Large Dining Room Table from WoodWeb
When he says large, he means large: the poster who began this discussion thread asked for input and advice on an enormous table project. - Editor
"So, I've built tables before, but nothing quite this size. It will be 7 feet 9 inches wide, and 16 feet long. I'll be building it out of reclaimed oak. The top will be 1-3/4" x 9-5/16" planks (yep, we will need several Samoans to lift it into place), and to make it worse, I think I will use iron channel to stabilize and strengthen the top. It will be rustic, and I will build the base in three sections and assemble onsite. I've got some ideas of how to attack this, but am posting this simply to solicit thoughts, suggestions, ideas, and comments. Thanks." - Ron
One suggestion dealt with the installation. - Editor
"Vikings?" - Dave N.
Then there was a conversation about the joinery. - Editor
"Are you planning to join those giant planks or leave little gaps?" - John H.
"Yes, I will join them and glue them up. The wood is very old, and pretty stable. I am constantly checking [relative humidity] and [moisture content], so am not really concerned with that. If they have gathered moisture from somewhere, I'll throw them in the kiln for a few days. And I am in Utah, and the table will be staying in Utah, so pretty dry." - Ron
"You're doing the right thing joining them, however I find it very hard to successfully join planks that big with the equipment I have. Hopefully you're better equipped." - John H.
And some concerns about the "in-use" aspect of a dining table this large. - Editor
"Is this a conference table or a dining table? If this is for a dining table they might want to rethink the almost 8 foot width as the only way to pass the salt across the table would be to throw it. A table that wide would also tend to stifle dinner conversation." - Norman O.
"We did a mock-up in place at their castle, and did check the reach across the table. We decided that we will also build a couple large removable lazy Susans. The table had started out at 8 feet 6 inches x 17 feet, and they decided to shrink it some. I guess there are some family members who they don't mind not having conversation with, so they didn't want to shrink it too much. Ha Ha. We also joked about having a shuffleboard stick to push food back and forth. - Ron
And further conversation about the construction. - Editor
"I always cringe when I read about strengthening wood with steel. I don't know anything about your weather, but won't there be swings in humidity some time of the year? Maybe you are planning on slots to let the wood move. And isn't that over 800 pounds of wood, just in the top? Can't imagine trying to start a 90 pound board on the jointer, with 13' hanging off the bed. Sure hope that stock is straight line ripped. - Rich
"Seems like move the tools to the wood instead of the wood to the tools! I am thinking straightedge (aluminum angle works good, no harm if router nicks it), then clean edges, then drill and add dowels, then drill and use threaded rod, but some die springs made for tool and die jobs. This will be the expansion contraction "give." Plug the edges where the threaded rod is? Then hand power plane/sand?" - Dave
"So now to details. This wood is over 60 years old, and is actually pretty dang straight. I will need to join them, just to clean up the edges a little, and have built a long jig for the joiner that was used for building large box beam material. I was going to use steel channel and let it in with a plunge saw into the bottom of the planks, after using a Festool Domino to join the edges of the planks. The channel would be screwed to the planks from underneath. I would build the table in two halves lengthwise (3 x 5-3/8" x 16' -- leaving one plank out, as my wide belt is only 43" wide), run the two halves and the plank through the wide belt sander, then join the two halves and the extra plank together and hand plane and hand sand the center seams to finish. The skirting would be pocket screwed to the underside of the table, and the legs are difficult to describe without a sketch, but they will be double decoratively bandsawn square legs on a single wide foot with stretchers in between them. The foot on the bottom and a board on the top that will be screwed to the underside of the top. I will do three of the leg/foot components on near each end, and one in the center. The stretchers connecting the feet will be mortised and tenoned into the feet. I had planned on two steel channels in between the three leg/'foot components for extra stability. So that's the plan, but I'm not too proud to change plans based on good contribution." - Ron
"The problem I have encountered with the kind of thing you're doing -- in addition to the awesome task of schlepping huge planks, etc. -- is that 'pretty dang straight' isn't straight enough to make a consistently seamless glue joint -- and if 85 percent of the top is seamlessly glued and the remaining 15 percent doesn't quite join, it looks like a mistake. But hopefully your jig will enable you to join it perfectly." - John H.
"Point taken. Do you think I'd be better off straightening and cleaning up the edges with the Festool track saw? I have enough track to reach the length. The one 'out' that bounces around in the back of my mind is that it is 'rustic' and many of the "mistakes" can be disguised as such. That's what we've done hundreds of times on lots of different projects. We don't use it as an excuse for inferior workmanship, but sometimes we are dealt character inherent to the old wood, and add to that character with our methods. Maybe that sounds like a lame explanation, but things have really turned out very cool in the past." - Ron
Innovative Solutions to Strange Problems from Sawmill Creek
Although the "innovative solution to a strange problem" which began this thread dealt more with construction than with woodworking -- and the original poster seems to have quite a few of his own innovations to share -- the ideas are, indeed, intriguing. What about you, eZine readers? Have you ever created your own innovation to solve a strange problem? - Editor
"I had a situation at work, had to flash under already installed cedar shingles. Flashing is heavy copper, and if you have ever tried to slip flashing under cedar shingles, you will know what I mean. It's a pain. There is always one hanging you up. To add to it, it is only 2-1/2" off of a deck. On the way to the job I had an epiphany. I stopped and bought a box of sugar cubes. I pried out each shingle and shoved a sugar cube up between the shingles all the way down the wall. Then slipped the copper in and nailed it home with brass nails just below the shingles. Now I just walked down the wall with a rubber mallet, tapping the shingles and crushing the sugar cubes. Done! It was so easy I wish I had thought of it years ago, as I work on a lot of shingle style houses. Took a hose and rinsed away all the sugar real well to keep the ants away, and threw down some ant killer for good measure. What took me a day and a half and a lot of cuss words on the other end of the house took two hours." - Larry E.
"I don't know if you'd call it an innovative solution, but here goes. If I'm in a hurry, I use a lighter to heat the end of a hot-melt stick till it drips. A couple drops will tack something down fast. No waiting for a gun to heat up." - Andrew J.
"I did a little experiment today with poly glue. Gorilla, Titebond, etc. I put a small amount in two lids and covered with Saran™ Wrap, one with air and one with BlOxygen™ added. At the end of the day, the one with just a Saran Wrap cover was all foamed up, and the one with BlOxygen was still fine." - Larry E.
"My horsehair shop cleanup brushes get dirty (Duh!). Couple times a year I wash 'em with regular shampoo, then conditioning rinse, rinse with clear water. Clean and soft shop brushes good to go again." - Bill W.
"I had some West System® Epoxy in the back of my new truck and it tipped over and leaked. So, after I cleaned it up, I threw a bunch of golf balls in a box and pushed the West down in the golf balls and drove around kinda crazy like. Didn't tip over. I am going to have to figure out something like this for the back of the truck but a little more streamlined and easily removable when I need an empty bed." - Larry E.