walnut dining room table

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benwise

New User
Ben
Hi there,

I'm new here as a member, though I've been reading through these threads and benefitting from them for a while now. (everyone here is so nice!) So I thought I'd throw out a question about a project I'm working on. It is a massive dining room table made from walnut--my wife and I want a huge table, around which we can fit boatloads of people and do lots of laughing and eating. The table top is 103" by 46", all the pieces running lengthwise with no breadboard, etc. It will have a sort of modified trestle base. I have a picture of the work in progress but can't figure out how to post it here :(. Anyways, I have one main question:

With a table top this big, how do you recommend attaching the top to the base to allow for seasonal movement? A caveat--the top is slightly warped and needs to be pulled down by whatever method I use. My thought was to run four braces (possible square metal tubing) across the bottom of the table with slots in them, and screw it in from the bottom. Also, the table top will need to be able to come on and off.

My other question actually is technical: how do I post a pic on here, so I can show you the design I'm working off of, as well as the table in progress? So you can have a better idea of what I'm talking about? cheers mates. Ben
 

nelsone

New User
Ed
Wow, that will be a BIG table! Some cleats across the bottom will help, but you will need to account for movement. As for the warp, I'd recommend you plane it as flat as possible. Depending on how wide you make the tressle, you can probably just take 4 dowels in the tressle stretchers and 4 mating holes in the top and just let gravity hold it.

There should be a tutorial on posting pics in the FAQ section.

Good luck, you will probably get some better suggestions on the table!

By the way, WELCOME!
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
Hi Ben and WELCOME to NCWWK'r!!!!!:icon_thum:icon_thum:icon_thum

You probably already know that there is a tremendous level of talent here at site.

I personally don't see that your idea for attaching the tabletop wouldn't work. Especially if you need to have it come apart for moving etc.. It may be helpful if you could tell us how much of a warp you are having to deal with?

As for posting pictures; there is a recently posted FAQ under the Frequently Asked Questions in the toolbar. Here is the link...

http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/f70/how-post-pictures-updated-delux-fat-free-18006/

I am sure there will be someone along shortly, for giving you some more ideas regarding your tabletop. (A project like yours is one that I have never undertaken!:embaresse)

Good luck with your table and hope to see some pictures of your projects here at the site.

Wayne
 

benwise

New User
Ben
OK, here's a try at getting these pictures (thnx wayne!),

The work in progress:

TableInProgress.jpg


The design I'm working from:

TableSidePic.jpg
 

ptt49er

Phillip
Corporate Member
I LOVE that table!!!

Where did the picture come from?

I might just have to copy your project.

And if you don't mind, take a second and head over to the "Who We Are" forum and introduce yourself. It'll help with becoming discount qualified.
 

Steve W

New User
Steve
Man, that's massive!:eek:

Nice-looking design, too. You're gonna need a forklift to move that top. With that much heft, the gravity idea should work, methinks.

Welcome to the sawdust-pile, BTW.

:kermit: Steve
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I've just completed a couple smaller tables for my kids. One in oak and one in cherry. The design is much different with 4. 3 inch square legs and an apron. It does not appear your design has an apron unless it is tucked up under there somewhere. The apron on mine is about 3 inches tall and set back 6-8 inches from the edge of the top. There are dados in the apron on the short side that runs across the grain of the top. You make little blocks of scraps that go into the dados and get screwed to the table top. They allow wood movement because the lip of the block slides in the dado. Wish I had a picture.

Without an apron, you would need something on the ends to attach the top to. You could anchor the center solidly but will need slotted holes for the attachments away from the center. You can screw these down tight enough to pull a little bow out of the top without worrying about binding up the wood so much it splits. When wood wants to move due to a humidity change, it won't matter how tight you screwed it down, it will move.

If your table will see direct sunlight much, you might want to use a finish that has a UV inhibiter. Sunlight will bleach out walnut. I have a couple end tables, a coffee table and a curio cabinet in the living room that are 10-20 years old and are fine because they get only indirect light. I put walnut caps on the newel posts of the stairs, however, and they get direct sunlight - 2 of the 3 - and they are bleached out badly in only less than 5 years. I can easily replace the newel caps but you wouldn't want that to happen to your nice table.

However you finish the top, finish the bottom the same as the top. My sons table in oak, for instance, got oil based poly top and bottom with a coat or two less on the bottom. My daughters table in cherry got Resisthane, a water based lacquer, with 3 or 4 coats on the bottom and 6 on the top. If you prevent moisture from entering one side but permit it on the other, you won't like what happens.

Jim
 

mlzettl

Matt
Corporate Member
Wow, that's a bunch of walnut!! I think the top needs to be attached to the base by more than just gravity. Given the size and weight of the top, that would work just fine as long as you didn't have to move the table at all. If this is like most dining tables in people's homes, there is at least an occasional need to move it a few inches this way or that way. If the top is not mechanically attached moving it becomes more difficult, unless of course you just slide it across the floor.

It would be nice to know how much of a warp you are dealing with. The top could be attached to cleats as you mentioned, although metal is just not esthetically appealing to me. Your feelings may differ. Wood cleats with slotted holes to attach the top to the cleats, and also the cleats to the base would provide a reasonable solution. I can't tell from the photo what the top of the base looks like, so determining the ideal top to base attachment is impossible. Generally, in a table this large which would have to be disassembled for moving, I like to use some type of system using hex bolts into brass threaded inserts. This is very secure, and can be disassembled and reassembled countless times without risk of stripping out a wood or lag screw threaded into the wood itself.

I hope my rambling and thinking out loud helps some.

Matt
 

cpowell

New User
Chuck
If the bow is not too bad then you can pull it down with screws. You could go concave down and fix the table at the center point on each side then let the remainder float using slots (hope that makes sense). You can do the same thing using wood if you don't want the metal mixed into the piece.

The shrinkulator http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/shrinkulator.htm estimates around 1/4 inch movement between 8 and 12 percent moisture change for a 24 inch width (roughly half your table width, assuming the center is pinned).

The wood looks beautiful - I love the sapwood inclusion.

Where did you buy the walnut and what size? Looks like 6/4 maybe? I need about 100 bd ft.

Chuck
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I can't tell how your trestle is fully designed but here is how I attached mine. It isn't the traditional way, but it is working quite well:

The fasteners. The bolt with lock nuts is my home made installation tool. The screwdriver slots on the insert are not stout enough to screw them into walnut:


The structure of the base to top, viewed upside down:


The fasteners just screwed into the inserts without the base (again upside down):


and a shot of the base with loose fasteners. The center rail (stretcher) fastener holes allow no movement. The cross supports are elongated to allow 1/4" either direction. The countersink for the head was made with a 3/4" forstner bit.


Fasteners are labelled "furniture fasteners" and I found them at Lowes in their specialy fastener drawers. Inserts the same. Both are 1/4 - 20 thread. Total cost about $10 - $12. Stretcher fasteners are tight. Cross-support fasteners are just hand snug (light) to allow movement.

Hope this helps

Go
 

benwise

New User
Ben
I LOVE that table!!!

Where did the picture come from?

I might just have to copy your project.

Thanks ptt. It was at someone's house and I was like, Umm, can I take a picture of your table? I just loved the design. Have no idea as to the origins.
 

benwise

New User
Ben
It would be nice to know how much of a warp you are dealing with.

Matt

It's actually a pretty nasty warp. the wood came from a tree that had fallen in a friend's yard (I barely saved it from the firewood pile!); I had it milled and then I dried it in my attic for about ten years. At any rate, the boards would not make a perfectionist happy, but I'm all about makin it work. So...I would say one corner of the table sits about 3/8" (maybe 1/2"--I'm not looking at it at the moment) higher than the rest. Two people can stand at both ends and hold the ends down with not too much effort, and it will lay flat. b/c its so big, it's relatively flexible.
 

benwise

New User
Ben
The wood looks beautiful - I love the sapwood inclusion.

Where did you buy the walnut and what size? Looks like 6/4 maybe? I need about 100 bd ft.

Chuck

Thanks Chuck--I love the sapwood too. It gives it some spice. The outside edge pieces are 8/4, and everything else is 4/4 (I glued the ends so they were thicker). I wish I could tell you a good place to buy good walnut but I just lucked out! craiglist sometimes will have some decent deals.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this, you are kind to spend time helping me out! bw
 

mlzettl

Matt
Corporate Member
Mark's excellent description with included photos is exactly what I'm talking about. You can find the brass inserts in varying sizes and at good prices at mail order places like McFeeley's. I keep a fair number of them on hand all the time, as I have found them to be useful in a number of applications.

With the warp that you have, I think it would still be possible to pull it flat with Mark's system. With slotted holes for the outside bolts, wood movement could occur, and you would have a solid, stable attachment.

Please let us know how you decide to do it, and post some photos.

Good luck,

Matt
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
That is a great looking table, but a BIG project. I can't think of anything better to seat a bunch of people, especially during a holiday or birthday party.

Don't forget to post more progress pictures! :)
 

Travis Porter

New User
Travis
I like the brass insert idea, but if you are trying to pull out warp, I would be a bit concerned about pulling out the insert.

Regardless how you do it, if you create a slot for your fasteners of say 1/2" then I would think you would be good on the movement front.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I would consider the finish in deciding on how much movement to allow for. If you seal the wood with poly or varnish, it will not experience the same moisture variation that the surrounding air experiences. It would be bad not to assume it varies some but much less than the full amount of the air in my experience. With the top and bottom sealed, I would think 1/8 to 1/4 is probably sufficient. If you oil finish, you way want to allow the full 1/2 per side. I do not consider an oil finish suitable for a frequently used table but it does look nice on walnut. I would consider a coat of boiled linseed oil, let it dry a week, then I like Resisthane but without spray equipment I would use an oil based poly (even though it will effectively tint the sapwood). Final coats would be wipe on because I can get an even surface better but a coat or two of brush on would build the necessary thickness quicker.

Jim
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I corrected my post to indicate 1/4" movement each way. (I drilled three adjacent holes and cleaned up with a chisel) The fasteners are 9" off the centerline. So far, I have seen <1/16" movement on each edge, (20" off the centerline) so I feel that should be sufficient.

However, I did finish both top and bottom, so rate of change due to moisture will be somewhat attenuated. With the varying humidity in a kitchen dining area, I wanted to slow down moisture impact.

Go
 
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