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Build A Dining Room Table


Building a Dining Room Table

part one

 Shortly after reading an excellent article in Fine Woodworking Magazine, regarding the use of resin coated cardboard for table construction, we were commissioned to build a conference table, that would be perfect for using that technique. Several years later, we were building a nine foot long dinning room table, and it too was a perfect candidate for this lightweight, yet strong and stable design.This is a great way to build a dining room table.


Once a design was settled on, the construction details were pretty simple to come up with, as we already knew we wanted a light weight, and very stable table top. Due to the size of the top, (nine feet by four and a half feet), the term "light weight", still meant pretty heavy.

The table frame is 8/4" Mahogany, cut out of 8" wide pieces to allow for the curve, with rabits cut on the top and bottom edges. (photo 1).

 Table edge profile  Table frame   Honey comb cardboard and leg braces   Beginning the layout of the veneer

 The bottom rabit is 1/4" by 1", which will permit 1/4" M.D.F., to be glued and nailed to it. (photo 2). The top rabit is 1/2" by 1 1/2", to allow for 1/2" M.D.F. to be nail and glued to the top. M.D.F. is the perfect substrate for veneer work. The top 1/2" M.D.F. is available in "Ultra Light", which is what we used. It weighs about half that of regular M.D.F, and has many of the same benefits as it's counter part.

The remaining "tongue" is 3/4" thick, and matches the thickness of the cardboard core. It also gave us space to install 3/4" thick, crosspieces to fasten the table legs to, and stiffen the frame work. (photo 3). It is very important that the cardboard be flush with the top rabit, and the cross pieces. The 1/2" M.D.F. has been fitted to the opening, (photo 4), but it isn't glued in yet.

The next step is to dismantle all the parts, meaning the cardboard, cross braces and top M.D.F., and prepare to glue it up. (photo 5). We used a urea resin glue, which is a two part glue, a liquid and powder, which is the catalyst, and is available in several colors, to match the color of the wood being used. This will actually become grain filler in some instances, as it does penetrate through the veneer. Therefore a dark powder catalyst, for a light color veneer would be a problem.

 Prep for glue up  It's in the bag  Starting the lay up  Rough cutting the shape


The parts are coated with the glue, using a foam roller, and a heavy coat is applied. This will "lock in" the honey comb cardboard and crosspieces. Then the assembly is put into the vacuum bag, (photo 6). Our next step was to start rough cutting the veneers. ( photo 7). After this, we made a particleboard pattern in the shape table sides. After cutting the table frame about an 1/8" heavy, with a jigsaw, (photo 8), we used the pattern and a router to cut to the final shape. (photo 9). A series of patterns were made from 1/8" M.D.F., following another tip from Fine Woodworking Magazine, to make cutting the veneers to the proper shape possible. (photos 10,11,12)

 Routing the edge to the template    Making templates for cutting the curves  Templates for curves  Build A Dining Room Table Laying up the borders


Part two

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