Dining Room Table

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Project by Damian Penney posted 07-07-2007 05:55 AM 3211 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just a real simple dining room table. Legs and frame are red oak, and the top is a sheet of quarter sawn white oak ply, edged with solid white oak. Rails are attached with mortise and tenons. I’ve pretty much posted my projects in reverse chronological order which is why they are getting worse not better :) I only have one last thing to post which was my first project (so this was my second).

I originally started this project in our old house which had a smaller dining room, I’d already built the frame but it was only going to seat six so after we moved I had to make the longer rails, popped the top on it et voila. It’s a bit rough and ready but does the trick, and with my 16 month old banging away at it every night it would be a shame if it was heirloom quality :) That’s my excuse anyway.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

15 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4004 days

#1 posted 07-07-2007 06:01 AM

Hi Damian;

Good job. I don’t know what your referring to saying there getting worse. It looks good to me.

I like the color you chose. What kind of finish did you put on it?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4110 days

#2 posted 07-07-2007 06:17 AM

I agree Lee. Looks good to me. Be happy to have it in my home.

As to heirloom quality I disagree Damian. Mark started a thread on the definition of heirloom. I think the term is overused in marketing schlock. An heirloom is something that is treasured by a family. It may have no intrinsic value. I think your table does and will grow in intrinsic value, and your son’s son will believe it an heirloom. Thing’s like scars created by Dad when he was a kid is what creates heirlooms. The testament to the quality comes by the fact that the table will still be around to tell the story.

-- Bob

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4201 days

#3 posted 07-07-2007 07:33 AM

Nice work, Damian Penney!

When I look at a project like this it makes me realize just how small my projects have been. My largest was this one, but other than that most have been small. I guess it primarily reflects the fact that I have a very small workshop.

I like your selection of wood, design and finish. What is the finish, by the way?

I recently re-finished an old Oak veneered desk I’ve owned for about thirty-five years. I used a Wipe-On Poly finish and was really pleased the the end result. Unfortunately, I recently removed an old AA battery from a flashlight and lay it down on the desk. It must have been there for a few days and been rolled along the top as I shuffled papers. Well, you should see the mess this made of my finish. The battery acid did short work of the top which I will now have to refinish.

Feel my pain!


-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4016 days

#4 posted 07-07-2007 07:36 AM

Well thanks for the kind words guys. The finish was a number of coats of garnet shellac, I forget the cut, and then wipe on poly over that for better protection. I think the issue I have with this piece is that with hindsight I would have liked some additional heft, perhaps making the top 1 1/2 thick with a 2” border instead on 3/4” with a 1” edge, it just feels a bit light. The other thing I’m not too happy with is the finish, I would have preferred a glossier/smoother finish, still feels a little grainy to the touch. It had been a long time coming and I feel as though I rushed the finishing in order to get to use it. I do agree that it’s the memories that make a piece special but I think we all have those shoulda woulda coulda projects and seeing as I use this thing every day I’m continually reminded of the things I could have done better (not that anyone else would ever really notice)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4335 days

#5 posted 07-07-2007 08:48 AM

The table looks good to me! Nice work.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4021 days

#6 posted 07-07-2007 09:55 AM

I hear what you’re saying about the heft, but that aside – for a second piece of furniture, this is really good. You picked a really pretty sheet of quartersawn WHITE oak ply (could’ve been red!) and you chose to use mortise and tenon joinery (on the not-so-visible red oak)! I’d say you made some really wise decisions early on there!!!

Oh – how did you cut the mortise and tenons on this? Mortiser, drill and bench chisel, mortise chisel…? It’s always amazing how many different ways there are to do things!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4271 days

#7 posted 07-07-2007 03:08 PM

Every project I’ve ever done I’ve wished I’d done something different. I think it’s our urge to be perfectionists. Practice being satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. It’s a very nice table, sure you could have done some things different but you did’nt. So what. Next time do it differently. Your friend, jockmike

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

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4351 days

#8 posted 07-07-2007 04:54 PM

That’s a nice looking table Damian. A dining room table is something that I would like to make someday. Did you make the chairs as well?

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#9 posted 07-07-2007 11:11 PM

I agree with everyone else, Damian…. it looks really nice. Please tell us about cutting the mortise and tenon joints. That is one step in my woodworking learning process I have avoided like the plague. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 4018 days

#10 posted 07-08-2007 01:54 AM

”It’s a bit rough and ready but does the trick, and with my 16 month old banging away at it every night it would be a shame if it was heirloom quality :) ” – Damian

I like that mindset. If it was a “beautiful and amazing” piece, you wouldn’t want to use it (or you could be a nervous wreck whenever you used it). We must gauge our quality according to it’s function.

It is a beautiful table. Someday when the kids are all grown up, make the “amazing” table that you’ve always wanted to build. (but then watch those grandchildren ;^D )

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4061 days

#11 posted 07-08-2007 06:02 AM

Just awesome, Damian. Taking on a project like this where people sit at it for hours. It takes a special type of woodworker to make a table that people eat at. This one is really nice!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4016 days

#12 posted 07-09-2007 01:37 AM

The mortise and tenons were done by using a router and edge guide for the mortises and I think I did the tenons with my miter saw and a stop block. The m/t’s weren’t difficult at all so I wouldn’t be afraid of tackling them.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4124 days

#13 posted 07-15-2007 06:21 PM

I like this table. The woulda, shoulda, coulda’s made me a better woodworker. It’s part of the process.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Andy's profile


1694 posts in 3933 days

#14 posted 09-18-2007 01:04 AM

That is really a very beautiful table Damian.Tables are one of the most sastifying projects ,in my opinion.I love many designs and the fact that they are the most used furniture.Nice work!

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1896 posts in 3696 days

#15 posted 06-03-2008 06:33 AM

Nice table!! I too enjoy building them!! Keep up the good work!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

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