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Large dining table

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I've always wanted a big and robust dining table, but they cost a fortune. So why not build my own?
It really isn't that difficult and took me about three days to complete.
This does not give you a very thorough description of how to make the table, but it will give you a rough idea of what it can look like.
I wanted to make a table made completley out of wood, so no nails or screws are used.
It's important to get thick enough and straight planks. The better material, the better your table will be.
I like to do things from scratch so I went out and got some logs in our forest and took them to the local sawmill.
 
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Step 1: Preparing the planks

Now it's time for the tedious but rather meditative planing, grinding and milling.
The easiest option is to buy prepared planks but if you have the tools it doesn't take that long.

Step 2: The tabletop is starting to form

Picture of The tabletop is starting to form
Cut the logs in the exact same length and round off the edges with a wood shaper.
Cut the transverse plank in a classy shape and grind it to a smooth surface and round off the edges.
patticake16013 months ago
beautiful work!
nice
danzo3214 months ago
I'm not an expert on this but if you started with green lumber, got to expect a lot of warping as they get down to indoor humidity level. And that's why we get kiln-dried lumber.
ar_caver danzo3213 months ago
Kiln drying is not the only way to dry wood, and it can lead to case hardening. Plenty of fine furniture is made with wood dried by stickering.
danzo3214 months ago
I made a 12 foot picnic table with this same technique. I didn't care if they were 90º, easy anyway to lay the wood out and know what distance to put 2 parallel lines - representing the floor and the height to table bottom. Then scribe whatever diagonals you get where the planks cross and notch them both out.
elking4 months ago
nice job, what type of wood is it?
There is an Italian word that is apt : magnificenza.
The c is actually pronounced like ch as in children.
You can be proud that you have built something magnificenza
for your great great grandchildren to tell stories around.
Bravo.
Bravissimo.
ar_caver4 months ago
Beautiful table! Destined to be a family heirloom. Contrary to the comment that this isn't reproducible I think it's very reproducible. Of course I have my own forest. But even someone in a suburban environment may have a large tree in their yard or in a neighbors yard that for one reason or another has to be removed. Storm damage for instance. rather than let the wood be mulched why not call someone with a small mill and pay them to turn it into planks. Or better yet buy one of the chainsaw attachments that allow you to mill it yourself.
As for tools, I don't see anything that couldn't be done with basic, non-powered handtools that I've seen at numerous yard sales, flea markets and antique stores. Just in the last week I've seen every saw, chisel, plane, mallet, brace and bit needed for a project like this. Lots of good tutorials out there on how to tune up an old hand plane and other tools. With a table that may last centuries what difference does it make if it takes six months or two years to build?
thebeatonpath4 months ago
Beautiful table! You are correct. Huge table are a fortune and this gave me ideas on how to make my own because I've always wanted an extra long table with mismatched chairs.
BimboKay4 months ago
I'm a 73-year-old female with bad knees--my wrists are nothing to brag about. I live in the desert and have no power tools (well...I do have a vacuum cleaner and a sewing machine). Still, I LOVED seeing and reading about this table. It's the first "Instructable" I clicked on in this December 1 issue. The majority of the "personal products" are not reproducible by me. I still look forward to every issue and checking out most of the projects. Keep on!
chuckyd4 months ago
Two comments:

1) Wet glasses and other wet implements will leave rings in the laquer finish. To get rid of the rings you will need to refinish the table. A more durable finish is three coats of satin polyurethane. That finished survived three kids and gallons of red Kool-Aid for 12 years.

2) To allow for thermal and moisture movement of the top planks, the top should NOT be tight to the cross pieces. The cross pieces should have elongated holes to allow the wood planks to swell and shrink across their width. If you don't want to use metal screws you could make a dowel shaped somewhat like a rivet.

Great design, though.
rdrosd4 months ago
A word of caution to anyone building furniture. You should only use wood that has been properly kiln-dried or air-dried. Using fresh (green) lumber will make sanding and finishing difficult, if not impossible, and as the wood dries, it will warp and crack. Unless you are prepared to sticker (stack) and dry the lumber you have milled, you should purchase dried lumber from you local hardwood or softwood lumberyard.
herquiltness4 months ago
Beautiful! Are the cross sections at the ends in far enough for someone to sit comfortably without spilling all the water glasses, or is there a limit to how far in they can go before stability is compromised? AND, how cool that you can make a table from lumber you harvested! Thanks for sharing.
DIYfan4 months ago
The table is buildable with lumber available at local lumberyards. Use 2x6, 2x8, 2xWhatever - it's a simple table and uses lumber. You don't have to do your own lumberjacking. The design idea is workable for store bought materials.
molarin (author) 4 months ago
I drew the square that I needed to cut out and drilled a hole in each corner. Then I used a jigsaw to saw between the holes. The blade from a jigsaw can easily be removed so you just have to stick it through the hole and attach it to the saw again. I finished of with a rasp to get the perfect fit.
I wanted to build a table without nails or screws as a challenge. I attached the table top planks with wood dowels and glue.
dtousey4 months ago
Beautiful table. How did you cut the hole in the center of the legs? I'm also curious as to why you chose to cut and slat the legs versus just nailing them together.
molarin (author) 4 months ago
Thanks for the back up guys. I'm new here and it's nice to get some positive feedback.
I had no intention of publishing this when I built the table but when I found this website I thought it could be worth sharing so I uploaded the photos that I had. It always helps someone. The photos from the sawmill were just for fun.
I bought the candle holders from a friend, unfortunately I'm not sure where they came from.
phish8144 months ago
Where did you get those candle holders in the last photo?
nice job!
jadeborade4 months ago
Still not getting how to make a table. :-(
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