Butcherblock-style dining table.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Rayray554 posted 05-15-2018 06:18 PM 536 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rayray554's profile


2 posts in 781 days

05-15-2018 06:18 PM


Very new DIY-er here.
I’m interested in making a dining table top similar in style to the west elm emmerson series seen here

My initial thought is I could glue and clamp up some straight and well dried 2×4 boards oriented face to face to get a similar butcher block type effect. Length approximately 7 feet.
Closer to.the expected end result (top only) here

Is there any special concerns concerning expansion with the boards oriented this way i.e. the edges oriented up and down instead of across the face of the table?

I’m still gathering together my workshop I don’t have easy access to a full size planer. Im in the market for a table saw anyway so I am considering working with that to rip off the rounded edges OR could I get away with prepping the top with rounded edges and planing down the rounded edge with an electric hand planer? Or am I better off getting something like 2×8 boards and ripping them in half?

Any thoughts or advice appreciated. This might be anathema around here but I do understand this might not be the best way to go about building a table. My priorities are price and do-ability. Otherwise I would just set out to get massmarket table at the furniture store. I apologise in advance for any ignorance or wrong terminology, still very much a newbie and happy to learn.

Thanks in advance!

6 replies so far

View GoingUp's profile


47 posts in 1017 days

#1 posted 05-15-2018 07:56 PM

You’ll get a lot of good info from others who may have done something similar. You’re basically building a mammoth sized workbench. Ambitious project for a new woodworker.

Also, how many clamps do you have? A 39” wide by 7’ long table is gonna eat up some clamps. If you’re new and just building your shop, you’ll likely find you don’t have enough clamps of sufficient quality to glue up something that monstrous. Or do you plan on the glue and screw method?

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3368 days

#2 posted 05-15-2018 08:50 PM

My opinion, and not to discourage you…but that is pretty ambitious look. It would be a great way to break into woodworking. It will however, test you in many ways without a full assortment of tools, it may become a bit of a bear to deal with. They have used veneer on your inspiration table, so they have somewhat “cheated”. Notice how end grain is not visible on the ends of the top, and how the side of the table does not match the top?

View Rayray554's profile


2 posts in 781 days

#3 posted 05-15-2018 09:32 PM

Yep, clamps could definitely be part of the investment. I could glue and screw also. I did build a farmhouse table previously, being my first large wood project, and I bleeped it all up lol. Didn’t do enough research on properly joining it with the apron/legs and after 3 New England Summers and winters it’s got a gigantic crack down it. Hoping to find a sturdier design while also recognizing that it’s largely the result of user error.

View LittleShaver's profile


672 posts in 1389 days

#4 posted 05-16-2018 01:04 PM

Or… You could but a butcher block slab or an old bowling alley and beat it up to make it look reclaimed. I guess a bowling alley would technically be reclaimed?

2 X 4s are cheap, but they are also cheap. Twisty, turny, wet, bowed, bent knotty, etc. If you can find a bunch that are straight, then you need to keep them that way for a year or so to get them dry enough to use. I’d rip one edge to get to a square edge before glue up.

You can use the year to accumulate a pile of clamps for the glue up. You’ll be posting more questions as you progress.

-- Sawdust Maker

View bondogaposis's profile


5784 posts in 3121 days

#5 posted 05-16-2018 01:22 PM

It looks like you are considering construction lumber for this project. Be aware that construction lumber is very wet compared to furniture standards. So yes it is going to shrink. You would be better off to get some larger stock, like 2×12 or 2×10 and rip your pieces from that. That way to can avoid a lot defects by cutting them out, more waste but a better result. Another solution would be to browse your local craigslist and look for a glue-lam beam. Then all of the work would be done and all you would have to do is work on the legs.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View smitdog's profile


464 posts in 2875 days

#6 posted 05-16-2018 01:34 PM

I’d think your best bet would be to buy thicker boards and rip them to size which would square up the corners. You’ll have a much easier time getting straight lumber this way, plus the thicker stuff is usually better species of pine, like SYP in my experience. I’d go with 2×10’s and rip them into 3 pieces, even after jointing and everything you’d end up with at least a 2-1/2” thick top. If that’s not enough switch to 2×12’s and you’ll end up over 3” thick. If you don’t own a jointer then make yourself a long sled for the table saw or rig up a long cutting guide for a circular saw to get a straight edge to reference on the fence when you rip down your boards. Definitely do your research to join the top to the apron, there are lots of methods to do this while still allowing it to move with changes in humidity. Good luck!

EDIT: I like Bondo’s suggestion to look for a laminated beam, that could really help you get started!

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

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