience.
Robert
Robert
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On 6/25/2014 2:18 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Absolutely get rid of any part of the legs that protrude past the edges of the table. This is part of the reason things don't look right.
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On Wed, 25 Jun 2014 00:18:54 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

I agree with you on the legs. The perspectives are all wrong with the legs sticking out. The garden trestle table I built has the legs proportionate with the table top and it looks good.
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Width depends somewhat on function. Is it a dining table? Conference table? Both vary considerably. Common dining table widths are 36, 40, 42 & 44, up to about 48" which is about the max reach to center from either side.
Considering just appearance, the length/width ratio doesn't look bad to me as is. In person, maybe it would. To my eye, a 1:4 ratio is attractive.
As Robert mentioned, the wider legs invite tripping. Widening the top would mitigate that as would chairs or benches. If it were me, I'd also round over the point at the outside corner...my wife tends to bump into stuff and I'd rather she bruise herself on something round than pointy :)

If you do cut it, epoxy is the way to go for glue, no to minimal clamping necessary. If you used yellow glue you have one good clamp point at the apex of the down curve on each side; for other bar clamps you could use "C" clamps or hand screws along the edges to help keep the bar clamps from sliding.
If it were me, I'd do what Robert suggested...fill it with epoxy. Don't think I'd use black, though, even though I like black. The check has been there long enough that it has some decomposition; if I were filling, I'd use a stiff bristle brush to remove what is easily removeable before filling. If you fill and don't like it you can still cut.

I am torn. I understand about the raw look...it can be quite attractive, particularly after it has aged a while. OTOH, I LOVE the color and grain of finished walnut. Conclusion: no opinion :(
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On 6/24/2014 8:27 PM, Sonny wrote:

Built a number of tables, including a few trestles. My experience, as far as dimensions which are necessary for a comfortable and stable trestle, as follows:
~ 30" height is fine for dining.
~ 40" to 43" wide is the sweet spot for dining with formal place settings (including glassware), with serving dishes in the middle.
Anything below 40" wide tends to be crowded for seated guests serving themselves from the middle of the table.
My favorite width is no less than 43" if space allows.
~ Leave an absolute minimum of 11" for leg room, from each _end_ of the table top, to the trestle structure and footprint itself. 12" is good; since you really don't gain that much from more, aesthetics can come in to play at that point.
~ Stability and safety: For a stable base at the foot, make the footprint width, centered on the table top, 7 to 8" less on each side of the table top.
IOW, if your table top is 43" wide, make your trestle footprint width +/-28" wide, and centered on the tabletop, thusly:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopJigsFixturesMethods?noredirect=1#6028841382130979938
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On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 7:30:36 AM UTC-5,

All good advice and certainly appreciated. I've reread all your posts and have several leads, as to what to do, and I think each suggestion can be mo dified, as I proceed, if need be.
This will be a dining table for the pending camp/retreat, to be built at th e farm. The camp will be more of a large vacation home/hunting camp, not a small structure by any means. The tree was growing on the chosen const ruction site, so the idea was to make a table from the tree that came from its original site. The dining room will definitely be large enough for t his size/length of table. Any dining will likely be of a general atmosphe re and that of a hunting group, that sort of setting, more so. I doubt ver y much formal dining will take place at the camp, but the general setting a nd retreat home, itself, will have some elegance to it.
I like the suggestion of using epoxy as a filler, which can be cut out if i t doesn't work or doesn't look the best. It never occurred to me to use e poxy as a filler, rather than my cut & glue option.
The leg units' widths can accommodate some trimming, maybe 3"-4" each side, but I like their wide appearance and their bold look, especially for this length of table. I'll trim an inch or 2, at a time, and evaluate the appea rance, as I go. Yep, no one is likely to know that they have been trimmed from their original width, especially if the rest of the whole's appearance diverts one's eye elsewhere.... and additional benches or other seating wi ll add to the whole.
I'll add 10" to the table top width, re-evaluate the look and make adjustme nts if need be. In the camp setting, a slightly wider table top, than nor mal, may not be so awkward. The leg units' spacing look good/appropriate at 2' from the ends of the table top. That would put the leg units about 7' apart. A wider table top would accommodate some camp/hunting decor acce ssory item(s), also, and not be strictly for dining/food containers, during meals, only. I suspect the optimum concern is that the table top width b e narrow enough that one can still reach across the table and pass-a-slap t o a sassy nephew, or such!
Thanks again, great advice and I'll keep you posted as to the progress. Sonny
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"Sonny" wrote:
> Swingman and All:
All good advice and certainly appreciated. I've reread all your posts and have several leads, as to what to do, and I think each suggestion can be modified, as I proceed, if need be.
This will be a dining table for the pending camp/retreat, to be built at the farm. The camp will be more of a large vacation home/hunting camp, not a small structure by any means. The tree was growing on the chosen construction site, so the idea was to make a table from the tree that came from its original site. The dining room will definitely be large enough for this size/length of table. Any dining will likely be of a general atmosphere and that of a hunting group, that sort of setting, more so. I doubt very much formal dining will take place at the camp, but the general setting and retreat home, itself, will have some elegance to it.
I like the suggestion of using epoxy as a filler, which can be cut out if it doesn't work or doesn't look the best. It never occurred to me to use epoxy as a filler, rather than my cut & glue option. --------------------------------------------------------- I like 48" wide tables, thus if you go that route you will have to glue some boards together.
To glue heavy boards together, you are going to need glue with a long open time which means epoxy with a slow hardener.
You already have info from System3 epoxy from another job, they can also supply the black pigment compatible with epoxy.
If you proceed to fill cracks with black epoxy, approach it the same way a dentist fills a tooth.
Use a wire brush to remove all traces of rot before filling with epoxy.
If cracks are all the way thru the wood, get back to me for additional info.
Have fun.
Lew
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On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:35:51 PM UTC-5, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Yeah, I might can see through in some areas. I'll re-evaluate everything this evening and post an update (late tomorrow?).
Another concern, I thought of: The wood is still green, inside. The slab will take a few more years to air dry completely. I sent System3 an email, asking about applying epoxy to green wood. I likely won't get a reply until tomorrow.
Sonny
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On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:29:22 PM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:

Some of the wood we filled with epoxy was cracked all the way through. In some cases, we simply put a tape over the crack on one side if it wasn't a really thick board. But on the thick wood used for tops (about 2 to 2 1/2 inches) we were using <literally> gallons. Lew can give you the right back er rod to fill the cracks as needed so you don't use so much epoxy material . We used all kinds of materials, from soft cotton rope to closed cell foa m rope used to back caulking.

il, asking about applying epoxy to green wood.
Personally speaking (that means your mileage may vary) I wouldn't worry abo ut gluing up that kind of rough wood. Fine furniture with precision cut mo ldings and joinery requires your material be completely stable. We epoxied the completely green tops with (again, get with Lew for the correct epoxy to use on damp surfaces)a product made by Bob Smith industries that makes e poxy for several different labels. The green wood moved of course, but the since their were no molding joints to separate or move, no drawers to bind or anything else, you didn't really see it. These were rough saw tops wit h one side smoothed, but open on both sides so the wood moved the same amou nt top and bottom. IF, IF, there was separation it was never at the epoxy j oints as they were stronger than the wood so they didn't open up.
That's my experience.
Love to hear what you do. BTW, the reason I always used black on the crack s and wind shakes was that I could never match the color without it looking tacky. So keeping it black made it a "feature" and it looked much better.
Robert
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On Thursday, June 26, 2014 2:12:12 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

a really thick board. But on the thick wood used for tops (about 2 to 2 1/ 2 inches) we were using <literally> gallons. Lew can give you the right ba cker rod to fill the cracks as needed so you don't use so much epoxy materi al. We used all kinds of materials, from soft cotton rope to closed cell f oam rope used to back caulking.
I can't see through any of the cracks, after all. I flattened a plastic s traw and tried to push, wriggle, prod it through in several places and from both sides. The straw didn't go through anywhere. It penetrated about 1" on one side and about 2" on the other side, along a 6" length of crack and that was all the penetration the straw would go.
I doubt the whole crack equals a measure similar to .25" X 20" X 3", but ba sed on those figures, it would take 8.5 fluid oz to fill the crack. The sp ace is probably half, or less, that volume. That's not much volume, nor wo uld be much cost, based on System3's Gel Magic epoxy.
I prepped another tabletop board. It has a defected end, so the length of t he tabletop will have to be trimmed to 10' 9". The width is now 46", which can be narrowed more, if need be. Later this evening, I'll trim the leg units' foot prints to about 42" and see what it looks like. Will load new pics this evening.
Sonny
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System3 recommends their epoxy not be used on green or wet wood. I suppos e I'll have to figure out something else to, maybe end up cutting the crack out and gluing, unless I wait until it dries. I'm wondering, since the i nside of the crack has strands of split wood and other "entrapments", the e poxy may/will do the job, despite the wood being green or wet.
Updated pics are available, with 3 boards for the top. https://www.flickr . com/photos/43836144@N04/sets/72157644973475619/
Sonny
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On Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:22:20 PM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:

ck out and gluing, unless I wait until it dries. I'm wondering, since the inside of the crack has strands of split wood and other "entrapments", the epoxy may/will do the job, despite the wood being green or wet.
Time to shift gears. Most folks have absolutely no idea how many different types of epoxies there are to choose from and how sophisticated this adhes ive really is today. They have an epoxy for just about anything these days . About 15 years ago, I reinstalled about 250' of 30" long 6"X6" limestone coping blocks (a fancy cap) back on top of a limestone masonry wall using a marine grade epoxy that was formulated for wet surfaces.
Every cell in my brain told me it wouldn't work, but I got it from a friend of mine in the concrete supply field that sold industrial caulks and adhes ives for specialty applications and repair. I decided to trust him. Not o nly did it work, it worked very well. One hour set up time and I applied i t to damp (pretty clean) smooth stone. Everything in my background of const ruction told me that nothing would stick to a wet surface, but this stuff w as made for the marine industry, and it adhered VERY well.
It was somewhere in this family of products, no doubt:
https://www.google.com/search?q=epoxy+for+wet+surfaces&ie=utf-8&oe=ut f-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb
Robert
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On Friday, June 27, 2014 3:48:07 AM UTC-5, nailsh...

Thanks Robert. Yeah, I should have realized there should be more options available. I still have lots of other work to do on this project, so the time will allow for the units to dry a little more.
I've been anxious for some "assembled" results, to get some idea of what things may end up looking like. No need to rush the work, especially since I have only one set of nice leg units (no replacements) to work with.
Sonny
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On 6/26/2014 8:22 PM, Sonny wrote:

I like it pretty much as it is above. Great for a camp, lots of character, and a few generations will passer un bon temps!
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On Friday, June 27, 2014 5:37:24 PM UTC-5, Swingman wrote:

A long-time engineer friend, Tony, who has volunteered some free time to he lp design the camp, saw the pics and wants to come take a look at the table . Even unfinished, I'm already feeling good about this project.... and r eally appreciating all the help I've been getting from all of you.
The present tabletop boards are 2" thick. I have 2 other nice boards, wid er than the present ones, that are 1.5" thick. I may put these on top and see what they look like, compare the two sets. Those leg units can stand some good trimming. *I might can make a trip to Morganza, the Miss. Riv er floodway locks, there, and search for another walnut rootball.... make a nother table with the 2 sets of tabletop boards.
Sonny
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I wouldn't worry about any "entrapments", they just get encapsulated. Do brush out as much as possible any visual rot but, again, any that remains will be encapsulated and you should be able to remove enough of the visible that the filler retains a good bond.
Can't speak about the green but if it has been cut for a year or more I wouldn't worry about it.
The table looks much better wider, still don't like the down angle at one end of one of the foot slabs.
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