The biggest risk you have with a table top like that is the amount of screws you have and if the screws are tight to the holes in the metal...The pressure has to go somewhere.
thank you for the education. this is all new to me. i will have to do some background reading in the forum to avoid asking you too many rudimentary questions.
i have loosened all the screws down so there is a gap of .25". despite that, the screws are still very tightly planted to the wood and they don't move at all. i felt a lot of pressure release as i was loosening the screws. the table still is very steady and stable so i could probably loosen the screws even more.
the metal holes are 1 cm in diameter and are noticeably bigger than the diameter of the screws (see photo below for comparison). do I still need to elongate?
A lot of times you can split wood by putting in screws without predrilling a pilot hole. It's kind of like a steel wedge driven in the head of a wood handled hammer but a much smaller scale.
i have made 8 holes on each side without using pilot holes. so far no signs of cracking and I have tried to follow your advice about making space for wood to contract. can i consider myself lucky or will it be a matter of 6 months when cracks form?
out of the 16 holes, i messed up on one and had to make another hole just 7.5mm away. as precaution, I have removed the screw from this and am leaving it empty. in fact, even though I have 8 holes on each side, I have only 4 screws in and 4 holes empty because I removed the screws. the table is still very stable so that's no worry.
these holes are .75" deep when the wood thickness is 1". i should have thrown away the screws that came with this base and purchased shorter ones. i was too eager to get the table ready. i'm come to accept the fact that this wood is probably ruined and will eventually crack due to my sloppy work.
in the future, if cracks begin to form i will cut off 3" of each side (because that's where the screw holes are lined up) + 2" buffer so 5" total on each side and then have the shop glue new boards on the side to make this like new again.
i will use this as a learning experience. i'm just a consumer who purchased wood for the first time that is not from ikea. as a layman, i thought it was a simple matter of screwing the base to the wood. now i realize i should have done a little more planning. i apologize to all woodworkers out there for butchering this beautiful piece of wood due to my ignorance. i won't repeat these mistakes next time.