You never want to pass on a good paying job.. and often when I get an email
or a phone about a job everything sounds great until you really look at
it.. okay 16 feet.. So then I took out my tape measure and ran it along my
radial arm saw table, which happens to be 16 feet... OUCH ... longer then
long.. Of course the table could and would be made in pieces. He had
suggested solid wood, boards running the length, well that's not going to
happen in my small one man shop.
It also will have a marquetry panel in the middle 2 ft x 3 ft , that I have
two local folks who are great... That adds another dynamic to the use of
solid. I have been using a lot of veneer these days and when I get back to
this guy I am going to suggest veneer with some good wide solid edges.. Two
8 foot sections installed in the house to look as seamless as possible..
Well we will see about this potential project ??
I turned down a table job a couple of years ago. It was to only be 10' x 4'
and 4" thick. I talked to a few people that are more able to do this than
me and indicated that fork lifts make handling easier. I turned it down.
Knowing that a 42" square by 3" thick maple table that I did build weighed
in excess of 200 lbs helped me make that decision.
Even if you could build such a thing (16' table), how would you move it
(deliver to the customer, get it into the house etc?)
Components are the only way to make it happen... You might consider selling
components as a feature to customer. He might want to move the table some
I would suggest a veneered top (enabling change in grain direction) with a
design that complemented a seam in the middle.
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Interesting project -- what width will the table be?
If the table was 4' wide my first plan would be to use two bases, which
would be spaced beneath the tabletop with a gap between them. Unless there
are other special requirements, the tabletop would start with two layers of
plywood using 4 x 8 sheets with the joints staggered between the two layers
to provide some strength. Then I would cover the plywood with unfinished
T&G flooring, either red oak or jatoba, which I would assemble in situ,
adding the marquetry. Edge trim moldings would give the tabletop depth and
hide the plywood underneath the hardwood top. That would solve the moving
problem, and assumes the house is either unfinished or you can control the
dust and fumes problems.
Of course, if the buyer wants to move the table or can't allow in-house
construction I'd have to go another route. Putting (a) 16' tabletop and (b)
considerations for moving into the same requirements seems like an
They build trailers that are over 16 feet long. Check out them big things
on the highway.
The best way to get it into the house would be putting the long dimension
through the door first rather than sideways. I know I could have easily
gotten it into my dining room of my last two houses, even if it stuck out
into the living room a bit.
Keep in mind that people don't buy 16' tables because they have a big
family, they buy them as status symbols and works of art too. They don't
want a seam in the middle, they ant that big one piece deal. Anyone with a
need or desire for that large a table probably has a large enough house with
wide entries to fit it in. This may well be a case of the customer wants
one piece and will find someone to make it no matter the cost.
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