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Standard Dining Table - a few questions

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Forum topic by unclearthur posted 05-13-2018 07:41 AM 579 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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unclearthur

184 posts in 1908 days


05-13-2018 07:41 AM

I’m making a dining table with I think a typical leg and apron frame:

The top will be 7’ long (including breadboards), 40” wide and 1 1/2” thick. The legs are 3 1/2” square above the taper; the aprons are 3 1/2” wide by 1 1/2” thick. Joinery is M&T. Material is cedar (table will be outside, under cover). Top will only be screwed into the center of the short aprons to allow wood movement etc.

I know many of you have made countless tables like this, so I thought I’d run a few of questions by you:

i) Any additional support pieces required or should that be strong enough?

ii) The boards I have for the long aprons are bowed a little – if sitting on their face on a flat surface they would show a gap in the middle of slightly less than 1/8”. My jointer isn’t long enough to flatten them; I know I could try with a planer and sled or a hand plane …... but will it even matter for this application? Or just be a waste of time?

iii) Any suggestions / tricks for how to glue up the frame while keeping everything square?

iv) Finally, I have quite a few F clamps, but nothing longer than 5’ – too short for gluing the long aprons to the legs. Do I need to buy longer clamps, or is there a clever solution?

Thanks for any replies.


13 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

3548 posts in 710 days


#1 posted 05-13-2018 02:45 PM

I’ll jump in on #3 and #4. For #4, if I were making do with a lack of clamps, I’d use my five-foot F clamps to first glue up the end pieces. After that, you can get by with a ratcheting tie down wrapped around the entire table. You can get them for just a few bucks at HF or HD.

As far as keeping things square, when you clamp the final frame, measure across the diagonals to check for square. If you’re off, you should be able to adjust it by hand and friction will keep it from sliding back out of square.

Regarding squareness of the legs to the aprons, make square cuts and mill your leg faces properly and it’ll be square when you pull it together. Check it with a square to be sure, but it should be good from the start. If it’s off a little, pull it square and it’ll stay that way when the glue dries.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Aj2

1662 posts in 1918 days


#2 posted 05-13-2018 02:57 PM

I would add more bracing across the middle. Two across the width. Use these to attach figure 8 fasteners or what ever your using.
Then some corner bracing, if you use wood make them out of white oak.
Metal one are good but your corners need to be close to square.

-- Aj

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unclearthur

184 posts in 1908 days


#3 posted 05-13-2018 03:21 PM



I would add more bracing across the middle. Two across the width. Use these to attach figure 8 fasteners or what ever your using.
Then some corner bracing, if you use wood make them out of white oak.

- Aj2

Thanks, .....

If you add braces across the middle, what is the best way to join the braces to the long aprons? I don’t want to weak the apron by mortising into it…...

And …. what kind of bolt is that in your picture ? Just screwed into the leg?

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3768 days


#4 posted 05-13-2018 04:36 PM

I would pocket screw them but if you want
to do something more craftsman like a hand
cut dovetail or two, just 3/8” deep or so
will do to keep the cross brace in place.
Nobody but you will ever see it so it’s a good
place to get a little practice in.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1662 posts in 1918 days


#5 posted 05-13-2018 10:53 PM

I agree with Loren pocket screws for the cross supports.
The corner screw is a hanger lag screw. I think I think

-- Aj

View Sludgeguy's profile

Sludgeguy

34 posts in 243 days


#6 posted 05-14-2018 01:17 AM

+1 on the pocket screws for the cross bracing.
I wouldn’t worry about the 1/8” bow in the aprons but you can fix it but using an appropriate length for the cross brace. Itq will flex right into position.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12340 posts in 2500 days


#7 posted 05-14-2018 03:05 AM

I wouldn’t worry about 1/8” bow over 7’ much either but you can attach the long sides with figure 8’s and get most of it out. I wouldn’t rely on a couple pocket screws to hold the top on a base that heavy. I also wouldn’t get overly concerned with keep the frame perfectly square. Glue up the short ends, then glue up the long aprons, measure your diagonal and if you’re close, you’re good.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

158 posts in 241 days


#8 posted 05-14-2018 03:14 AM

For the bow, just put the bowed side up, gravity will do the work of bringing that bow back down over time.

For clamping the aprons to the legs, have you considered doweled mortise and tenons? Done nice and tight, you essentially eliminate the need for clamping.

I’m not a big fan of using pocket screws, but for the cross bracing they are the easiest method to attach them.

Lastly, even though you didn’t ask… Don’t screw your top directly to the frame. You have to account for movement of the wood, and if you’ve screwed it all together you could end up with cracks. Instead, cut an 1/8” slot along the inside of your apron near the top and use brackets screwed to the bottom of the top to secure the top by hooking into the slot. (that was a horrible explanation, but I know someone on here can explain it better).

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

184 posts in 1908 days


#9 posted 05-14-2018 04:09 AM

Thanks everyone. I’ll definitely add the brace at each corner; that makes perfect sense.

Is the purpose of the cross-bracing between the long stretchers to support the top better or to support the frame against twisting? Reason I ask is that I am playing with the idea of creating sort of a quasi river table (we have a creek thru our back yard so I thought a creek through our patio table would be cool).

To do this I was going to add a central channel to the frame:

The black piece is 3/4 ply supported by the internal stretchers. It would be covered by a thin layer (1-2”) of river rock. A piece of glass will sit on top of rabbets cut in the top between the breadboards:

Its all done with normal cedar boards; I don’t have any cool live edge type stuff.

Given comments above, I guess I should also add some short x-pieces between the central channel and the long stretchers, just pocket screwed into place.

Any thoughts appreciated …. not sure if I’m going to proceed with this; the quote I received on the glass was crazy expensive! Looking for cheaper.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1662 posts in 1918 days


#10 posted 05-14-2018 04:50 AM

Now your headed into uncharted waters.
Your on your own :^]
Good luck looks like fun.

-- Aj

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3768 days


#11 posted 05-14-2018 05:13 AM

I’d consider the cross brace mostly to keep
the aprons equidistant. You can skip it but
it might haunt you later in your sleep thinking
about those bowed aprons. ;)

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

184 posts in 1908 days


#12 posted 05-14-2018 05:16 AM

Updated …... it does look more sturdy now.

The saving grace is if it doesn’t work out I can dump the rocks, put a normal top on and noone will be the wiser.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

304 posts in 1223 days


#13 posted 05-14-2018 02:26 PM

For your question iv, you could also make some extensions for your 5’ clamps like this

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