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An Extremely Large Dining Table.

It has been awhile since I have posted a project on Hometalk. That is because I have been working on a dining table for most of the summer and into the fall.

It is a hickory top trestle table and the largest table I have ever made. It is 43 inches wide and 10 ft. long and accepts a 16” leaf at each end. It seats 12-14 without the leaves and can accommodate 16-18 with the leaves. I usually counsel people to not build a table for Christmas and/or Thanksgiving. The friends I built this table for, have several children and grand children locally, so it is common to have between 14 and 18 people at a family dinner.

Time: 5 Months Cost: $1000 Difficulty: Advanced
 The rustic top is hickory with bread board ends and the trestle has two pedestal bases made of pine and poplar.

The pedestals are commonly called “vase pedestals”. There is a center column that  runs from the foot to the table top. The columns were then wrapped with addition wood and wood trim. Poplar bar rail  was used to create the curves of the foot and “ the vases”.  The vases require compound cuts- mitered and bevel cuts and quite a bit of epoxy filler and sanding. Luckily the base was meant to be painted.  

The top is actually two pieces- 1) a plywood sub-layer that includes the apron and leaf extensions; and 2) a hickory layer. . Making the top in two pieces make the top manageable from a weight perspective, but both are still heavy, 

The hickory (4/4 by  8” by 10 ft) came rough sawn from a local sawmill (Handley Tree Service) and  I had it processed by a local Millwork shop (Woodsmiths Custom Millwork). Woodsmith planed one side smooth and straight cut both edges. I did the edge glueing and used pocket screws to joint the edges. 

I found the design for the leaf extensions on the Internet- four lengths of hickory (3/4” by 1.5”) run in channels in the sub-layer. They are attached to the bread board and pull out to support the 16” wide leaves. 

The most laborious aspect of the table was planing and sanding the top. The hickory defeated  two power planers that I had purchased at Harbor Freight. Luckily I bought a extended protection plan, so the replacement didn’t cost me anything.  

The top was stained with a mixture of golden oak and dark walnut stain. The base and apron  was painted white, slightly distress, and accented with a liquid wax. The entire table was coated with coats of satin polyurethane.
In conclusion, it is unlikely I will ever do such a large and heavy table. It was almost unmanageable for a small shop. I had to ask for help multiple time, just to reposition the pieces. 

I wouldn’t encourage the 16” leaf extensions. They are heavy and cumbersome to put in and out. 

I was pleased with the unique use of the bar rail. It offered design detaill/appearance not normally achievable in a small shop. 

Materials I used for this project:

  • Rough Sawn Hickory Lumber   (Handley's Lumber and Tree Service)
  • Pine lumber/ Plywood   (Menards)
  • Bar Rail, Moldings, and Trim   (Elenbaas Millwork)
  • Wendy
    5 days ago

    Wow, a real beauty!

  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    5 days ago

    That is amazing. Beautiful work.

  • Marie
    Marie Placentia, CA
    4 days ago

    Absolutely gorgeous! I would love to have a table just like that, beautiful.

  • Amy
    Amy Richland, MI
    3 hours ago

    John, you do beautiful work. The table you made for our family is going strong into it's 13th year and I still receive compliments on it all the time!

    • John Biermacher
      John Biermacher
      30 minutes ago

      Wow, this is a real compliment- coming from someone with excellent design ability and good taste. Looking forward to more projects together.

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