8ft x 4ft farmhouse table advice - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-13-2015, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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8ft x 4ft farmhouse table advice


I am new to the forum but have read a great many useful piece of advice here!

I have been making and selling mostly coffee tables for a year now from my smallish workshop at home. I came to it off the back of a 6 month job in a design and fabricate place where we mostly used plywood to make museum installations. So, my knowledge of 'proper' joinery is pretty lacking!

As my little business is growing I'm getting requests for stuff that's a bit more complex than gluing and screwing. One of these is for a large (8ft x 4ft) farmhouse table.

I've never made a tabletop that size before and would like some advice on-

a) whether gluing and biscuiting a tabletop that size will be sufficient
b) whether using scaffold board that has at some point been kept outside, but has now sat inside the house for about a week, will present problems in terms of shrinking/cracking etc - whether gluing rather than screwing will avoid this
c) Ideally I'd like to be able to transport the top not yet attached to the legs. So do I make the legs/apron using mortise and tenon joints, then attach the top? If so, how should the top be fixed to the apron, again to avoid problems with cracking

PS I have a pocket hole jig - should this be employed?

Sorry for all my naivety and thank you for any/all advice you're willing to give. If you're getting the general impression that I don't really know what I'm doing , then I've pitched this right! I'd love to be able to expand my skills well enough to do this table well - I really don't want to feel like I'm duping the customer in to trusting me with this.



Last edited by charisk; 11-13-2015 at 06:40 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-13-2015, 06:45 PM
where's my table saw?
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a similar build from planks


I made this interior door from 2 X 10 planks and skinned it with 1/4" ply on both sides. The process you would use is the same for straight line edging, clamping, gluing and planing it flat. You should treat the top as one project and the support system as a second.

This top will be extremely heavy even if made from 1 1/2" thick planks, heavier if made from thicker stock. There are many variations for table supports as far as materials, metal or wood and the location of the vertical supports. The attachment method depends on the design. I would not use pocket screws or any additional methods to hold the planks together. It will hold just fine ONLY IF you have good clean, square and straight edges.... nothing else will suffice no matter what method you use.

Wood legs and aprons can be mortise and tenon with additional corner draw blocks to hold then together. Simple "Z" clips can keep the top in place and allow for movement across the width. The weight alone will keep it from moving around the room .... very much.

Can you post a sketch or photo of your leg design?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 11-13-2015 at 07:58 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-13-2015, 06:57 PM
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There are many great videos on YouTube with guys building dining tables. You should start there. Building the top and bottom separate would be a must so hauling it that way shouldn't be a problem. I use table top clips to attach the two together like this8ft x 4ft farmhouse table advice-imageuploadedbywood-working-talk1447458705.448041.jpg
Mortise and tenon joints with the legs and apron is probably the best way to go

wish I had a cool line like everyone else...
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-14-2015, 12:45 AM
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Scaffolding planks have metal rebar in them.The ones I've cut up out here do.So good luck with making a particular sized table.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-05-2016, 12:16 PM
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I have never seen scaffolding planks with rebar in them. Where are they commonly used?
I have only seen the ones that were "Architectural Grade" and manufactured laminated scaffold for up to about 12'.
Usually more tha 12' we use the aluminum scaffold designed for long spans.
I would think rebar would weaken a scaffold board by not having the same flex as the laminate layers around it and also create 'hard spots'.

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.

"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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