Wood Slab table construction - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-10-2013, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Wood Slab table construction

So just got my first pair of hardwood slabs and going to make a table of them, they are roughly 2" thick and 24"x96" and heavy. I gathered enough knowledge here for joining the slabs but cant really nail done what to do for the legs. My plan is to use hardwood tree sections about 6" diameter and connect then and support the top with 2x4's. How do I connect the legs to the table cause my only idea of dowels was shot down by a carpenter for heavy tables. Also is there a better idea then 2x4's? Then lastly not sure how to finish the slab?

Oh and the tools I have are very limited to circular saw, router, hand held belt sander, and chisels.

Thanks for the help guys!
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-11-2013, 01:02 PM
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The slabs (planks) will expand and contract with season change (humidity) even after you put a finish on the table so you can't use dowels or any glue to hold skirt boards or cleats that go across the grain underneath. Those would restrict the wood movement. You would be surprised at how much power wood has to explode or crack under the stress of that movement.

You can use screws or lag screws in slotted holes...without glue. This allows movement and still provides a tight joint. The holes at the center of the table doesn't need to be slotted. The next ones should have about 1/8" slot, the farthest out should have about 1/4" slot. There are charts which show the movement per inch of different species of wood. You can use these as a guide. Here are some links...

http://woodgears.ca/wood_grain/shrinkage.html

http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/...wood-movement/

For attaching the legs, I would suggest this "keylock" newel post anchor. You can buy them at most lumber stores....


Last edited by MNsawyergp; 12-11-2013 at 01:09 PM. Reason: addition
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-12-2013, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Those keylocks look like a perfect idea for the legs, thank you.

Since its going to be a long 8 ft table made from 2 planks glued and dovetailed together I want to add a skirt board to run the length of the table attached to the legs. Then add a few width wise supports attached to the board. The supports wont attach to the table top directly so the planks can grow. Does this sound like a good idea?

Im not a carpenter, just a handyman liking wood work lately so sorry if my questions are not the best or most technical, but thank you for all the help.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-12-2013, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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So here is my table underside design, the support skirts and middle supports will be two opposite 1x4's glued and screwed together. I can account for top expansion in the end skirts with Z-clips in slots but what about the middle supports? Since they will be from HD fir wood and the top is a walnut hard wood they will expand at different rates. What is a heavy duty way to attach the middle supports to the long skirts while giving them flexibility to expand?

Wood Slab table construction-table-top.jpg
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-12-2013, 12:54 PM
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Looks like a good plan to me. As I said in my first reply, I would use lag screws with washers in oversized holes through your support boards and into the underside of the table. These support boards should be something like 1 1/2 x 2 1/2" with the narrow edge against the table. You can counter sink the lag screws into the support board so the heads don't show. I would suggest a hardwood for the supports rather than fir. Fir has very little strength to fight against any amount of cupping in the table top slab. Something more like Oak, Hickory, or Ash would be much stronger.

A suggestion for the end skirt boards...run them past the side skirt boards by about 1/2". That way when the slabs expand and contract the side skirt boards can move in or out and still look good on your table design. You could even do a fancy profile on the ends of the end skirt boards. You can attach your side skirt boards to the legs in a solid joint, but allow movement for the legs to slide along the end skirt boards by attaching through slotted holes.

Last edited by MNsawyergp; 12-12-2013 at 12:58 PM. Reason: addition
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-13-2013, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I see it all now clearly, thats some great direction thank you.

Another piece of furniture I have is a wood log head-board and foot-board from 6" diameter walnut. In a 2 of the logs there is a pretty wide crack already that runs a foot or so, what can I do to stop that log from fully splitting?
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