Dining Table Design - Short boards, long table

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Forum topic by Bhutt123 posted 10-30-2018 04:30 PM 422 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 446 days

10-30-2018 04:30 PM

Hey folks. I have been a “lurker” here for a long time and have learned a bunch. I have solved many issues I have had without ever having to make a post of my own! Now, I have come to pick some of your brains about a current project.

My friend has asked me to build a dining table for his family out of some 2×6 white oak that was reclaimed for them from a barn. It is some beautiful wood, but I have never worked with reclaimed stuff before. I have planed out some cutoff pieces, and it has a nice aged color and some really nice grain character.

They have requested the table to be 9’ long. I have enough boards that are 10+ ft, but as you can imagine, with old wood, most of the boards have some curve to them and some are pretty twisted. My jointer is definitely not up to the task as it is only a 6” with shorter beds…and the boards are super heavy and hard to control. I made a super long straight line jig and tried to get a good straight line on one of the curved boards, but lost a ton of material and still don’t think I could get a good enough cut to glue up using that method.

I am considering cutting them down to a manageable size that I can work with my equipment. I would then break the table top up in the middle with a third “breadboard” so to speak. So, breadboard ends, 3.75’ of material, then another board parallel to the bread board ends.

Have any of you done a table this way before? If so, how did you attach the middle board to the others? Same way as a breadboard?

Any reason the middle board is a bad idea and I should rethink it and try to make the longer boards work? I have already pitched the idea to them, and they do not care either way.

2 replies so far

View maxyedor's profile


27 posts in 926 days

#1 posted 10-30-2018 05:21 PM

I suppose it would work, but I’d be slightly worried about the center breadboard cupping and potentially bending the table in the middle. If the wood is old enough, it likely won’t drastically move anymore so it may be a non-issue.

If you did it this way I’d do a pinned breadboard, same as you’d do at the ends, but the center piece would have a mortise on both sides.

Could you cut the boards down and then glue them back together once the short sections are straightened out using a half-lap joint? If you then staggered the joints so that each half-lap glues to a solid piece next to it it would be incredibly strong.

View bilyo's profile


959 posts in 1704 days

#2 posted 10-30-2018 07:16 PM

Do you have a planer? If so, you can build a sled and use that to flatten your lumber. Most planers will accommodate lumber up to 11” width or more. Depending on how crooked your lumber is, you may still waste more wood than you care to. If that is the case, then maxyedor’s idea is a good one. Take a look at the way a bowling alley is made; a series of short pieces put end to end and then glued side to side. As he said, make sure your joints are staggered. A nice touch might be to join the end to end pieces with finger joints or dove tails.

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