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Building a Dining Room Table

Making a Dining Room Table

Part 1

For sizing a Table, check the Furniture Making Tips Index. Dining Room Table Design There is another Dining Table Project there as well.

 A designer called me recently, to discuss a dining room table she needed to find for a client. The table needed to seat twenty people. They had found a table made in Italy, that fitted the bill. However the price was out of the clients desired range. This table is going into a new house, with entirely new furniture, so it's understandable that he wanted to save some money.


I met with the designer to look at the catalog, since a table that large sounded like it would be fun, and challenging to build. She mentioned it had a fair amount of carving on it, and a veneered top. This really made it something I would be interested in doing. I looked at the picture of the table, and while it isn't my own personal favorite style, I still wanted to build it.

Being the horrible business man that I am, I was much more interested in the challenge of it, than the money I could make from it. After a couple meetings in the shop, with the potential client, we agreed on the details of the project, as well as a price.

The size of the table is 54 inches wide, and 17 feet long, with the two leaves installed. It is 14 feet without the two leafs. It will have three pedestals, which remain stationary, while the top opens. The two leaves will be stored in the table itself, when not in use. The leaves will not interfere with the design created with the veneer pattern. Meaning the pattern will be followed on the leaves.

Not having a drawing or print to work from means designing it on the fly. Not the most practical way to approach a project like this, but, at the same time it allows incredible design flexibility.

The first step was to determine the diameter of the pedestal bases. After coming up with a number, based on the width of the table, I laid out the base details.

  The Overall Base Diameter  Laying out the pedestal bases  Laying out the pedestal bases 3

The center circle represents the center column, which will consist of a twelve part, tapered base, made of Mahogany. Much of the carving will be done in this Mahogany. These parts will not be structural per say, but they will help stabilize the columns. The actual structural component is also a twelve part post, which travels up the center of the column, and is full height. The center columns are made from a relatively new product called F.X.P. This is a plywood core, with an M.D.F. layer on both sides. I have been using more and more of it in the shop, as it has the benefits of both materials.

The columns are fairly simple to make, and I got the width for them from measuring my template. After ripping the pieces to width, I test assemble the part with blue painters tape. I then laid the pieces on two strips of duct tape, ran a bead of yellow glue between the slats, and pulled them tight with duct tape tape as the clamping system. This is a trick that saves a lot of time, and is very effective at holding glue ups.

  Making the center post   Dry fit to check size  Glued and taped post 1



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