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Thread: 'Farmhouse' table and bench

  1. #1
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    'Farmhouse' table and bench

    I'm building this for some friends. The customer does not want a typical lower-mounted stretcher as is found on every Pinterest post. I'm taking a cue from the Shakers and putting a wide stretcher up top under the table. My desk uses this type of construction and I've not had issues with racking.

    They want to seat 8 (3 on each side between the legs and 2 on the ends). Any thoughts on the spacing of the legs?
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    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 10-22-2017 at 2:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Top Progress

    I got some nice walnut from Pete @ Horizon. These slabs had a couple inclusions that I filled with blackened epoxy (Transtint black).

    The slabs were too thick (2") for my track saw, so I ripped as deeply as I could, then finished by hand. I used an edge guide on my jointer plane, but I have found, ironically, that the guide can produce a bias because I am not focusing on the edge, but the guide. I use the guide now just to get the surface roughly jointed. But the final passes I think are best done freehand.

    I used Dominos to assist in alignment. I also like to put a few extra at the ends to (theoretically) help resist any tendency for the end seams to open.
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  3. #3
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    Feb 2004
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    Oh yeah!!! Looking like progress to me and looking good while at it.

    Keep on keeping on !!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I'm building this for some friends. The customer does not want a typical lower-mounted stretcher as is found on every Pinterest post. I'm taking a cue from the Shakers and putting a wide stretcher up top under the table. My desk uses this type of construction and I've not had issues with racking.

    They want to seat 8 (3 on each side between the legs and 2 on the ends). Any thoughts on the spacing of the legs?
    My usual rule of thumb is that diners want 24" side-to-side, and at least 18" front-to-back. That is, 18" from the edge of the table to the point where their toes are going to be stopped by the undercarriage. Don't just take my rules -- try those measurements out on yourself. When you sit at a dining table, how much distance do you want so that your elbows don't collide with your neighbor? And when you sit comfortably at a table, how far deep under the table do your toes go? Then imagine yourself in a post-dinner conversation, with your legs kicked out in front of you. Your toes get even further under the table than 18".

    Let's say that your big X is 4" thick. Using my rules of thumb above would make the whole table at least 116" long, but you likely only have 96" of top. Fixes? Well, you could change the base so that the feet and knees of the people at the ends go through the base instead of being stopped by it. For instance, put four just vertical legs at the corners of the table. Then everybody's got plenty of room.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 10-02-2017 at 12:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Beautiful slab top. Look forward to following along as you build her!

  6. #6
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    Jamie-
    24" seems to be standard. However, they were set on the size and set on the style. They don't mind a tight squeeze to get 8 people in.

    I am thinking to make the overhang 11". This will give 66" between legs, or 22" per person. One side will feature a bench, so that'll help get people in a little tighter.

    I've been transparent about the shortcomings, so I believe they are comfortable with having to squeeze during Thanksgiving.

    Jamie, is this a reasonable compromise?

  7. #7
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    Base Progress

    I'm connecting the base legs and cross pieces with bridle joints. Perceiving the arms as a little blocky, I've decided to make facets on the cross pieces. I don't have an easy way to machine these, so it's going to be Dozuki and planes.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Perceiving the arms as a little blocky, I've decided to make facets on the cross pieces. I don't have an easy way to machine these, so it's going to be Dozuki and planes.
    I think the facets look kind of cool. Dozuki and plane work is a enjoyable and rewarding way to shape them and since you only have 8 facets, that might be the way I'd do it. However, you do have a Hammer A3-31 and it would be a fairly straightforward matter to make up one carrier board with ramps in two planes to consistently run your pieces through the planer at the appropriate angle taking multiple passes. I did this recently for a bench top that was shaped like a chevron or butterfly, think two long shingles coming together at the narrow end.

    Looking forward to the post of the completed project.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Jamie-
    24" seems to be standard. However, they were set on the size and set on the style. They don't mind a tight squeeze to get 8 people in.

    I am thinking to make the overhang 11". This will give 66" between legs, or 22" per person. One side will feature a bench, so that'll help get people in a little tighter.

    I've been transparent about the shortcomings, so I believe they are comfortable with having to squeeze during Thanksgiving.

    Jamie, is this a reasonable compromise?
    Well, my feeling is that you cannot sit at a table where there's only 11" overhang. Your toes and knees are going to run into the base, and you will be very uncomfortable. But don't depend on my opinions. Mock it up yourself. Stick something under your own dining table to make a wall 11" from the edge of the table -- cardboard boxes, or a piece of plywood clamped to the end of a sawhorse or something. Try sitting at it yourself. Me, if I had a customer who insisted on that design, I'd get them to sit at the mockup too.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Jamie, for challenging my assumption. I'm planning to take the assembled legs to the client before I make the stretcher.

  11. #11
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    I like this project and am glad for the discussion and points of view, especially Jamie's, since I have two similar projects on my list and possibly a third if a friend decides to move forward with his dining table.

    I also like those facets on the leg assemblies! I suspect you can "free hand" the bevels a la Maloof at the bandsaw and then complete them with planes if you want to do something fun and, um...risky...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    If the customer is really set on that big X, you might consider putting it right at the end of the table. Give up on seating people at the ends. Put everybody along the long sides. They all get 24" of elbow room, and they all get plenty of space for their feet.

  13. #13
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    Leg Glue up

    I'm gluing up the legs in stages.

    I make my own Dominos so they tend to fit tighter than the purchased ones. This makes pulling the joint together a challenge sometimes. I've used TBIII to give me a little more open time.

    I wiled some of the hard to access finished surfaces with boiled linseed oil to assist in glue clean up.

    The leg is bridled around the horizontal members.

    Sorry, such bad pictures.
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    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 10-04-2017 at 10:15 AM.

  14. #14
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    Wider stance

    I moved the legs out to about 2" from the ends in the first 2 pictures. Not sure how I feel about this. ~22" space per sitter.

    In the third, I've made the ends about 13", which gives ~21" space per sitter. (the dimension tool is off in this pic...)

    I prefer the look of the second picture, but will check with client.
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    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 10-04-2017 at 11:35 AM.

  15. #15
    I like the third one just because the center rib carries the segment the whole length. More graceful and integrated, and makes sure no one will ask client "did you build this from a kit?". I've noticed the other way is catching on now, but I don't think I'll get used to it.

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