Dining Room Table Project

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Project by schroeder posted 02-09-2007 09:07 PM 8572 views 11 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

...So I’m a hobby woodworker like a lot of people. And I commit to projects to help friends and relatives and try to make a piece for myself when I can. As with many things, woodworking has snowballed into a passion, so when a good friend was building a new home for his young family, he asked us to build his dining room table and chairs. I really had to think about it for a long time. I’d never attempted a project this big, and he was going to be stuck with it no matter how it turned out! Anyhow, I decided it was a good opportunity to try something new, and I always wanted to try a project like this.

So the specs he and his wife gave me were:
- Quarter sawn White Oak
- A unique finish
- Craftsman style but a unique design
- and…BIG!

So off I went….I got every book I could find on tables, chairs and craftsman design. I ended up designing a nine foot (by “designing” I mean stealing ideas from everyone) monster based on Rodel & others. For the finish, I opted to ammonia fume everything.

I picked up 500 bf of 8/4 White Oak (I had no idea how much I’d need), 3 gallons of 30% ammonia from a blueprint shop and went to work. …200 hours later (like I said – I’ve never done a project like this before) I had a dining room table that I was pleased with. The fuming doesn’t color sap and heartwood evenly which is what they wanted. I used 2 coats of sealer, 7 coats of poly and a final wax for the finish.

This thing is HEAVY! I wouldn’t venture to say what it weighs, but I’ve thrown my back out twice moving the damn thing. The project is finally done! I just completed the chairs (six side chairs, two end chairs) and I will post the whole thing on the project page once they are in his home and I can get some good pictures. They loved the table, which is what is important to me.

I’ll try and keep this up to date with the “chair” process (I’ve discovered that chairs are challenging for Schroeder…)


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

22 comments so far

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4302 days

#1 posted 02-09-2007 09:33 PM

That is a very nice table; I can’t wait to see the chairs. You found out as I had that the sapwood doesn’t have enough tannin in it to darken up like the heartwood. I have heard that there is a liquid tannin product on the market that you can put on the oak to help it darken up more evenly. I have not seen any though. Again very nice…

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Shawn's profile


225 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 02-09-2007 10:00 PM

beautiful schroeder…I;m in the process of “designing” a new table for my wife and I…I want mission style she wants…covered chairs, modern eww fest…so were working on it…

-- Cheers

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4202 days

#3 posted 02-09-2007 10:07 PM

You can create liquid tannin at home pretty easily – you probably already have all the ingredients you need, even! Here’s the list:

Hot water
Tea bag or coffee grounds or walnuts

Just make some tea – it has tannic acid in it, as do walnuts and coffee. You can get the tannin from any of these by steeping it with hot water. Let it steep for quite a while and then discard the bag/grounds/errr… nuts?

Using walnuts to create tannin for fuming oak strikes me as appropriate, for some reason. I think coffee might have more of a staining effect on the wood, too, so consider testing all three on scraps first to see which one works best.

Schroeder, that’s quite a fuming tent! Looks like it turned out great, from what I can see! Looking forward to more detailed pictures.

I read an article about Craftsman style homes and their construction some time back; one thing that struck me as sheer genius was how some of the craftsmen would finish the oak trim. Once they were done with the trim and moulding and baseboards in a room, they’d seal up the room except for one door, get a glass bowl, and then pour ammonia into the bowl and leave the room, sealing up the door behind them. They’d leave that room alone for 24 hours (finish out the trim in the next room, most likely). The next day they’d remove the ammonia and open the windows to clear out the fumes and they’d be left with the ammonia-fumed oak! A coat of BLO is all it would take to bring that great darker color out.

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#4 posted 02-09-2007 11:57 PM

first time you’ve attempted …. ??
(looking at my little projects!!)

this is wonderful. Everyone must be so proud of how this turned out. Congrats on living up to the challenge.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4266 days

#5 posted 02-10-2007 12:00 AM

WOW. Now this is what i call a productive day. I’ve seen some beautifully “designed” furniture, learned a new woodworking process and expanded my vocabulary.
Thank you Schroeder AND Ethan.

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4154 days

#6 posted 02-10-2007 01:00 AM

Thanks all – I appreciate the encouragement. And thanks especially for the tannin recipe! I’ll try it on future projects, but the client wanted el-natural on the table & chairs. Theres a lot more sap wood in the chairs, looks wild but pretty cool I think…

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#7 posted 02-10-2007 01:41 AM

That is a nice looking table. I’m real interested in how your chairs turn out. Quite the adventure in finishing to.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4356 days

#8 posted 02-10-2007 02:34 AM

quite a table – worth a trip to the chiropractor I’d say. Will surely stand up the entire family every thanksgiving (which I’d presume you now have an open invitation to – providing you bring the chairs (carve your name into one of them!).

Have enough of the Qtr sawn left over for your own table after all the chairs?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4205 days

#9 posted 02-10-2007 06:17 AM

Obi is right – there have been some great projects posted today and this is certainly one of them, Schroeder. This fuming idea is really grwoing on me. I’m going to have to do some experimentation on my small boxes. I have no idea whether the wood I use has enough or any tannin.

Love the table – well done!

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

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4356 days

#10 posted 02-10-2007 06:24 AM

I also like the information Ethan shared about alternatives… I think I may just make a “coffee table” :)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4328 days

#11 posted 02-10-2007 08:19 PM

Who wouldn’t love a table like that. You now have a friend for life, & will also for all future generations. That table is going to last forever.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4339 days

#12 posted 02-12-2007 09:33 PM

It’s the giving spirit of woodworkers that warms the soul. We make things for others and reap such benifit from it, plus the proud owners of this table will be asked for generations where they found such a wonderfully built and looking table and you will be the answer. What a legacy!! I too, look forward to seeing the chairs that you made for this masterpiece.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 4116 days

#13 posted 03-19-2007 09:16 PM

What a friend… You need to put a brand on the bottom of that one…


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3477 days

#14 posted 01-22-2009 02:35 PM

Ok…..just to let you know, I know that I’ve commented on a lot of your work….. I’m not a stalker.LOL..I just like your work :-) and we are really into the A/C style great looking table

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#15 posted 02-12-2010 06:32 PM

A great job looks fantastic.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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