Questions about preparing large boards for a dinner table

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Forum topic by PJwood posted 10-05-2015 08:09 PM 557 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 3119 days

10-05-2015 08:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dinner table large board truing boards question

I cut on the small sawmill Eastern red cedar boards that are about 14’ long, 16” wide and 2.5” thick. This is to make a dinner table (oval shape, long diameter about 10-11’, short diameter about 5’).

Out of the sawmill, the boards are neither really flat, nor are the edge true or 90 degree. The wood is air drying on sticker boards and the moisture content reading I have are around 17-19% -much variation!-).

What would you recommend to true those boards to reduce (eliminate?) gaps between the boards, keep the edges 90 degree from the flat surface and reduce and finally attach the boards together. The surface of the table can be a single unit as it will be “floating” over the leg support, so wood movement of the whole surface should not be much of a concern.

True the face then the edges? or the edge then the face? Even if I had a jointer big enough for such boards they would be too heavy for me to carry over a jointer. Using a router and a metal guide sounds good, but a 11-12’ metal bar? where do I get that?

Surfacing? also too heavy (and wide) for my dewalt planer.. A small hand held planer ? I always make marks that are hard to sand away…

A long plane? I haven’t used one in 40 years and I was not good with those…

A router on a carriage, sounds good but I would have to build the carriage, or I could do in 2 parts of about 2.5’ each and use the tracks of the sawmill to support the carriage…

Any obvious easy and cheap solution I am missing? Help from experienced folks would be much appreciated!

4 replies so far

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4938 posts in 2324 days

#1 posted 10-05-2015 09:49 PM

For larger slabs, I take them to a commercial shop with a 50” combination planer and belt sander. For a modest fee they will surface a few items. I think they charged me $50 for the first 30 minutes, which was enough time to surface a couple slabs and take care of a few odds and ends that my tools couldn’t do.

Well worth the price of admission in my opinion.

As far as edge jointing, if they are too heavy to run over a jointer then use a bearing guided router bit and edge guide.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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16 posts in 3119 days

#2 posted 10-06-2015 04:33 PM

Makes sense.. What should I google to find one?

View HornedWoodwork's profile


222 posts in 725 days

#3 posted 10-06-2015 04:50 PM

Once you combine the slabs, making the table top, you will almost certainly have a pretty awful joint, and the table will almost certainly not be flat or have parallel faces, I recommend that you follow pintodeluxe’s advice to get the boards trued up to use, then, after joining them, build the router jig you suggest. It’s not that hard to get a pair of 16’ carriers which are parallel, straight, and level. Try getting some angle iron and see if that’ll do the trick. A good test for how straight they are is to use a laser line. Supporting 2 angle irons and a flat surface to hold your work piece should not be too difficult either. If you are going to all the trouble to make this large and impressive table, go full on and make it perfectly!

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4938 posts in 2324 days

#4 posted 10-06-2015 05:02 PM

Look for commercial woodworking or cabinet shops. Most of the hardwood lumber suppliers in my area also offer milling services.

Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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