I promised to make a dining table for my wife (sized to fit 8 people). Originally, I was thinking of doing something like the sofa table project, scaled up, but she’s really keen on the “rustic/industrial” look now, and would like a table with steel hairpin legs.
I’m not sure how to design this so that it’s stable. I wanted to use some fairly thick walnut to create a nice solid top. Something that I could put on a more traditional base in the future if we ever go for a more traditional style. Could I just laminate some 1.5 inch thick walnut boards together and screw the legs on near the corners? I feel like that might not be stable enough. I would propose adding breadboard ends as well, but I am not confident that my skills are up to that (especially on the timetable I have in mind). To set expectations, I am very much a neophyte who has not had much luck with joinery beyond laminating and planing flat the top of what will hopefully someday be my sellers-style workbench.
I’ve seen some designs on the internet, and they usually involve layering a frame of thinner stock under a thin table top to fake the look of a thicker top. I don’t really like how this looks, but I may have to go that route if I can’t figure out something better.
- This topic was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by danw.
I really do not think you would have a problem with the legs holding up if you used the 1/2″ ones linked in the article. Just make sure to use a good quality screw.
If you wanted to feel better you could make a steel frame to attach the legs to and then bolt the frame to the bottom of the table. Or just make or have someone make a frame with the legs.
I notice that you set a time table in your mind with making the table. I can tell you that your best work is not rushed. Especially in the beginning. Take your time and focus on your work. If you get tired, frustrated or overwhelmed. Take a break and comeback later when your mind it clear. Do not rush yourself, one think I noticed about a craftsman, they take their time. I noticed with my grandfather and the guys in the toolroom. They where never rushing to get something done.
This is the thing I struggle with the most. I am an impatient guy and once started I hate to stop for anything until it is completed. That is when I make mistakes.
Thanks for the advice. I’m always struggling to find the balance between my desire to be perfect and my desire to actually get projects done. 🙂
It’s good to hear that you think the legs will hold up. What do you think about the wood itself. I know that glue joints are strong, but I’m worried that with the the size of the table, supported only at the four corners, the wood might sag and the joints might fail (or maybe the wood would split/crack). Any thoughts?
It sounds like you have just the perfect set of skills to make a hairpin leg dining room table.
Remember that you are dealing with two things here structurally. One the firmness of the top, two the strength of the legsnin relation to slenderness.
My advice here would be to play to your strengths (and tools), which is working with wood. You can deal with the firmness of the top, if it holds out to some rough treatment in your shop it should hold out in use. A hidden pair of cross members with a tapered edge might help in strength across the grain (and glue joints).
The legs are a different story. The thinner they are in relation to their length the less weight they can hold. You can hold any weight table by just increasing the thickness of the steel. I would get this done by someone with steel bending equipment as you might struggle to make each leg the same and finalise the top fixing detail, angles, etc, if you are not great with steel. They will need an indication of the weight of the top before making the legs.
Powder coating the legs would give a good professional finish. It might help to ask the guy making the legs to make one leg to start with, so that you can discuss and alter before doing the whole lot.
Hope this helps.
Your going to need a table about 8 ft long and 36″- 40″ wide to comfortably accomodate 8 adults, 3 on each side and 1 on each end. An inch and a half thickness of any hardwood will be self supporting for 8 ft. With no additional structural support.
Hairpin legs are readily available commercially. They are relatively cheap and way easy to install but have the obvious drawback of being structurally weak.
I would consider them temporary and, as your skill set improves you can build a solid base with a traditional apron mortised and tenoned into the legs for a permanent “lifetime” solution.
I think the problem you might have is the bending of the top across its width (from changes in humidity along the year). AFAIK this is the problem that breadboard ends is supposed to solve.
So you either have to use breadboard ends or make some sort of support at least across the width of the table.
If you attach underneath a tapered pair of cross members as suggested above, do not glue them to the top as the expansion/contraction will result in cracks. You can screw them in ensuring that the hole for the screw is larger than the screw diameter so it can accomodate the movement or you can use turnbuttons (https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/videos/turnbuttons/)
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.