LumberJocks

First Family Dining Table

  • Advertise with us
Project by Travis posted 08-14-2020 12:11 AM 665 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Shortly after marrying my wife we moved across the country for graduate school. We could only take with us what we could fit in our 2 cars, so we left our garage sale oak table behind. Being poor and only two of us, we purchased a $100 table from Walmart that seated 4 people and was made out of veneered MDF. Many years and two kids later, the table just wasn’t working for us. It’s too small, scratched and beat up, and my kids constantly complain about how awful it is (nevermind they are the ones who abused it). Not wanting to 1) buy another cheap table, and 2) spend thousands on a solid wood table, I decided to undertake the project myself.

I looked online for inspiration and consulted table design guides. Armed with this information, I made a model of the desired table in SketchUp. I previously did the built-in benches for our dinette so I settled on a trestle table design to ease getting in and out of the dining space. The table is 40×78. The top is a tad thinner than I’d hoped at 9/8, but that’s just what it took to get the planks flat. One of the design guides I looked at suggested a trestle table >36” needed two stretchers, so that’s what I did. I’m not sure that was necessary, but I don’t have any experience building tables and I didn’t want to regret taking shortcuts. My wife (and kids) put their feet up on everything so I placed the stretchers at a comfortable height for my wife to rest her legs on. I used tusked (or keyed) mortise and tenon joinery for the stretchers, cut at a 5 degree angle. I used drawbored mortise and tenons to attach the legs to the feet and cleats. These were my first ever M&T joints and boy were they fun to chop out. I placed threaded inserts on the underside of the top and attached the top to the cleats with lag bolts. The center bolts are fixed tight but the lateral bolt holes are slotted to allow for seasonal wood movement. The table is all ash, except for the tusks which are white oak. The ash is stained with two coats of Old Master’s Red Mahogany wiping stain and the top has two coats of Old Master’s grain filler. The ash is finished with 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal (semi-gloss). The tusks are just sanded and finished with wax.

We decided to do a family engraving on the underside of the table (hoping this will be strong enough to be a family heirloom of sorts). We asked my daughter to draw a picture of the family and everyone wrote their name next to their picture. We scanned that in to the computer, printed it out, and did a carbon copy on the underside of the table top. My wife then used a cheap woodburner to burn the engraving into the table. We did this prior to staining because we knew it would be harder to do the carbon copy after stain. I didn’t expect the stain to dissolve some of the burn marks, but it did, so we went over it again after staining to reinforce the burning.

What is really cool is that I began this project many months ago—I’m a weekend warrior with just a jobsite saw, table top jointer and planer, router, and a few chisels. I had no idea when the table would be finished but it worked out that I put the final coat of finish on the table the day after our 13th anniversary. So the timing was very poetic.

I can’t tell you how sturdy it is because we are still waiting for the ARS to fully cure. So we haven’t used it yet. But every prayer that my children offer before eating, they say “please let daddy build the table,” so I know everyone will appreciate it once we get to sit around it.

Being my first table, as well as really large panel, I made many mistakes and learned at least as many lessons. The Lumberjocks community helped me out of many emergencies. I can’t say that I am eager to build another table in the near future, but my confidence has really grown and I am eager to take the lessons learned here and apply them to my next project.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.





15 comments so far

View SplashMaster's profile

SplashMaster

259 posts in 3708 days


#1 posted 08-14-2020 01:18 AM

Awesome table Travis! Dinner with the family always feels more special at the table when you built it your self for sure.

View swirt's profile

swirt

5458 posts in 3819 days


#2 posted 08-14-2020 02:27 AM

That is a great looking table. Nice design and a great finish. Nice work answering the kids’ prayers

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Travis's profile

Travis

471 posts in 614 days


#3 posted 08-14-2020 02:35 AM



Awesome table Travis! Dinner with the family always feels more special at the table when you built it your self for sure.

- SplashMaster

Thank you Splash :)


That is a great looking table. Nice design and a great finish. Nice work answering the kids prayers

- swirt


Thank you swirt! It’s nice to be an answer to prayer every now and then :)

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

207 posts in 3352 days


#4 posted 08-14-2020 01:13 PM

That looks fantastic, and the family “portrait” on the underside is a nice touch.

-- Ron Stewart

View pottz's profile

pottz

11208 posts in 1832 days


#5 posted 08-14-2020 01:42 PM

well i think you can be very proud of that table it came out beautiful.i remember all the times you posted questions not knowing what it was all leading up to.obviously you did learn well from your mistakes which is all part of the process of becoming a good wood worker.the finish if gorgeous and i love the family signature on the bottom something your kids will show theirs someday as they gather around that same table.great job travis keep it coming.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Travis's profile

Travis

471 posts in 614 days


#6 posted 08-14-2020 02:17 PM



That looks fantastic, and the family “portrait” on the underside is a nice touch.

- Ron Stewart


Thank you Ron!

well i think you can be very proud of that table it came out beautiful.i remember all the times you posted questions not knowing what it was all leading up to.obviously you did learn well from your mistakes which is all part of the process of becoming a good wood worker.the finish if gorgeous and i love the family signature on the bottom something your kids will show theirs someday as they gather around that same table.great job travis keep it coming.

- pottz


Thank you pottz, you were very helpful along the way!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

7839 posts in 3113 days


#7 posted 08-14-2020 02:44 PM

Great job there. Looks like it’s going to serve your family well for years to come.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3467 posts in 4285 days


#8 posted 08-14-2020 03:29 PM

That is just plain cool. I’ve made trestles like this. It will be very solid. Nice job.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Jeff Vicenzi's profile

Jeff Vicenzi

29 posts in 237 days


#9 posted 08-14-2020 04:11 PM

Nicely done!

View Travis's profile

Travis

471 posts in 614 days


#10 posted 08-14-2020 04:34 PM



Great job there. Looks like it s going to serve your family well for years to come.

- BurlyBob


That is just plain cool. I ve made trestles like this. It will be very solid. Nice job.

- Craftsman on the lake


Nicely done!

- Jeff Vicenzi

Thank you all!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View oldguy2's profile

oldguy2

293 posts in 2275 days


#11 posted 08-14-2020 05:30 PM

Well done. A Family Heirloom for sure. Enjoy all the time. Love that family emblem. It will get talked about more than you think. Now buy yourself a Logo Shirt for a reward….try CafePress..

View Steve's profile

Steve

2188 posts in 1430 days


#12 posted 08-17-2020 02:33 PM

Nice job on the table. A trestle table is on my wish list of projects. But I will probably have to wait until the kids are older and stop playing the drums with their silverware.

View Travis's profile

Travis

471 posts in 614 days


#13 posted 08-18-2020 12:27 AM



Well done. A Family Heirloom for sure. Enjoy all the time. Love that family emblem. It will get talked about more than you think. Now buy yourself a Logo Shirt for a reward….try CafePress..

- oldguy2


Thank you! I’ve never thought about a Logo Shirt. Sounds fun :)

Nice job on the table. A trestle table is on my wish list of projects. But I will probably have to wait until the kids are older and stop playing the drums with their silverware.

- Steve


Lol, I’m sure my kids will beat the heck out of this table. My 4 year old loves cars and trucks and everything is a race track… But, we needed a table and I am trying to convince myself that all those scars will just be a record of family love. And, if it gets that bad, I can replace the top. The trestles were the time consuming part…..

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View RespiratoryFailure's profile

RespiratoryFailure

7 posts in 64 days


#14 posted 08-18-2020 04:29 AM

That is incredible for a first table project. It’s hard for me to see the work damaged, but that just means the project is well loved.

View Travis's profile

Travis

471 posts in 614 days


#15 posted 08-18-2020 02:42 PM



That is incredible for a first table project. It s hard for me to see the work damaged, but that just means the project is well loved.

- RespiratoryFailure


Thank you RespiratoryFailure! That is very nice to hear. I agree, it will hurt when the table gets mauled by my children. But, it will be many years before I can build anything that I don’t expect to get “loved” on by my kids ;)

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com