Best material for a dining table top

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Forum topic by Tom O'Brien posted 02-19-2009 04:19 AM 6952 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom O'Brien

108 posts in 3967 days

02-19-2009 04:19 AM

My daughter has asked me to build her a table for her breakfast area.
We like the plan for the cherry-topped trestle table in the current Woodsmith (it’s the cover feature).
The concern we have is that the tabletop is 3/4 Cherry plywood surrounded by cherry solids, with cherry breadboard ends. The plywood worries me, and my local hardwood supplier suggests (strongly cautions) that the thin face veneer on the plywood will be too easy to damage over time.

The table top is 36 by 72 (96 extended) inches.

I have access to a planer and drum sander at the local high school, but not 36 inches wide, otherwise I would build it from rough cherry. That’s what I plan to use for the supporting trestle and legs.

Is there some combination of material I can use for the top that would be more durable, but would look as nice as cherry plywood?

Alternatively, is there an approach I can take that will allow me to make the table top dead flat, with a narrower thickness planer and drum sander? I’m willing to use rough stock, glued-up and planed to thickness.

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

4 replies so far

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 02-19-2009 09:06 AM

You could use a hand plane to get something dead flat. I have a jointer but I end up using my #7 hand plane most of the time. They are relatively cheap on eBay.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4110 days

#2 posted 02-19-2009 01:24 PM

How timely. I have just resawn and planed some solid cherry for a new kitchen table top.
I, too, plan on breadboard ends.
I’m making it 5/8” thick to save on some weight.

Fortunately I have access to a 36” sander. But you might try a local cabinet shop. Sometimes if pays to pay a little money to get the job done right. And you might find another source of inexpensive lumber. Or a kindred soul.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Tom O'Brien's profile

Tom O'Brien

108 posts in 3967 days

#3 posted 12-25-2009 02:29 AM

The dining table project is still under construction. Since my last post, Amy and I have fitted all of the base framework pieces together, and we’re working (occasionally) on the tabletop. I went to a local supplier and picked out a really nice piece of 3/4 inch Red Oak plywood. I had it delivered to a local cabinet shop and paid the owner a reasonable fee to cut the tabletop parts from it. The underparts of the tabletop are made from Red Oak ply, and all of the visible edge material is the same solid Red Oak we used for the base.

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3863 days

#4 posted 12-29-2009 09:46 AM

Sounds like your daughter will end up with a beautiful table.

It would have been a great reason to have bought some nice L/N planes to work that cherry. Planes are a bunch cheaper than what I paid for my Jet 22-44 oscilating drum sander.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

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