Designing a 14’x5’ conference table

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Forum topic by Mark posted 10-04-2018 04:51 PM 502 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 884 days

10-04-2018 04:51 PM


I’ve been commissioned to build a 14’ x 5’ conference table by a big developer who wants to use lumber felled from land they turned into a subdivision.

The lumber comes to me somewhat green (I posted more about that in the lumber forum) but once it’s dried I’ll have a number of 8’ by 20”-30”, 9/4 slabs.

They want this table solid, and they’re prepared to remove windows and lift it in via crane if necessary.

My question is: how should I go about designing the table top? They want the surface to be dead flat and smooth (of course), and the table overall has a slightly modern look to it.

I’m going to have to have slabs butted together end to end, and there’s only so much I can do about getting a perfectly seamless transition there, but here’s what I had in mind.

Build the table in 4 pieces, such that it can be assembled and disassembled. The 4 quarters have numerous metal dowels for alignment, and are joined to each other with half moon bolts recessed into the underside of the table. If dowels aren’t enough, or wouldn’t be enough for the end to end joints, I could use some sort of matching profile like a tight tongue and groove.

The slabs would be ripped to 10” and cut to 7’ lengths. 3 pieces would be required for each table top ‘quadrant.’

How does this sound?

5 replies so far

View BFamous's profile


336 posts in 728 days

#1 posted 10-04-2018 05:06 PM

I think my first questions would be:
1. What type of wood is it, and
2. What type of finish

If they are expecting a natural finish, then the grain pattern is going to be important so you’ll need to consider this when resawing the material.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View Mark's profile


58 posts in 884 days

#2 posted 10-04-2018 05:27 PM

It’s White Oak, with lots of character/imperfections. They want a dark espresso stain and even specifically stated not wanting the grain to be highly apparent.

View BlasterStumps's profile


1494 posts in 1047 days

#3 posted 10-04-2018 08:11 PM

Without knowing the details of the building and access into the room it needs to go in, I may be offering useless advice here but,
If the doorways/hallway allow, you can move a very large top easily if you build a narrow cart to carry it on it’s side. We moved a 15’ top. Just tilted it up against a wall, removed the metal legs, rocked it up on one end enough to get the cart under it then off we went with it. Then after the remodel of the room, back in it went.
So if you need it all one piece, it may be possible to move it in in one piece.
Make the cart so that it has two fixed wheels in the middle and two at each end just a bit smaller than the two in the middle so you can steer it.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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1494 posts in 1047 days

#4 posted 10-04-2018 08:24 PM

Also might mention that people sitting at a 14’ conference table might benefit from the table being made slightly oval over it’s length. Might make it easier to see other people at the table.
The cart I was describing would be similar to carts you would find in the big box stores where you get lumber. They have fixed wheel in the middle and steerable wheels at each end. Only narrow so you can fit thru a doorway on an angle.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View mathguy1981's profile


94 posts in 512 days

#5 posted 10-04-2018 09:13 PM

Jump to 1 minute into this video of Nick Offerman’s shop.

You can see the router jig he built for planing flat large slabs like you’re going to be working with.

-- Two thumbs and counting

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