Dining Room Table Project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-21-2019, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Dining Room Table Project

Thought I’d start here, versus the “Project Showcase” cuz, well, it’s not really a project yet...

My family’s old dairy barn in Wisconsin was recently dismantled and I made the trip home to salvage some of the wood. The barn and wood have great sentimental value, and I’d like the finished table to still have our barn’s “identity” to it.

A couple of pics attached. The first is what I’ve saved. The second is what I’d like to create.

Design seems simple enough, while maintaining the raw barn beam look. Gonna be big and heavy, and I’m ok with that. Looking for any advice, guidance, cautions, etc., before I dive in.

Got a local saw mill that will mill the beams into what I need. I’m visualizing a 6’x4’ surface, with a 2” thick top. Ultimately benches instead of chairs. Outside of that, I’ll take whatever advice this braintrust would care to offer!

Thanks in advance! I’m sure I’ll have lots of questions!

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difalkner and Tool Agnostic like this.

Last edited by difalkner; 10-21-2019 at 11:31 PM. Reason: show photos
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 05:56 AM
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Those boards on the end are called breadboard ends, and they arent glued or rigidly fastened to the center boards. Most important thing to know right there

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post #3 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Those boards on the end are called breadboard ends, and they arent glued or rigidly fastened to the center boards. Most important thing to know right there
Thanks! I’d done just enough research to learn the “breadboard” part, but much more to learn. Would these be attached with dowels or another method? As I understand, part of their purpose is to keep the table top planks from cupping?

Posted the same pics on another forum I frequent, and got some inputs that seem to indicate the table looks disproportionate, especially with regard to how the base looks compared to the table top and overall size of the table. Thoughts? I just really like the design as it retains the “beam” character.

Please keep the inputs coming!
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 12:46 PM
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Breadboards are pinned, no glue at all, using the "draw bore" method. The center hole is fixed, the other holes are elongated laterally to allow for movement. Your biggest challenge is going to be the mortises.

You are very lucky to find anyone to mill this lumber. Every sawyer I know wouldn't touch it due to nails or steel in wood.

I don't know how anyone could make that comment based on the one pic. Looks good to me!

Good luck on the build. I would approach the build with timber frame joinery - most like just like the barn was built. ;-)
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ in CO View Post
................. and got some inputs that seem to indicate the table looks disproportionate, especially with regard to how the base looks compared to the table top and overall size of the table. Thoughts? I just really like the design as it retains the “beam” character.................
It's your table and if you like it, that is what counts. Just might want to consider leg room with a bulky table base.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by EJ in CO View Post
Thanks! I’d done just enough research to learn the “breadboard” part, but much more to learn. Would these be attached with dowels or another method? As I understand, part of their purpose is to keep the table top planks from cupping?

Posted the same pics on another forum I frequent, and got some inputs that seem to indicate the table looks disproportionate, especially with regard to how the base looks compared to the table top and overall size of the table. Thoughts? I just really like the design as it retains the “beam” character.

Please keep the inputs coming!
Aye, a big part of breadboards purpose is to keep the top from cupping. Generally, a tenon is cut into the ends of the center boards, and a matching mortise is cut in the end pieces. The pieces as mentioned arent glued together as that would create a cross-grain glue joint which would fail, and instead the pieces are pinned together with a draw-bored dowel, like DrRobert mentioned. Theres a better guide here:
https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodwor...ery/breadboard

As far as the design goes, who cares what other people think. Its your table with your history and the only thing that matters is that you like the design. Personally i think the design you posted is a little chunky, but thats just my personal taste. When it comes to wood furniture, i prefer more Shaker style, the farm style stuff just doesnt suit my personal aesthetics. As long as the design doesnt create any mechanical or longevity issues, its all up to personal taste

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post #7 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the great inputs, especially the link to the breadboard article. That’s exactly the kind of info I need to get smarter on.

I’ve talked to the operator who has agreed to mill my beams, and he’ll be running a metal detector over the wood prior to doing the milling. On that note, I’m very familiar with where these particular beams were in the barn, and any chance of nails in this would should be limited to specific spots and pretty easy to look for. Still very much worth the effort to verify it’s “clean”.

As for the design of the table, I’m still really liking it. Given the size of my beam material, my final design wouldn’t be quite as “chunky” but still pretty true to this design. That being said, I’m certainly open to considering other designs. The caveat is this: the design must still keep as much of the original beam look as possible. I really want to “see” our barn when I look at this table.

Ideas?

Last edited by EJ in CO; 10-23-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 11:53 AM
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EJ, check out hffcom on YouTube he does a lot of rustic work and shows how he finishes.

This is a case where the room has to fit the table, IOW you need a pretty large space, otherwise, the table will look awkward. If this is the case, I would redimension it.

I often will do a mock up out of plywood or some other cheap wood. I think it really is worth the time and effort because I get valuable information by visualizing the piece. Almost always I will find things about proportions or design features that I can make it look better.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
Breadboards are pinned, no glue at all, using the "draw bore" method. The center hole is fixed, the other holes are elongated laterally to allow for movement. Your biggest challenge is going to be the mortises.

You are very lucky to find anyone to mill this lumber. Every sawyer I know wouldn't touch it due to nails or steel in wood.

I don't know how anyone could make that comment based on the one pic. Looks good to me!

Good luck on the build. I would approach the build with timber frame joinery - most like just like the barn was built. ;-)

That one picture does make the table look disproportional. However, that is because of the angle of the picture. The table would probably look fine in another picture from another angle that did not make the leg the main object of the picture.


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