We started with the pedestal for the table. It had to be sturdy to support the 7 foot long, 4 foot wide top. The two pedestals are made from southern yellow pine construction lumber. The center uprights are 2×6 consisting of three pieces with a gap in the center to allow a stretcher to be inserted. The base is made from 3 layers of 2x8s. The center runs the full length, the bottom layer has two pieces that act as outboard feet, and the top layer has two pieces spaced to allow the center upright to be placed between them. All pieces were glued. Screws were placed where they could not be seen – at the very top and bottom where they are hidden by the dados the central upright fit into, and from the bottom.
Three quarter inch depth dados were cut with a circular saw to allow vertical uprights to be positioned above the base feet. The additional 2×8 uprights provided more outboard support for the heavy top. Small pieces of 2x material were fitted and glued to fill in the space left between the 2×6 center upright, and the 2×8 base. At the very top of the vertical uprights, two more layers of 2×8 were laminated to provide a horizontal support for the top. They were constructed like the base without the outboard feet.
The top was also made from 2x southern yellow pine. A combination of 2×10 and 2×8 stock was carefully selected at the lumber yard for straight edges and no twist. We sifted through their entire stock to find enough true planks. This was a critical endeavor, since all joining was to be done with hand planes. We re-stacked everything neatly so we would be welcomed back. Two boards were edge jointed at a time. Five 3/8″ dowels were placed along the length of each joint using a dowel centering jig. After gluing, pipe clamps held the boards overnight before two additional boards were prepared for each side of the growing top.
The top was planed between glue-ups to keep the top as flat as possible. Even 3/4 inch pipe will bow under the pressure exerted by the clamps. The flatter the top, the better chance the boards being added would stay flat as well.
After all the boards for the top were added, we trimmed the length down to 7 feet (we used 8 foot boards). Then we used a thin batten to create a smooth curve to reduce the width at each end by 4 inches (2 inches removed from each side). We used a jig saw to cut the curve, and then began the process of sanding the top smooth and level. Knot holes were stabilized by filling with clear epoxy. A wood conditioner was applied to the pine before staining to get a more uniform color. Five coats of polyurethane was applied, with a light sand between each coat.
To complement the table, a bench was constructed for one side. Two pedestals were made similar to those used for the table but not quite as robust. They were also made of southern yellow pine.
The top of the bench was made by edge joining two 2×8. This was done to give enough width to allow the bench top to be curved like the table top.
A stretcher was added beneath the bench top, and then the it was stained to match the table and three coats of polyurethane were applied for durability.
Stain and polyurethane applied. You can also see the peg that secures the stretcher through the table’s pedestal.