I'm (finally) starting on my dining room table and was wondering 2
1. I'm planning on making it 2" thick (probably mahogany or white oak,
depends on the wife). I'd like the ability to sand it down after the kids
have beat the crap out of it, and refinish it. 2" enough, too much?
2. Is it better to have 8/4 wood or 2 sets of 4/4 wood and glue them
Thanks in advance.
Thickness can change, don't have to go with 8/4. Considered Brazillian
mahogany as a buddy had a great lead on some at a great price, but heard it
was too soft. Course Oak's not much harder.
Could go with 1 1/4 or 1 1/8. Just want to leave enough for stripping,
sanding and refinishing a few times.
Tahnks for the replies.
I'm also planning on building a kitchen table. I have some 2 x 2
maple and was also trying to decide on final thickness. It would be
great to have a 2" thick top with 2 small kids, but I might need a
crane to get it into the kitchen. So I appreciate the info here.
A related question is what is the best way to attach the top to the
apron. I was thinking about using the homemade cleat and groove
method, but will that provide for adequate movement?
I just finished a 76" by 35" harvest table out of yellow pine, and the top
was 1.5" thick. I used 8/4 rough material, and each board was 12" wide.
this top was seriously heavy - perhaps 100 pounds, and it was a chore to
move it around once it was glued up but not yet trimmed to length. The
thickness was a design element - I put a 1" deep chamfer on the underside
edge of the top, leaving a 1/2" rim. Other tables I've made have had a 5/4"
rough top, leaving just over 1" finished, and they ahve been very
I bought a 1.75" thick 72" by 30" butcher block maple work bench top from
KBC Tools, $271US, and 104 pounds shipping weight, for comparison. I like
the cleat/groove method of attaching tops, personally. I used my top as a
counter top in the kitchen.
The cleat and groove method will work fine. A few points if you go
with that method.
1. Make the cleats with the grain running perpendicular to the apron
so the tounge won't easily split off.
2. Make sure the groove is not only long enough to allow for expansion
but also deep enough top allow some in and out too.
3. Keep in mind that most of the movement will be inline with the
grain, not across the grain so that is the direction to ensure the
most allowance for movement.
4. Decide on your hold down points as late as possible in the building
process so you can place them strategicially to assit in pulling out
any cup or bow in your top.
Finally, I prefer table irons, the little figure 8 shaped metal hold
downs that you place in a bored hole that breaks the inside edge of
the apron. They can twist to account for movement in any direction and
are a lot quicker to layout and mill than slots and cleats. I can pull
out a Forstner and a hand drill and place them at the very last
moment, even though I have been having great luck with glue ups since
I started milling my stock from rough for any glue ups.
firstname.lastname@example.org (WoodChuck34) wrote in message
Unless you're going to use a flooring sander (and maybe even then) to
sand the thing down, I'd make it 3/4" in the field with a build up
strip on the perimeter.
The two inches would be a wasteful use of the wood and make the thing
heavy as hell to move around. It's too carpenterish. I know about
this because I started at woodworking as a carpenter and built
everything as though trucks were going to roll on it, for a long time.
Furniture making is about "moveable goods". Use the least amount of
wood to get the job done and keep the thing moveable. This way you
can spend your money on getting some really interesting oak, instead
of the budget telling you to buy in bulk.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
That sounds good. Strong enough to not fall apart, light enough for your
wife to move it.
I have seen a few things built by the beginner. If a 1 X 1 will do the job,
a 2 x 2 will be better, so let us use a 4 X 4. But to be on the safe side,
let us use an 8 X 8 so it won't fall down. Might have to lay down a 2 ft.
thick concrete floor to hold it without the floor cracking, but what the
Well, its all in good clean fun. and I see a lot of real good answers given
to the beginners, I hope that it will continue that way. When I started,
there wasn't anyone that I could ask. I used the Library and bought books,
ruined a few things while learning, made some things that looked just
terrible, but I was proud of them, and yes, I have overbuilt before I
learned just how strong a thin piece of wood can be when used the right way.
Er...in my humble opinion the thickness required is as follows....
Brownspotter age level -can get by with 1" thickness, depends on
Snotgobbler age level -1-1/2"
Rugrat age -1.5 to 2" thick
Tableape age -minimum 2" thick (make sure legs are close to table top
corners to prevent tipping of the table when child(?) goes to the
After this age level I'd simple ensure that the top is easily
removable because damage will be so severe that it won't be able to be
Hope this helps ;-)
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