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9-Foot Sofa Table--Design Help

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Forum topic by homedebit posted 07-19-2010 02:51 PM 4705 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


07-19-2010 02:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table design plans

Hello! I am completely new to all this and want to build a very simple 9-foot sofa table (I got a quote to have one built and just can’t afford it right now). My husband and I are fairly handy and have built other little things (kids toy tables, etc). We’re looking for a behind-the-sectional-sofa table that will hold a couple of lamps and a cup of coffee or two.

—Table is to be 110” long x 29” high x 12” deep.

—I would like top to be 5/4 white oak slab.

—Would be okay with a lower shelf to give stability (we’re also willing to bolt it to the floor to avoid tipovers!)

—Legs would be a white oak, probably Hepplewhite style. I’d be glad to buy the legs pre-made.

My question is, with a length that long, I’m thinking I need to have additional legs. Would 6 legs do it or do I need 8? Is there a place that can draw up some simple plans for us to follow?

Any help would be appreciated!!


13 replies so far

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richgreer

4525 posts in 1819 days


#1 posted 07-19-2010 03:18 PM

Six legs will be sufficient. I would recommend putting an apron around the top. That will add a lot of stability and eliminate any risk of sagging.

A lower shelf will not add much stability and I would not add it for that reason. However, you may want to have one anyway for design reasons.

A key issue will be attaching the top such that you are allowing for some wood movement.

What type of joinery are you planning on using? You have several options with a table.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


#2 posted 07-19-2010 03:28 PM

I was planning of putting an apron around the top, so you’re right, that should help with the stability/sagging issue.

I actually do not think a lower shelf will add much for the design since the table is fairly low in the first place. As long as I don’t need it for stability, I will leave it off. Plus, I think it will add to the complexity of building, which I’m trying to avoid.

Hmmm…as far as attaching the top to allow for wood movement, I am open to any suggestions. As I mentioned, we are novices as far as this stuff goes.

I appreciate your input!

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richgreer

4525 posts in 1819 days


#3 posted 07-19-2010 05:34 PM

Let me add that there are several ways to deal with wood movement, but I think DaveR’s suggestion is probably the best way to do it.

If you want a simpler approach, there are metal L-brackets that you could attach to the apron with screws. The top of the L would have a slot so that wood could move.

If you want to keep this project simple, you could attach the apron to the legs with pocket holes on the inside. A mortise and tenon joint would be more traditional and probably stronger, but pocket holes in hard wood are pretty solid.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


#4 posted 07-19-2010 09:14 PM

This is a huge help, thank you so much! The picture that you did, DaveR, is exactly what I have in mind! I am going to talk over the buttons & L-brackets with my husband to come up with a plan. Thank you so much for the encouragement and the info I need to get a kick-start. I hope we can draw up some plans given this info and then get started soon.

I will keep you informed as we progress and feel free to throw out any helpful hints you may think of.

Thanks again!

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richgreer

4525 posts in 1819 days


#5 posted 07-20-2010 12:44 AM

I’ll look forward to an update on this project.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


#6 posted 07-20-2010 02:56 PM

After looking at the incredibly helpful DaveR drawing and the area in which it will be placed, we’ve decided to add an additional set of legs so that it is visually split into three sections (instead of two). We’re thinking that we’ll make the middle section slightly wider and the left and right sides equal. (The sizing difference will only be on the leg spacing, not the depth of the table.)

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mnguy

162 posts in 2142 days


#7 posted 07-20-2010 03:13 PM

homedebit

I like your idea of having three sections with the middle section being somewhat wider. It would be interesting if you did a little paper exercise to play with the relative widths of the sections and shared that with us. Proportion is so key to good design :)

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CaptainSkully

1193 posts in 2303 days


#8 posted 07-24-2010 04:09 AM

Don’t forget about the Golden Mean. This is a perfect application. You can make the middle section 1.618 times the width of the side sections. For example, if the table is 110” wide overall, the side sections could be 30.4” wide, with a center section of 49.2”.

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

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Rick Dennington

3592 posts in 1939 days


#9 posted 07-24-2010 04:40 AM

Greetings ,

You have some very good information here on the building of your sofa table….... I’ve built a couple of these before, and I used figure 8’s to attach the tops with.. They are simple, easy to install, they work great… You just need a 3/4” Forstner bit and drill…..

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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CaptainSkully

1193 posts in 2303 days


#10 posted 07-24-2010 04:11 PM

Here’s what using the Golden Mean will get you. I used 2” legs with a slight taper, 1” thick top, and a 4” apron.

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

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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


#11 posted 07-25-2010 03:56 AM

You guys are the best! I hadn’t even gotten to sketching up the table, but your dimensions look great, Captain Skully, thanks so much!

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homedebit

7 posts in 1613 days


#12 posted 08-09-2010 05:44 AM

After an unexpected hiatus, I’m back. Tonight I researched purchasing white oak table legs and have come to realize they are not something that can be easily purchased. I am looking for 2” x 2” x 27 1/2” (figure I could cut down a 29” and be okay). However, it seems that white oak legs, pre-made, are not easy to come by. I’ve chosen white oak because I have a white oak trestle dining table and wanted to keep the wood similar. The table is quartersawn, but I’m not worried if the legs are, I just want the coloring to be similar (especially when I read in the forum about how to make quartersawn oak legs!) I would consider using another wood just for the legs, but I’m wondering if that may look odd.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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CaptainSkully

1193 posts in 2303 days


#13 posted 08-11-2010 04:20 AM

Four-sided quartersawn oak legs can only be made if the legs have parallel sides. If they’re tapered, the taper will cut across the grain and expose the board underneath (if that makes any sense). Depending on how true your cuts & jointing are, the seam between the two boards may be square or may slant across the surface of your tapered leg. Actually, now that I think about it, you could pre-taper the leg and then apply a “veneer” to get the inside tapered leg one solid piece and only have to deal with the seam at the top of the taper, usually where the apron intersects. With all that being said, the tapers are usually on the inside two corners, so the most visible outside two corners will have solid, quartersawn sides. You could also laminate the 2” legs from 3/4” stock and judiciously glue them together so that the thickest part on the inside shows between the legs, and the slant mentioned above only shows toward the sofa. On the far right example, the seam may be mostly buried underneath the apron. Interesting… This would mean you’d have to think about veneering the front, flat face to hide the tapered veneer, but when you ease the edges, it should all disappear.

The above are foreshortened examples of what I’m trying to describe above. If the taper cuts across a board lamination, then the seam will show. I used 2” legs with laminations of 3/4” glue ups to give you the most taper on each face.

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

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