Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set #7: I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...

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Blog entry by CaptainSkully posted 01-07-2010 09:09 AM 2210 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: The Hard Part Part 7 of Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set series Part 8: Welcome to the Big Top »

When I bought the $500 worth of quartersawn white oak a few months ago, I promised my girlfriend that I’d make a dining table for Thanksgiving. We had to run down to the Caribbean for a business trip over Turkey Day (don’t cry for me), so we fried a turkey the weekend before. Long story short, Christmas and New Years came and went and we’re still serving it up on the MDF mock up. Sigh… I found an unexpected week off between sailing lessons (I’ve got 20 days worth in January, so much for the off-season), so I got myself all jazzed to make progress on the dining room table.

^ I busted out all the QSWO I had and selected the best pieces for the top, then I arranged them according to medullary ray flake, color, grain, etc. with the help of my furry supervisor.

^ I was dreading the glue up until I remembered that I read on here somewhere that you don’t have to glue up all the boards at once (duh!). I did one seam at a time and was able to control things (with the help of the “persuader”). It took all night to do all of the glue ups, but the end result was the largest, and best table top I’ve ever done. I no longer use biscuits for these kinds of glue-ups because for some reason they have caused me more alignment problems than they solve.

I flipped the table over and sanded the joints until the entire top looks practically like one huge slab. I bought 5/4 and only planed the top surface to leave it as thick as possible yet still achieve uniform thickness.

Then there was the breadboard ends. I thought I was going to make fixed ends, but we made an executive decision to make it expandable, so I ran off to the woodworking store and got some hardware for just such an occasion. I was rather proud of the tongue I milled into the top of the table (I offset it to make the breadboard end top as thick as possible. We also decided on a completely flush top (ala Kevin Rodel), so the placemats would sit flat. Needless to say, I had to cut my tongue off and then use a straight edge to trim it flush with the router.

^ I made a template for the router to plow out the notches in the breadboard ends necessary to seat the slider bars deep enough for strength, but tucked back enough so you wouldn’t necessarily see it unless you were looking. I taped everything to reduce chipout and was relatively successful. I bought 8/4 for the breadboard ends specifically so I wouldn’t have to glue up a thicker board and stare at the seams. The proportions turned out amazing. The field of the table is beefy enough for the size (38” x 62” = Golden Ratio), and the ends give it enough mass to feel solid. I used all of my safety gear when cutting the 8/4 stock. It made me considerably more confident.

^ I then had to make the brackets for the sliding bars to slide through. I made the sliders thick enough to bear the weight of the leaves, so I had to make the brackets large enough to handle the sliders. I drilled a large diameter hole in the inside corner to reduce splitting (splitting is inversely proportional to the radius of the intersection) and milled the rest out. Doing anything eight times is tedious. I had to focus on safety as what’s left of my fingers were very close to the blade.

^ Here you see my sliding expanding table in all it’s raging glory. I think it might actually work. I glued the pads to the underside of the table to match the thickness of the breadboard ends, which make the hardware line up. I could’ve routed a notch into the breadboard ends deep enough so the bottom would be flush with the bottom of the field, but I didn’t want to undermine the solidity of the ends.

Tomorrow is more sanding, some small tweaking, and laying out the base onto the bottom of the top. Because of the way I jury-rigged everything to make the breadboard ends slide out, I need to lay out the 4”x4” legs, aprons, etc. to make sure nothing interferes with the sliding mechanism. To complicate matters further, I learned from my old apartment table that you need to make sure two chairs can fit easily between the legs, side by side. As a result, I’m going to lay out the leg spacing very carefully. Of course that is completely determinded by which base I'm going to make. I guess I’ll make that permanent decision tomorrow morning over coffee and my daily LJ’s fix. Sigh…

Unless some cosmic event interferes, I’ll be using the formula that I used to finish the pagoda tile frame. I’m hoping the table will look instantly like it’s a hundred years old.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

5 comments so far

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3310 days

#1 posted 01-07-2010 02:15 PM

WOW. looking great. I will interested in following you progress

I recently found this site. It explains many of the ‘Do and Don’ts’ of dining room table construction, includng measurements.

When you are done, please post final pic’s and report…..As I must start my first dining room table this spring.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4247 days

#2 posted 01-07-2010 02:25 PM

Good luck looks good so far. Long way to go yet though. Like I said good luck.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 01-07-2010 07:24 PM

Thanks Rustfever. Lots of good info on that site. I had an ergonomics class in college that really helped my woodworking designs.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4077 days

#4 posted 01-18-2010 08:00 AM

finally catching up…looks good…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3939 days

#5 posted 01-18-2010 02:50 PM

Looking good, and I’m really enjoying your process descrption. I’m also really sorry that you had to go to the Caribbean. ;-)

-- Working at Woodworking

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