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Has any one built a conference table?

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Forum topic by eastside posted 1648 days ago 3020 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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eastside

94 posts in 1888 days


1648 days ago

I’ll be building a conference table soon and I have a question about the top. This is a picture of the type of table needed.

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With the solid wood border wrapping around the whole table it must be a veneer top. But what is the sub straight? I was thinking 3/4 shop birch with 1/2 MDF glued on top of that to give me 1-1/4 thickness and a flat surface to apply the veneer on to. Has any body every built one or even seen one up close and know what is the standard procedure for this? Also it will be 10 or 12 feet long. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-- Mike, Westport MA.


24 replies so far

View Don's profile

Don

506 posts in 1700 days


#1 posted 1648 days ago

I’ve done some large veneered tops like this. I doubt there is any standard procedure for it but we just used 3/4 MDF with about 3 or 4 inch wide pieces of 3/4 MDF glued to the bottom around the edges and a few ribs across the middle spaced every couple of feet or so to thicken it up. If you want to keep the thickness at 1-1/4 you can run the MDF strips through a planer before gluing them. Using plywood like you describe will probobly work okay if you can find a sheet that’s flat enough but I would be surprised if you can.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

420 posts in 1710 days


#2 posted 1648 days ago

As Don said, there really isn’t a true standard(as far as Ive seen) as to how a top like this is constructed. A commercial cabinet shop that Ive worked pretty closely with in the past, would ‘typically’ build as Don has suggested, using 3/4” or in some cases 1” MDF (depending on size, design and support) No joints in the veneered surface, ie. if it’s a 12 foot top, they use 12 foot sheet goods.
I wouldn’t suggest laminating plywood and MDF in the manner your suggesting, for one thing, you would need access to a plywood press to laminate properly, for another, I can almost promise you it will warp badly shortly after being pressed.

-- "The trouble with people idiot-proofing things, is the resulting evolution of the idiot."

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KMJohnson

165 posts in 1648 days


#3 posted 1648 days ago

Big project.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View JdCustomfurniture's profile

JdCustomfurniture

13 posts in 1649 days


#4 posted 1648 days ago

I would agree with all of the above. One thing I would add is veneer the 3/4’’ MDF before you apply the padding on the bottom. As far as laminating MDF and ply together I would not do it. Plywood is very uneven and could cause you problems when veneering the top. I’am assuming you are veneering this project and not just using sheet goods. So to some it up veneer 3/4 mdf ( both sides ) add padding on bottom to bring it to final thickness and wrap edges with solid. Hope this helps and good luck.

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

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eastside

94 posts in 1888 days


#5 posted 1648 days ago

OK so the ply under the MDF is out, this is just the advice I’m looking for. I don’t use mdf very much and was assuming that it would not be strong enough on it’s own so the ply was for strength only. I was over thinking and over building again. The mdf will be properly balanced on both sides which means applying the bottom veneer before the edge build up. JD, is that why you suggest the veneering before the padding or do you have something else in mind? Another question—Applying the solid wood edging around the perimeter. As I stated I do not have much experience with MDF and have a gut feeling that if someone applies enough pressure on the solid edging the joint will fail. That was another reason for the ply under the mdf. What do you think? Maybe the edge build could be plywood? I’m waiting for a call back from my supplier on the lengths of mdf. He wasn’t even sure if it comes in the 10 or 12 foot range. Any thoughts on that? Thanks.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2520 days


#6 posted 1648 days ago

I’ve made several. MDF would be my choice too, but you could also use a high density, high pressure particle board. Sheets of either are available in 4’ and 5’ widths and lengths in 8, 9, 10, and 12’. and most are available in thickness’s from 3/8”.....up to 1”, then increasing by quarter inch increments right up to 3” thick. Keep in mind that not all MDF are created equally.

A balancing veneer is needed underneath, as well, the underside should be finished.

The edging/perimter could be solid or it could also be veneered (less movement in veneer)

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2633 days


#7 posted 1647 days ago

I’d do two layers of 3/4 mdf. Allowing the solid wood band to be mostly supported by the bottom pc mdf. Which basically means a really big rabbet in the bottom of the solid wood banding. And yes, you can get 12 foot length mdf.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View JdCustomfurniture's profile

JdCustomfurniture

13 posts in 1649 days


#8 posted 1647 days ago

I have used plwood,solid and MDF for padding before with no problems. As far as the solid edges go, you can spline or bisquit and use plenty of glue and you will not have to worry about it breaking off. I have put solid edges on MDF tops hundreds of time ( no kidding ) and no problems at all. If you really want to beef it up you could put the edge on first then run the padding into the solid edge about a 1’’ or so. Just rabbet the underside of the edge for ever how much you want the padding to go into it. You would see this method with some bar top edges. Best of luck.

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

348 posts in 2299 days


#9 posted 1647 days ago

Check out Sawdustonmyshoulder’s conference table. It may be helpful.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View JdCustomfurniture's profile

JdCustomfurniture

13 posts in 1649 days


#10 posted 1647 days ago

The only problem I see with two full layers of MDF is your adding unneeded weight and material to the project. Balancing both sides with veneer before padding is right otherwise your top will most likely cup. Do you have a veneer press to handle 10 or 12 ft ?

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

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miles125

2179 posts in 2633 days


#11 posted 1647 days ago

The wood band looks about 6 inches wide. Edge connecting that to mdf without underneath support would be a major no no. Just my opinion.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View JdCustomfurniture's profile

JdCustomfurniture

13 posts in 1649 days


#12 posted 1647 days ago

To me the table in the picture looks like it has a veneer ran around the outer edge of the lighter veneer which would still be on the mdf and outer solid edge seems to be about 2’’ to 3’’. Still you could run padding into the solid edge to help support it.

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

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john

2293 posts in 3009 days


#13 posted 1647 days ago

View Abbott's profile

Abbott

2570 posts in 1931 days


#14 posted 1647 days ago

That is an impressive piece of furniture, I bet it makes a fine statement when walking into that room.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile

Sawdustonmyshoulder

254 posts in 2255 days


#15 posted 1647 days ago

My suggestion would be to make the table field out of plywood that has a bookmatched or “glued up look” veneer. I Googled “alder plywood” and came up with several sites offering anything from alder to walnut skinned plywood. Then you could back up that with a good quality birch plywood and put hardwood banding around.

The only challenge I see is that the grain of the table’s field runs across the table and you would need to make good tight joints where the sheets of plywood join.

Then inlay the field with matching hardwood much like I did in the church conference table. See my blog on how I did it.

-- Makin' Sawdust!!!

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