Farmhouse Table

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Forum topic by Autorotate posted 04-29-2016 05:37 PM 856 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Autorotate's profile


40 posts in 1097 days

04-29-2016 05:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: farmhouse country table chestnut reclaimed

Hello all,

I am starting my first Farmhouse table and had a question in regards to the aesthetics.

I picked up some reclaimed chestnut trusses that vary in width. They range from 5” – 7” wide and 6/4 thickness. These are 8’ planks.

When I first envisioned this I wanted all the planks to be the same size (I.e. 8 planks at 6” for close to). Will this table look unusual if I use various size boards varying in width by an inch or two?

The breadboard ends will both be the same width, but the main table portion will not.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

14 replies so far

View Nic's profile


65 posts in 1324 days

#1 posted 04-29-2016 06:11 PM

Honestly I think it could be an interesting design choice if you were to use them in a symmetrical way. Maybe alternate wide/thin if they’re too close to make that work, but It’s a rustic looking table is it not? Do everything else well and no one will worry about how wide the boards are it’s made of, they’ll be too busy admiring it.

-- Third time's the charm, right?

View Autorotate's profile


40 posts in 1097 days

#2 posted 04-29-2016 07:22 PM

Nic, I never thought of the alternating thickness. I will have to take a look and see if that’ll work. But yes, it is a rustic look. Thanks!

View Woodknack's profile


12402 posts in 2557 days

#3 posted 04-29-2016 07:27 PM

Just my opinion but random widths would be distracting and take away from more important details. Symmetrical would be okay. What is the first thing you want people to notice, the width of the boards or your joinery and/or beauty of the wood?

-- Rick M,

View Autorotate's profile


40 posts in 1097 days

#4 posted 04-29-2016 07:45 PM

Rick, that is what I thought at first. However, I’d hate to cut 2 inches off of chestnut just to be scrapped. I may try the alternating look like Nic suggested just so I can salvage some. My smallest board is 5” and would reduce the table width drastically if I ripped them all the 5”. Stuck between a rock and hard place here.

View Woodknack's profile


12402 posts in 2557 days

#5 posted 04-29-2016 09:23 PM

When I made this walnut desk, I cut the legs, about 3” across from the center of nice wide boards. My wife got upset and accused me of wasting wood. I told her, the goal is not to conserve wood it’s to build beautiful furniture. “Wasting” would be to use this beautiful wood in a way that doesn’t achieve it’s full potential. Besides, you’ll always find a use for cut offs.

Click for details

-- Rick M,

View jdmaher's profile


437 posts in 2757 days

#6 posted 04-29-2016 10:05 PM

I think mixed widths could look really good, especially if you arrange the boards as pleasingly as possible. However, I WOULD make a symmetrical arrangement, and would try to use the smallest number of the less wide boards.

That said, I wouldn’t balk at trimming the width if doing so gives a better grain match.

I take it that you don’t have enough 7” boards to make up the width you want? Are you trying to make a 4’ x 8’ table? How many of what widths DO you have?

Hard to offer specific advice without seeing what you’re working with. Pictures! Always pictures!

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Autorotate's profile


40 posts in 1097 days

#7 posted 04-29-2016 10:27 PM

Rick, beautiful piece and thank you for the advice.

Originally I wanted to make a 42” x 96” table. However, I think I want to get up to 48” now. I can pick up a couple more trusses from the guy to get my 48” width. I will attach a picture of what I am currently working with.

My pieces so far:

- 5 3/8
- 5 3/4
- 5 7/8
- 5 7/16
- 5 7/8
- 6 1/4
- 7 7/16

  • Plus a piece for the breadboards which are the same width.

They are all a little over 6/4 in thickness. I am going to lose a little when I straight line rip them with the Plunge saw so I can get a perfect glue up (I do not have a jointer, using Festool Plunge).

I think I may try to take them all to 5 1/4 to give me 36 3/4 right now (5 1/4×7 pieces). I think I may just add (2) more boards at 5 1/4 to give me an overall width of 47 1/4. Give or take a little…....I just hate to waste that much Chestnut from the 7” piece, but I like how Rick put it. It really isn’t wasting.

View runswithscissors's profile


2874 posts in 2202 days

#8 posted 04-30-2016 04:35 AM

I think random widths, mixed, would look fine. This is an aesthetic question, right? Eye of beholder, etc.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View CaptainSkully's profile


1601 posts in 3736 days

#9 posted 05-05-2016 01:25 PM

Random widths will be fine. If you arrange the boards properly and the finish does well blending, you probably won’t even be able to see the different boards. Also, if you make all the boards the width of the smallest one, think of all the good wood you’ll be wasting. Don’t forget to alternate the growth rings.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Drew's profile


350 posts in 3277 days

#10 posted 05-05-2016 02:10 PM

Keep it random!


View OSU55's profile


1930 posts in 2167 days

#11 posted 05-05-2016 02:17 PM

If it’s a distressed, somewhat rustic look you’re after, it would look better with random widths. If your after a pristine, fine furniture look, all the same width.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5055 posts in 2528 days

#12 posted 05-05-2016 04:08 PM

Arranged symmetrically they will look fine put the widest in the center then the next widest on either side then the next widest and so on to the final width.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RVBoone's profile


10 posts in 930 days

#13 posted 05-05-2016 04:10 PM

Random wood would look great. But if you choose to keep it the same, I was always taught that there is not such thing as scrap or wasted wood just wood that has not been used yet. I keep all my scrap and have built many wonderful projects from it.

View Autorotate's profile


40 posts in 1097 days

#14 posted 05-05-2016 04:43 PM

Thank you all very much for the great responses and opinions. Unfortunately, we are one day too late. My first Festool came late Tuesday and I was track sawing then ripping by Wednesday….

I must say, LOVE my first Festool. I’m pretty sure I’m just cutting stuff that doesn’t even need to be cut right now.

I ended up taking them all to 5 1/4”. For some reason my OCD would not allow me to keep the random widths as hard as I tried to make the voices go away….haha. I picked up a few more boards and I am sure I can find something to do with the “extra” one day.

Thanks again!!

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