Dining Room Table Design

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Forum topic by ynathans posted 12-14-2014 06:14 PM 876 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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55 posts in 1957 days

12-14-2014 06:14 PM


I am in the early stages of a project to help my brother in law with an inexpensive but sturdy dining room table. He and his wife just bought a house and there’s no money left :)

They want something in the area of 8-10 feet long and four feet wide. I was thinking of gluing up two sheets of 3/4” ply, then attaching 4×4’s as legs, then I could trim out the edges with some oak. For the stretchers, should I use 2×4’s , or am I better off with 4×4’s there too (too heavy?) Do I use one set of stretchers just under the tabletop or do I need a second set lower down on the legs too?

Does that plan seem sound? In terms of attaching the 4×4’s to the table top, I was thinking I could use pocket screws, maybe put 2 pocket screws on each face of the 4×4 to make it real solid (since it is very think that should be doable?)

Anyway, would appreciate any input on whether the above makes sense. I was going to make 2 sections of 4 foot table since it will be easier to maneuver and manage, and then just butt the two up together to make one big table.



3 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 12-14-2014 09:07 PM

4 ft by 8 or 10 ft top? Way too big unless his dining room is the size of a two car garage.
A much more reasonable size would be 34 to 40 inches wide and 60 to 84 inches long.
How many seating positions needed? You need about 22” minimum space per seat.
Check furniture stores or websites for what are standards.

Also, making two 4ft square tables will put a lot of legs in the way and hamper seating.

About your construction methods. Pocket screws will never hold legs on a table, alone.

The plywood top is going to look like a plywood top whether you trim the edges or not. The grain of standard construction grade plywood just will not look good finished with anything other than paint. Even painted it will not be smooth and pretty.

If you are serious about this, you will need at least cabinet grade hardwood veneered plywood for the top sheet anyway. But, be aware that hardwood veneered plywood is a paper thin sheet of pretty veneer over plain wood plys. It will not take much abuse and will be easily dented.

Then you will need an apron around the top, morticed into the legs. This apron (or top stretcher) is very important for strength and cannot be just butted into the legs. If you are not comfortable with mortice and tennon joinery, then make the apron to legs connection a half lap joint using 1×6 apron set into a 1/2” deep rabbet cut into the 4×4 leg. Then, on the inside of the apron add another layer of 1×6 butted into the legs. The combination of these two boards then secure the leg pretty well to prevent racking. The apron will probably need to be less than actually 6” tall. A 1×6 is only 3/4×5 1/2 to start with, but I think you would not want the apron more than 4 1/2 inches so you will need to rip the apron to width before attaching to the legs.

Anyway, once you have the legs framed with the apron then the top can be attached to the apron. This can be done with pocket screws if you wish since the top is plywood and you don’t have to be too concerned about wood movement.

For a large table, built with minimal tools and I’m assuming beginner furniture making skills, you might do well to look into some designs by Anna White.
Here is a link

View runswithscissors's profile


2928 posts in 2265 days

#2 posted 12-14-2014 10:13 PM

If you want to avoid mortising the apron into the legs, look at Rockler’s corner brackets fort table aprons. They have both surface mount and kerf mount. The kerf mount are a little stronger, but the surface mounts work okay too.

When you get all 4 legs attached to the aprons, you just lay the top on the resulting frame. Pocket screws would be okay for that, but a way to allow movement would be needed if you should decide to use solid wood rather than plywood.

Crank 49 is right about plywood. Softwood plywoods tend to look crude, and the face veneers on “hardwood” plywoods are paper thin. If you’re looking to save some expense, you can sometimes find useable wood in old pallets. It’s a job to get them apart, but some people like the rustic look.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


5153 posts in 2591 days

#3 posted 12-14-2014 11:02 PM

8/10 is huge, is it going to double as a ping pong table?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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