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Build A Dining Room Table
Building a Dining Room
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).
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.
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.
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