Maple Dining Table Laminated Apron

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Project by Dave G posted 01-06-2013 10:18 AM 1718 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I liked the idea of a curved apron for a clean look so I laminated hard maple. The top is 5/4 birdseye maple floating on the base and held to the apron with the small holddowns and routed slot in the apron. Without leaves, the top is 47 inch diameter. Each half top is 2-3 boards glued up. The leaves are whole boards of varying width – no glue joints.

The birdseye makes a nice dining top. People like to stare at it while collecting thoughts in conversation.

The reason the top is an odd diameter was to make use of 4 foot “shorts” stock for greatly reduced cost.

For the lamination I used 3/16 hard maple made with resaw blade in bandsaw then smoothed in portable planer. To glue up I used resin glue on an mdf form. The form was made with smaller radius than final intended radius based on some interesting estimation of curve springback (Schleining, Lon, “Wood Bending Made Simple,” p. 18). If you don’t want to buy this very good book I can reproduce the calculation for you in the comments – just ask. Miraculously the springback estimate was right on – I only had to make one form and one set of apron pieces!

For joinery I used a sliding dovetail to join the apron pieces to the legs. The leg tops were trimmed into a segment shape after turning to make for simple sliding joint. Leaves join to each other and the half-tops using brass bullet dowels. In addition to the sliding dovetail I screwed a stabilizing board to the leg top in each half. This worked really well. The table is rock steady. I’ve even loaded it up completely with books while moving book cases and it didn’t budge. Removing the pocket screws allows the whole table to break down though that’s not really necessary because after removing the floating top the half-top leg assemblies are nearly flat.

The legs are my own design. That design worked well but I had decided to use soft maple which I’m not too happy about because it shows brown discoloration in spots. I did that to save cost -thick hard maple stock is wicked expensive and I didn’t want many glue joints. People don’t look much at the legs.

In fact they don’t seem to notice the curved apron either. But I do and am glad I did that.

I finished with 5 coats brushing lacquer. I did not bother to buff it. The idea is to have a low worry easy to fix finish that doesn’t show incidental scratches. I did not try to color the wood. It has mellowed a bit over two years and is pleasing to look at. But I regret not trying slight coloring to make the birdseye pop more.

It looks like I’d better dust the floor before my wife notices. I think it’s from a plaster job in the bathroom.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

5 comments so far

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2335 days

#1 posted 01-07-2013 03:31 PM

awesome table great job on the joinery.
the curved apron turned out great.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2318 days

#2 posted 01-07-2013 04:58 PM

You must be proud of yourself! That’s a great craftsmanship.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View dougsmith's profile


11 posts in 2078 days

#3 posted 02-10-2013 12:54 PM

Beautiful work, and nice choice of wood. I am thinking about making something like this, and was figuring that the best way to do the apron would be to laminate it on a form. Guess I should check out that book.

-- Doug

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2193 days

#4 posted 02-10-2013 04:39 PM

The book is really useful. There is also another project in lumberjocks posted a few months ago done with laminated apron that may offer other tips.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 2172 days

#5 posted 05-16-2013 10:18 AM

Nice maple dining table.Maple wood is durable.A beautiful solid dining table can add a lot to your dining room style.Selecting a solid wood dining table is definitely not an easy task because you do not want to make a wrong choice especially since it is a rather expensive item so you will tend to be extra careful.

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