Dining Table Build – Let Her Rip!

Last week, I laid out the design of a dining room table that I built for a couple of friends who just bought a home out here in Colorado. This week I’ll start walking through each of the steps I went through to build the table.

Now, this table design is very large, about 4’ x 8’. A quick google search for tables that size shows that many, if not most, cost over $1000. Pretty significant. Because this is my first time building anything significant, and because they’re my good friends, they’ll be getting the table for the cost of the supplies. Even with that keeping costs down, this much wood can get expensive, so I decided to build the table out of douglas-fir lumber.

While douglas-fir lumber is fairly cheap and readily available at your big box home improvement store, it does present a couple issues. Number one is quality. Typically lumber from the home improvement store is not the best quality and can be warped or damaged when you buy it. Unfortunately, I do not have a jointer to make perfectly flat and perpendicular edges. I tried to minimize this issue as much as possible by spending large quantities of time at the store checking each board for straightness before I bought it.

The other issue with lumber is that it comes with rounded edges. Per the design, I would be joining 19 2” x 6”s to get a table about 8’ long. Now, if you do the math, 19*5.5” (a standard 2×6 is 5.5” wide, don’t ask me why) is closer to 9’ than 8’. But the design also calls for each 2×6 to be ripped down to 5” wide using a table saw. This makes the table length ~45”. More importantly, if done correctly, this eliminates the rounded edges of the lumber. It leads to a much cleaner, more finished look. It also eliminates the slight crack that a rounded edge would create at the joint between 2 boards (think picnic table).

All of this explanation leads to day 1 of the table build. After buying all of the lumber, Bryan, the future owner of the table, and I started to rip every piece of lumber down. Luckily, my friend gave me his old table saw and I was able to get it up and running prior to starting this project. The key to getting rid of the rounded edges on the lumber is to rip each short side. To go from 5.5” down to 5” we just ripped ¼” off of each short side of lumber. In a similar vein, we ripped the 4” x 4” (actual dimensions 3.5” x 3.5”) pieces down to 3” x 3” for the table legs.

Quite a bit going on in this photo. Ripped tabletop boards to the right, legs in the back left near the table saw, and the miter saw up and running to cut everything to length.

Goals Update

Almost a month ago, I posted an update regarding my weight loss and workshop goals that I set last fall. The weight loss goal in particular had gone poorly, so I’m adding more frequent updates to try and stay accountable to my goals. 

Weight Loss – Last week I weighed in at 174lbs. This week I am officially down to 173lbs! I’m happy with the steady progress. Seeing results is definitely helpful for keeping the motivation high. 

Workshop – Another week of no progress on the faux beams. This year seems to be the year of the floor installations. I’m currently helping Bryan install new laminate flooring in the first floor of his home. I’ve spent the last 2 weekends helping him with that and plan to help next weekend as well. It’s fun and I’m glad I can help, but it means that the beams will be put off for a couple more weeks.

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