Bar Height Table

Luckbox72

Eric
Senior User
I was able to get a pretty good deal on some rough Walnut and plan on making 3 Bar height tables about 42" by 72". The Walnut is just over 1 inch right now but once I clean it up I am sure it will be thinner than 1 inch. Would this be to thin for a table top. I had thought about doubling up the boards but do not have enough wood to double up all the tables and also not sure if that would make the top to heavy. Would it make more sense to maybe just double up the edges say the last 6" and then add a few boards on the underside to stiffing and strengthen, Or maybe get 1/2" play wood about 30" x 60" for the main base and then attach the top to it, or would their be a better way to do this? I was thinking of either using metal hairpin legs or maybe pipe legs on the table.
 

Lowespro2

Nick
Senior User
Did you get the walnut that was being sold on Craigslist a few weeks back in downtown Raleigh?

I would think 1” thickness would be fine if your base has enough supports. Do you have a sketch of what you plan to build?
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Eric - I do indeed have some thoughts on this, and a BIT of experience. I have done a table much like you have described in one of your options - described in this post earlier on NCWW:
Padauk table - bar height (Post 1 of 3)

This is a 4/4 wood top and I doubled the thickness on the edges - not for strength, but for appearance. 4/4 wood, even once cleaned up, is plenty strong for a table top - assuming normal use. But given the industrial look it seems like you might be aiming for with pipe legs, my judgement would be make the top (appear) thicker than 3/4.
- I have not seen hairpin legs on anything except (low) coffee or end tables, and I doubt that I would choose these for such a tall and large table. I expect they would NOT be stable enough for a dining type table, unless they were very stout (and therefore not hairpin-ish).
- Hairpin legs typically do NOT have any interconnection of the legs , which will make the table quite wobbly I expect (pipe legs on flanges MIGHT not suffer from the same issue).
- I don't know how you are planning to use these tables, but I expect you'll find that without footrests (cross bars) that sitting at this table might not be as comfortable as you might expect. Mocking up the base with scrap wood, 2x4s, pocket screws, 1/8 luan plywood top etc is something I ALWAYS do for new projects; makes for a much better finish project (when I do my own design - which is pretty much always). In this case I suggest having the stools or chairs available (if possible) to get a feel for the dimensions and whether you want or need a foot rest (I expect you will).
- Consider is that a 42" wide wood table needs a way to accommodate wood movement - width changes with humidity changes (expansion/contraction is across the grain) . So whether you use plywood or cross bars or any or structure underneath, or not, ensure that the structure allows for width changes. There are ways to calculate the max movement for each species, but the common ways to accommodate movement have always worked for me in normal sized pieces, without determining exactly how much movement I need to allow for.

If you can use sketchup or other drawing programs that can provide a better view of the look of the piece - scaled to size. Larger tables need larger sized support structure - to my eye at least (i.e. no hairpin legs for me on a large table). A mockup then provides instant feedback on usage and comfort, as well as aesthetics (although I seldom make a complete mockup with a full thickness table top - I just grab some plywood/cardboard for that and then use my imagination - thankfully my wife can see past that and imagine too!).

Hope that helps. Keep us up to date on design choices and project build. Is this going into commercial space or do you just have a large party room at home?
 
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Luckbox72

Eric
Senior User
Here is a quick sketup of the table top. I have decided to go 36" x 66" and some where between 1 and 1 1/2" thick. Was thinking to have 8" wide Bread board at each end unless it would look better just straight boards. Still trying to figure out the legs. I think metal legs painted black would look really good, but for 40" legs metal most of what I find are the pipe style which could look good.
 

Attachments

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
... somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2" thick.
Was thinking to have 8" wide Bread board at each end unless it would look better just straight boards.
Eric
Breadboards look great, but since I seldom make anything actually rectangular... I have not used them. I have no issue with 'just straight boards'. I have also only made 1 table that wide, most of the projects I have made have used narrower glue ups. The function of breadboards of course is to maintain flatness (I believe) and I guess I am lucky that this has not been an issue on my projects (so far?).

As to the base, as the designer you get to make the aesthetic, functional, and assembly trade-offs - my comments regarding bases were already made in earlier post.
 

Luckbox72

Eric
Senior User
One more issue that has come up. I have a 6 inch jointer but all the boards are wider the 6 inches. I have been using the planner and taking just the lightest of passes and it is getting the wood pretty flat but I do have a couple of boards over 10" wide that have a bow maybe 1/4". Trying to figure out the best way to flatten I could try a sander or hand plan, I could cut the board in half length wise and then flatten the entire length and re-glue. I could cut the boards into 2 short boards which would shrink the bow, try and flatten and re-glue. The other thing is how flat do I need to get the boards. I have a number pretty flat and was thinking I could glue them together and work the slight bow out by using the boards on either side. As of now I have about half the boards planed on one side and on average there might be about 1/16 of an inch of bow over the total length.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Again my opinion only...
1/16 bow is easily worked out in glueup - assuming that is along the length not the width, and assuming not all boards are bowed.
1/16 is also not likely discernible in use in a 6' table
1/16 is likely manageable with a straight/flat base or support structure.

Rip and joint wider boards? Sure if you must, but I might also pay someone else to this for you - especially if you value the look of wider boards. (assuming you have the thickness to be able to remove 1/4" of bow).

I would NOT cross cut the length of the board (i.e. making two 3' long boards from one 6' long board) - unless you can tolerate that look in the table - not my choice.
 

Luckbox72

Eric
Senior User
Ok next question. I have the main part of the table glued up. I was going to cut it to length and then add a bread board. I was going to use Dominoes to attach the bread board. The middle would be solid the others would have slight wider cuts on the main table and then a pin push through to allow for movement. I was then going to add a 2 inch wide and about 5/8 thick boarder on the bottom to make the table look thicker. The over all size of the table will be 66" X 33". I had originally though I would run the strips the entire length of the table and be glued but I assume that will interfere with the wood movement. So then I thought I would glue it to the main table section and just nail it to the bread board or cut slots and screw it on. Or should I just add the strips to the main table section and then frame out the bread board so when it comes together they are still separate pieces. I like he idea of the log side actually being attached to the bread board for strength, and I think would be a cleaner look, but then it will conflict with wood movement.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Eric
Not sure I can follow all your descriptions, so I will write my own descriptions and see if you can follow them.
Note - I have never done a breadboard, and never had issues with table flatness ... so all of this is my approach, would I ever try to do such a thing...

I would make your table top, and glue the strips underneath to create the thickness (or appearance thereof). I would do so on all 4 sides - ensuring that the end pieces have grain running the same direction as the top. I did that on my table by cross-cutting the length and gluing the cutoff pieces below (link to NCWW post on this table in my earlier post in this thread).

Then I would simply make the bread board that same 'doubled up' thickness - and then you affix the breadboard to the main table top the way you would if everything were that 'doubled thickness' which it is in that area.

Hope you can sense of that description!? The main table top approach is exactly what I did above, even though that was a single board and not a glued up table top, the approach is no different. Make double thick breadboards, and attach as you would any breadboard.
 

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