8' Hairpin Leg Dining Table - 1st timer, need help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by CornflakeKurth posted 01-12-2016 02:45 AM 2652 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CornflakeKurth's profile


3 posts in 1321 days

01-12-2016 02:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hairpin legs modern butcher block dining table

I need everyone’s help. I am new to LumberJocks, new to woodworking and new to home ownership. My wife has her heart set on a 8’ hairpin leg dining table. I would like to build it myself in order to save a lot of money, but also, I think it will be very special to have built our home’s furniture centerpiece. I’m pretty handy in general, but really have no furniture making experience, so your help is not only greatly appreciated, but essential if I’m going to pull this off. Thank you all ahead of time.

Here’s what I’m thinking. All thought, ideas and criticism are welcome.

Project: 8’ hairpin leg dining table

Game Plan:
1) Buy a 96”x42”x1.5” maple edge-grain butchers block.
2) 1/4 round/ease the edges top & bottom if necessary.
3) Finish with mineral oil if necessary.
4) Build an apron????
5) Attach 4 – 28” stainless steel 3 rod hairpin legs, 4” in from the edge of the table using structural screws.

I plan on using butcher block because my wife likes it, but also building a long lasting, dining table quality top seems outside my abilities. It involves planing, biscuits, clamps, etc., and I just don’t have confidence in pulling it off. The butcher block will likely come edged and finished, but I feel like I can tackle edging and finishing if I find a good deal on an unfinished butcher block…right?

- sagging? proper apron?
- suitability/quality of the butcher block
- my ability to add an edge
- my ability to build an apron

1) I would like to keep the thin, “floating table top” profile of midcentury modern tables. Given that I’m using 1.5” butchers block, do I still need an apron? If so how substantial and what kind of apron/support structure do I need?

2) I know hard maple is a strong and often used, but I like cherry and red oak as well, are those woods still suitable for a 8’ dining table without having to build a large farm table style apron?

3) It seems John Boos is all the rage among butcher blocks, are other makers just as good, or is John Boos really that superior?

4) I’ve thought about using steel/aluminium structural channels/angles to build an apron and putting a would trim around the edges to hide it. Is that genius, overkill, or just plain stupid?

5) Would going to Amish country to have them build the tabletop be a smart, economical alternative to butcher block?

6) Is there anything I’m not thinking of?

Thank you so much for any and all help!

- Phil

Not 8’ and not butcher block, but just wanted to give you an idea.

4 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3216 posts in 2705 days

#1 posted 01-12-2016 01:38 PM

Phil, here are a couple tools I use: First, I determined the weight of the top. 1.5”x42”x96”=3.5 cubic feet of wood. According to wood-database a cubic foot of hard maple weighs 44 pounds, so your top would be 154 pounds. Then, I used the Sagulator to determine how much the table might sag under various loads. Through trial and error I found that you could put about another 150 pounds on the table (total 304 pounds) and still have an acceptable sag of 0.02 inches per foot. Based on this, I don’t think you would need an apron. You can go through the same exercise with the other woods you mentioned. IMO, John Boos is overpriced, but then, I would make my own top from rough sawn stock. If you have a way to transport the top, I think you can have it made locally for a reasonable price. I would probably use a tung oil finish rather than mineral oil which doesn’t harden, but that is just me. Good luck with your project.

-- Art

View CornflakeKurth's profile


3 posts in 1321 days

#2 posted 01-12-2016 03:49 PM

When using the Sagulator, is the table top considered floating or fixed?

View AandCstyle's profile


3216 posts in 2705 days

#3 posted 01-12-2016 11:15 PM

I would consider it floating. When in doubt, go the more conservative route.

-- Art

View ChefHDAN's profile


1419 posts in 3297 days

#4 posted 01-12-2016 11:45 PM

Welcome to LJ!
You can get butcher block counter top material from many places, check Lumber Liquidators, they sell it in several species. Agree with Art, an apron is not needed, I have two large commercial maple butcher block tables which a re supported at 4 points under the surface without any substructure or apron. I have a lot of Boo’s tables in my units and they are VERY nice and VERY expensive but they were bought with the client’s money, if you buy them I promise you won’t be disappointed, but you will be poorer. For finish go with the mineral oil if you’re planning to have it be a food contact surface, if you’re just planning on it being a dining surface then I’d go with a more durable less maintenance finish like a wipe on poly. If you have kids I really recommend poly. I’d say you’re totally on track to build a table you’ll be very proud of, pre fab top screw on legs easy finish & voila its an heirloom.
Important to remember that you should put a tool need into each project… I think this is a perfect account to require a router, I’d suggest the Dewalt 611 kit with two bases and a round over bit to put a nice edge on that table!!!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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