Building Frame and Panel Table Top

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Forum topic by Rayy posted 11-05-2009 05:10 AM 4241 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2544 days

11-05-2009 05:10 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table table top joinery

I want to build a 40 in by 40 in Table Top but not out of plywood. So I figured my best possible bet will be to build a table top using multiple boards next to each other. I plan to use a frame and panel design, where I slide the boards next to each other. I have not worked out the details yet because I am not sure how I should do this.

So here are my options when placing the boards next to each other:
1. Use a dovetail edge joint along the sides to connect the boards into one.
2. Use a splined edge joint along the sides to connect the boards into one
3. Don’t connect the boards into one and use the frame to hold the boards together.

If you have better suggestions I’d consider them.

I’m looking for suggestions and problems with the design. The table top is used for a general table that I will be working on, eating on, drinking beer on. Because there are drinks on the table I expect spill and things like that. My main concern is how to deal with the spills and if they will damage the integrity of the top over time. Especially getting between the cracks.

I have not thought exactly on how I will connect the frame to the panel, but I was thinking of using 4 roughly 10 in x 40 in boards laid side to side to make the 40 in x 40 in table top (of course not taking into consideration sizes for the frame).

3 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3241 days

#1 posted 11-05-2009 01:00 PM

Ray, you may be trying to over complicate the construction of the top, in my opinion. If I were doing a top like this I would simply joint and edge glue the boards. Gluing long grain boards in this fashion produces a joint that is stronger than the wood itself. But if you want a reinforced joint then going with a , spline and groove would be the best proposal of the three that you have listed.

And you can certainly create a frame and panel of this size without any problem but the panel will need to float in the frame to allow for the panel’s expansion/contraction.

Here is a cabinet that I built for our laundry room. The top of the cabinet measures 30” x 42” and it was produced simply by edge gluing the individual boards.

One thing I would change if I were doing a counter top of the size you are wanting is to rip the individual boards to 6” or less in width to minimize potential cupping down the road.

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

View opalko's profile


135 posts in 2455 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 05:31 PM

Did you ever decide how to build the top you were considering? I am looking at a similar frame & panel top and am curious how others have done it.

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3067 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 06:40 PM

I’m sitting at a table with a frame and panel top right now – and
it’s at least 120 years old and holding up well, though in need of
some re-gluing.

Each panel has a cock-bead around the edges.

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