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Forum topic by tyskkvinna posted 06-26-2012 05:31 PM 2498 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1310 posts in 3997 days

06-26-2012 05:31 PM

I am working a project that will require me to make a ”’butcher block” style table that will be roughly 100 inches by 50 inches. It’s going to be out of hard maple (what else) and roughly 5” thick.

What I need advice on is—should this get a layer of plywood on the bottom for stability or should it be okay on its own? I figure if it does require plywood I should do that from the get-go to make it easier rather than try to flatten all sides later and glue it to the ply.

If you all think it will be okay on its own then I will just go ahead without it..


-- Lis - Michigan - -

45 replies so far

View Andrew Betschman's profile

Andrew Betschman

309 posts in 4234 days

#1 posted 06-26-2012 06:05 PM

What sort of base is this going on?
At 5” thick you will be fine. No ply wood necessary.

-- Andrew, Ohio

View waho6o9's profile


8997 posts in 3588 days

#2 posted 06-26-2012 06:23 PM

Let’s see, 100 inches is around 8 feet long. I would suggest some type of leg support around the perimeter.
The one in the picture is 10inches deep and is 24” x 18”. My friend has one similar and it weighs so much it’s incredible.

A base may be more appropriate to keep it from sagging.

View Viktor's profile


472 posts in 4430 days

#3 posted 06-26-2012 07:00 PM

Am I reading it right: 100×50x5” maple butcher block?! That will be around 300 kg (700lb).
It will definitely need a solid apron underneath around the perimeter and maybe across the middle. You should not glue it to anything because a block this size will expand and contract quite a bit with moisture variation.

View adaughhetee's profile


104 posts in 3694 days

#4 posted 06-26-2012 07:14 PM

A table that size could be very hard to move. At 44 pounds on average per cubic foot x 14.47 cubic feet = 637 pounds for the top alone. If its an option it may be more practical to use 3”thick with two rows of 5” around the perimeter as kind of a skirt. That would still give you the impression of a 5” top with out the weight (around 250lbs less if my math is correct) To move a 50” wide table through a doorway you will have to pick it up turn it on it’s side and maneuver it through the doorway. It would be a problem at around 650 pounds total unless you have very, very strong friends.

View bent's profile


311 posts in 4680 days

#5 posted 06-26-2012 07:15 PM

that’s 174 bdft! it’s going to be a monster. i’m curious about this project now, please keep us updated.

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 3365 days

#6 posted 06-26-2012 07:16 PM

I agree you will not need a ply wood bottom.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3997 days

#7 posted 06-26-2012 07:50 PM

Nope, it has to be 5 inches solid, this is not negotiable. :) The weight in and of itself is no big deal and neither is moving it. It’s going to a particular installation and the logistics of THAT have already been settled. I’m just asking about the stability of it.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25935 posts in 4116 days

#8 posted 06-26-2012 08:44 PM

If it is solidly glued, I see no need for a plywood bottom. That much wood may expand more than the plywood and be a problem to the plywood if they were glued together!

How will you machine the top? Will it fit on the CNC router table?
It will need a good frame to support all that weight!.........................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 3458 days

#9 posted 06-26-2012 09:30 PM

Holy Moly, That’s going to be a Monster, I just built a 73” x 24” x 4” top and it is a beast to move around. Who on earth needs a table that size and wieght?

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3199 days

#10 posted 06-27-2012 12:44 AM

You don’t want to glue the maple to the plywood if you use the latter. Plywood will not move (much) but the maple will. Given the weight of the maple, the plywood seems unlikely to do much anyhow unless you use really skookum plywood and lag it to the maple using slots instead of holes so they can move relative to one another.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3997 days

#11 posted 06-27-2012 12:48 AM

How much do you think I can expect the maple to move? Would it be better to use epoxy to glue them up?

I want to layer the maple so I need to keep this as stable as possible.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Rutager's profile


27 posts in 3314 days

#12 posted 06-27-2012 01:22 AM


Since all the movement will be the same direction for all the pieces, I don’t think you’ll have any problem with it. If it will be used for food prep and get wet, use a waterproof glue like Titebond III. I would also cut your boards a little oversize and let them acclimate to your shop then take them to their final size.


View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3997 days

#13 posted 06-27-2012 01:23 AM

The boards are super dry and the table won’t come into contact with food. It will be under glass. And never actually be a cutting board, it will just look like one.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3854 days

#14 posted 06-27-2012 01:27 AM

Lis, Is this going to be an end grain top? My thoughts would be to strengthen the top with internal threaded rod (tensioned) going lengthwise. Compressing the vertical joints in the end grain would give you more options supporting it. It sounds very interesting. Please keep us posted. -Jack

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3997 days

#15 posted 06-27-2012 01:50 AM

No, I was going to have it be long-grain… end grain is kind of a pain for the tools I have. I have been considering putting it under tension as well. it’s something I’m still considering.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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