Cherry dining table for eight

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Project by Peter_R posted 05-03-2011 05:12 AM 6486 views 9 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my largest undertaking so far. The dining table is made from solid cherry. The legs are also solid cherry that arrived as rough turning stocks. I am an amateur woodworker so this is my first time using joiner, planer and my second time using a router. I’m happy to report that I still have 10 fingers.

I wanted a farm table with a little contemporary feel to it. For wood selection, it was basically a process of elimination; pine is too soft, red oak is the same as my floors, mahogany is only sold in 10 ft+ section (couldn’t fit in my SUV). So Cherry was eventually chosen.

The top pieces were glued together with #10 biscuits every 8 inches. The ends were trimmed off using a circular saw.

The edging is 4-inch cherry with biscuit joints all around including the miter joints. I could have routed the edges but decided not to (to stick with with farm table look).

The legs were planed down using a Dewalt 12” planer from 4 3/8-inch turning stocks (all 4 weight about 80 lbs!). A router with 45 deg. bit was used to make the tapered corner for the frame. My router bit was a little too small so I had to run it twice and hand finish the tapers. Hanger bolts are 5/16” (should have gone with 3/8” for a table this size but it feels solid with two 5/16” at each corner).

Frames are made from 4-inch cherry, connected together using Kreg screws (I thought about tenon joints..etc but didn’t want to get too fancy with my first table).

Stain is Minwax Gel stain (Mahogany). I’m sure some members here will ask why not leave it natural!? The reason is that when I compared the cherry natural stain test piece to our red oak floor (also natural), it looked exactly the same. So, without having the table camouflaged against the floor, had to go darker. I know that Cherry will get darker overtime but, it’ll probably take 100 years with CFL bulbs hanging over the table. I can’t wait that long.

Top coat is Minwax water base poly semi-gloss. Spray on in a can (forgive me).

Learnings from my first table project:
1. You never can have enough pipe clamps. Go with 3/4” not 1/2” and make sure you have at least 6.
2. When you join the table top, test fit all the pieces and start gluing from the middle (if you start from one end, the last piece may not be as straight).
3. Make sure you clamp the ends when you glue so that the ends are even.
4. As you glue and clamp the pieces, wipe down excess glue with damp cloth. It’s a lot easier than letting it dry and trying to get rid of it.
5. Cherry is difficult to stain. Even after applying pre-stain, there were plenty of blotchy areas. Gel stains are ok as long as you know how to apply them.

Happy woodworking…

10 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3120 days

#1 posted 05-03-2011 05:15 AM

Really great looking table! That will look even better once the cherry darkens

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View D1st's profile


290 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 05-03-2011 05:52 AM

Nice table. Only way to learn from your mistakes is to make them and if you dont make any then even better. : )


View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3851 days

#3 posted 05-03-2011 12:50 PM

This is a good looking table. It is a solid well built piece of furniture that should last for years. Great job on this project!

Now how about building some chairs to go with it? :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1073 posts in 3202 days

#4 posted 05-03-2011 01:14 PM

Very nice looking table. i really like the detailed photos you included with the post, wish most posts had detail like this. That table looks very strong and will last for years to come. And just like Scott, are you building chairs for it?

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3773 days

#5 posted 05-03-2011 02:00 PM

This is a very nice looking table. Since you say you are new to woodworking, I just want to make some design observations that would concern me. The mitered corners on the top look nice, but I’m not sure they will stay together with the changes in weather, when the top shrinks and expands. You could get away with this design if the top were made of cherry plywood, banded with hardwood. Also, when this happens, the pocket screws may also give you problems. The pocket screws will do ok on a small table, but I’m skeptical with a large top like this. You may want to work in some table irons or buttons to replace the screws. I’m not trying to be critical in a negative way, but point out some design considerations that we all have to adhere to, in order to have long lasting furniture. Look into some of the designing info that’s out there and never quite learning.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3096 days

#6 posted 05-03-2011 02:02 PM

Great job!! Nice design.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Peter_R's profile


13 posts in 2721 days

#7 posted 05-03-2011 02:58 PM

Thank you for your comments. I do not plan on making the chairs because I’ll have to make 6 or 8 of them and it will take a while to finish all. Great observation on the miter joints and the Kreg screws. I had the same concern when I put in the shorter edge pieces at the head of the table but without it, the table just looks odd . Hopefully, the miter joints will hold up because of the glue and the biscuit in the joint. I may loosen the Kreg screws a little or change to buttons. Thanks for the suggestions.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4275 days

#8 posted 05-03-2011 05:43 PM

Great looking table and a beautiful piece for your first. It would be gorgeous for an experienced woodworker. You did very well. I love it.

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

View Skip Brewer's profile

Skip Brewer

24 posts in 2664 days

#9 posted 05-04-2011 06:14 PM

This is a beautiful table. My only question is how you accounted for wood movement in the top. From your description, it sounds like the end boards are attached to the panel using biscuits and glue – are you concerned about the cross-grain glue joint separating over time due to expansion and contraction of the wood?

-- Skip, Califormia

View Peter_R's profile


13 posts in 2721 days

#10 posted 05-05-2011 01:18 AM

Skip, yes. I am a little concern but there is nothing I can do now. I hope that with the table in the house, the temperature will not fluctuate that much. If the cross pieces come apart, I will cut out both, replace it with full width cross pieces without the miter joints and attach to the main top piece with full length spline. Let me know if you have other ideas. Thanks.

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