When we moved into our “forever” house several years ago, I didn’t have a shop set up and I didn’t have the tools to do it, but I always knew I wanted to build our dining room table. We originally bought our furniture, but I hated the table. I built a shop and several years ago I found several really nice 10 ft spalted maple boards that I knew would look great as a dining room table. I held onto these and a few months ago I decided that I was finally ready to make our “forever” table. I designed the table and made a little model to show my wife and get her approval on the design. After that it was all about building it. The legs are made of some 8/4 walnut I was lucky enough to buy from a friend at a great price – they had it milled from their property and it was sitting in their barn. The top and bottom of the trestle are made of three pieces of 3/4″ walnut that I cut and glued to make a wider base. When I glued them up, I left 3″ spaces for mortises for the legs. The leg pieces were cut with tenons to fit those spaces so they go together perfectly. I used threaded brass female screw ends and matching screws to hold everything together (so I can take it apart if necessary). The stretcher is cherry with aluminum rods cut into the legs. I used my sawzall and a fantastic mixture of olive oil and dish soap as lubrication for cutting the aluminum rods.
Because I wanted the top to have extensions, and I wanted those to match the table, I used the whole 10 ft of the boards to make the table top. The problem was that the top was too large for me to plane the individual boards in my shop, so I took those to a lumber shop here in Rochester to plane and joint for me. I then finished up the joinery with biscuits and a hand plane. Trying to join these large pieces into a tabletop was difficult, but well worth it. I wanted to keep the ends visible to see the spalted maple, and I didn’t have the board feet for the walnut to extend the length of the table, so the walnut boards in the middle are surrounded by pieces of spalted maple I had. I left a little space for expansion, and the spalted maple is a little soft, so I’m hoping that there is little movement over the next 50 years or so…I guess we’ll see what happens!
The table is 44″ wide and 83″ long without the extensions. I also made some sliding extensions that are each 10″ long, adding 20 inches overall to the table. The first picture shows the table with the extensions and the next picture of the table top shows it without the extensions. They slide into slots underneath the table and above the trestle legs and and screw in tight to a female threaded insert.
Because one of the boards was really punky, I added some minwax hardener to the spalted maple boards, which wound up being a mistake. It caused my finish to be tacky and I had to sand it off and start again. I applied a Danish oil finish and then used a wipe-on gloss polyurethane my wife requested, and the finish came out perfect. We’ve had several dinners and parties with friends and everyone loves the table and it always makes me happy seeing it!