First project - looking for advice - walnut farmhouse table

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by SoCalLineman619 posted 12-25-2016 03:39 AM 5547 views 1 time favorited 61 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SoCalLineman619's profile


17 posts in 1431 days

12-25-2016 03:39 AM

I’m looking to build my first project. My wife has been wanting a farmhouse style dining room table and benches. We looked all over and pottery barn had the only table that we liked but it was over $4,400. So I figured I could do it myself for cheaper. The table we want to mimic is the Toscana table. I ended up going to frostwood hardwood in San Diego, and went with a bunch of walnut. 169bf I think. Most 2×6 thru 2×10. It was a little over $1500.00 but we really liked the walnut wood and of corse it was pretty expensive. I don’t have a jointer and wanted to have a straight edge to reference my table saw fence off of so I went to the local dixiline and had the guy joint all lumber for me. I brought it home and butted up the joints he made me and was not impressed. To me they did not look straight. Touched on the ends and about an 8th inch gap in the middle. Spending that much money on the wood I want to do it right so I am considering purchasing the festool track saw so i can get some perfect joints. So I am curious if that would be a good route to take with the track saw or if anyone else has some better alternatives and / or advice. After researching
festool I am also contemplating buying the domino for all of my mortise and tenons. Again any advice on that portion would greatly be appreciated. I want to incorporate a lot of this guys build into my table also to make it an extending table. And it seems the domino helps out a lot. Let me know what you think

61 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


3495 posts in 2710 days

#1 posted 12-25-2016 04:13 AM

Well Mr Line man you really should get you machines figured out before buying your wood.
Maybe even take a couple classes on wood working there’s a lot more to any project then seen in a video on Utube.
Festool makes very good tools.


-- Aj

View Tabletop's profile


139 posts in 1660 days

#2 posted 12-25-2016 04:15 AM

A straight edge jig. Look it up on you tube. That’s how I do it, don’t own a jointer. Basic idea is you take a known straight edge and attach to the board. Run the straight edge down fence of table saw. I use a 8” x 8’ piece of 1/2” plywood. I then have three pull handle clamps that are screwed to it. Place board on plywood and clamp it down with part of board hanging off edge of plywood. Run plywood down fence while blade takes off the other side which is the crooked board. You now have one straight side.l to run against fence making other side straight.

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2902 days

#3 posted 12-25-2016 04:56 AM

Jointer, either electric or hand powered. Dominoe not required, various ways to do m&t. Do more research on the woodwork buiding process before spending more $ unless $ doesnt matter.

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1814 days

#4 posted 12-25-2016 05:06 AM

That is one pricey first project with a lot that can go wrong. there is a lot more skill required to make a good table than most people think. good luck and merry Christmas

View ChefHDAN's profile


1780 posts in 3762 days

#5 posted 12-25-2016 04:26 PM

That is one pricey first project with a lot that can go wrong. there is a lot more skill required to make a good table than most people think. good luck and merry Christmas
- DirtyMike


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

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 2176 days

#6 posted 12-25-2016 04:45 PM

Here’s the deal through brother. It is very unlikely that he jointed both edges. That wouldn’t make sense. He most likely jointed one edge, expecting you to use the table saw to rip the other side. Do you have a table saw?

If you dont have a table saw, you will need either that or the track saw to rip the other edge… opposite of what he jointed.

If he did a total 4 square for you, where he made all 4 edges strait and square… then you need to take it back to him and say, um nope. These aint square.

View SoCalLineman619's profile


17 posts in 1431 days

#7 posted 12-25-2016 06:52 PM

No I only had him joint one side. So when I took two boards and places them together on both of his joints they were not glue up ready…

View avsmusic1's profile


671 posts in 1598 days

#8 posted 12-25-2016 07:49 PM

No I only had him joint one side. So when I took two boards and places them together on both of his joints they were not glue up ready…

- SoCalLineman619

If it’s his jointed edges that don’t line up straight with one another then I’d take it back to him to fix them

As others have noted, this is a pretty aggressive 1st project. If you share your plans/intended approach I’m sure you’ll get a lot of really helpful info. For starters, what equipment do you have? I’m going to guess the festool equipment you noted is probably not the next couple of purchases you should consider (especially if the main goal of this build was to save $$) but it’s hard to say w/out knowing what you have already

View SoCalLineman619's profile


17 posts in 1431 days

#9 posted 12-26-2016 07:49 PM

You’re right, I should… but being disappointed the first time I kind of have the attitude now “if you want it done right do it yourself.” And I know the festool tools I mentioned have an enormous price tag but I’m kinda justifying possibly purchasing them for future projects and getting deeper into this as more of a hobby as well. (That, and coming into unexpected fantasy football cash from wining the super bowl!! Go Rodgers !) but anyways I have a table saw, chop saw, skill saw, biscuit jointer, orbital sanders, belt sanders, hand planers, kreg jig, bunch of clamps, various hand tools drills etc. just missing that domino and track saw I think(also no planer, jointer, drill press band saw and likely a bunch of others in forgetting to mention). I want to do this right the first time with the domino and make the thing STUPID strong…. someone push me over the edge and tell me it’s the best tool for the job and just go buy the thing! Then maybe advice on how many dominos recommended for the table top at 80” excluding breadboards haha. Appreciate all the comments, keep em coming

View avsmusic1's profile


671 posts in 1598 days

#10 posted 12-26-2016 08:01 PM

I would still be bringing these back to the guy who was supposed to have jointed them in the first place but, either way, I think a jointer would be a better purchase than a track saw (unless you’re planning to do a ton of case work). Others can correct me if I’m wrong here though.

What are you’re plans for the build? That would probably help folks better direct you in regards to the domino and offer general guidance

View SoCalLineman619's profile


17 posts in 1431 days

#11 posted 12-26-2016 08:26 PM

Would a jointer be more beginner friendly than a track saw? Would I eventually need the track saw to get my straight edge on the table top (ends) once it’s glued up, before introducing the breadboards? My end goal is to have a table that mimic the toscana table made by pottery barn. Instead of chairs using matching benches for seating on each side. Then purchasing unfinished chairs for the ends and stain to match. ( I looked into chairs and they seemed a little advanced for me)

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1833 days

#12 posted 12-27-2016 12:26 AM


I applaud your enthusiasm and if you plan to replicate the table shown in the video, you have quite a challenge with the limited array of tools at your disposal. I think, but am not sure that (and I am far from the greatest craftsman to hit the planet), that I could use the Festool Track Saw and Domino to build the table in the video; but I would rather use the jointer and planer to mill the stock the straight and flat and then butt glue the top to width (although biscuits could be used to reinforce the joints and for alignment). I would probably make my own self-centering doweling jig and install the dowels for alignment pins for the table leafs. But if you would prefer to use loose tenons for alignment, a plunge router and a shop made jig could cut the mortises and the table saw could cut the loose tenons.

While I do not own any Festool products, I understand these are highly regarded professional grade tools, with a professional price tage. The money you spend on the Domino and a track saw capable of rip cuts longer than 48”, could be upwards of $2000. For this same money I would wager you could get a pretty decent jointer and a surface planer. Then a little time with some inexpensive practice wood like poplar and some reading and YouTube viewing could get enough knowledge and experience with the planer and jointer to mill straight and square lumber yourself. It is my opinion, for what my opinion may be worth, that a jointer and surface planer will help on far more on this and future projects than the Domino and Track Saw.

As an aside, I noticed that the leafs in your posted YouTube video run cross grain to the main table surface. I am not quite sure why this was done. I can foresee a couple of problems with this design, both due to wood movement. First, the main top could expand or contract across its width while the leafs will not expand, at least by the same amount, along their length. As a result, when the leafs are installed, they may not set flush with the long edges of the main top.

The second issue is that the alignments holes whether, dowels or loose tenons, could become out of alignment should the main top expand or contract. Therefore, the leafs may not lock into the main top as they did when the table was first made because the alignment tenons may not always line up with the corresponding mortises.

I would have designed the expanding table top so that the grain of the leafs run parallel to the grain of the main table top. This could help avoid these two problems.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck. As with every project I have every completed, I am sure this project will be loaded with lessons learned; just a part of the craft as I have discovered by doing.

View bruc101's profile


1384 posts in 4454 days

#13 posted 12-27-2016 02:47 AM

I think before I jumped on a table that size, and with expensive Walnut and the experience, I would go to a big box store and get me either some yellow pine or spruce boards.

I’d take them back to my shop and build that table on the much cheaper woods and get my learning experiences there before I ruined 1500 bucks worth of Walnut. I would also never glue up a top that wide in one glue up.

I make on the average of 2 farm tables a month, and over the last 40 plus years of doing it, sometimes I never jump on a project without experimenting with cheaper woods, especially turned legs. I turned a couple legs out of 4×4 yellow pine recently to get it right on them before I chucked 600 bucks worth of Cherry leg blanks in the lathe.

As many years as I’ve been turning legs and the experience I have, using the yellow pine first turned out to be a good idea.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View SoCalLineman619's profile


17 posts in 1431 days

#14 posted 12-27-2016 03:52 AM

Thanks for the advice, curious… why not glue up a table that size all at once? What are the cons of doing it all at once and he pros of doing it piece by piece ? Also, would the dominos and glue be sufficient or would adding pocket holes and screws for rigidity be a good idea? I don’t plan on turning any legs. Just gluing up the stock to make some thick legs and square em up the the “x” design supports like the table I am trying to mimic

View bruc101's profile


1384 posts in 4454 days

#15 posted 12-27-2016 04:05 AM

I glue up tops in 2 sections. That takes less stress out of the joints and the boards. When I take the two sections out of the clamps I let them rest for about an hour and then I flatten them. I then join both sections together. When the completed top comes out of the clamps I only have one joint to flatten. We also make a lot of wood countertops for kitchens and build them the same way. Never had a failure in the many years we’ve been in business.

I NEVER use pocket screws in a top. I know of several youtube top failures done with pocket screws. Using the correct joinery is the life of any project.

I use biscuits, never have been fond of the other thingys and never wanted to make the investment for them. I still suggest you get some experience on cheaper woods before you jump on that expensive Walnut. It could save you a lot of frustrations and money if anything went wrong for you.

When I glue up legs I keep the grain on all boards in the same direction.

Good luck on your project.

-- Bruce Free Plans

showing 1 through 15 of 61 replies

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