Large dining tables have their place an purpose, but not everyone has the space for a huge dining table. This modern dining table design is just the right size for a small space, but the extension slides allow the table to extend to seat as many as ten people. The main intent of this project is to teach common building techniques used to make an extension dining table. If you prefer a different design style, you can modify the top and leg style and dimensions to suit your taste. For example, you may want to consider making your table wider if you
have the space; at 34 in. wide, this one is relatively narrow compared
with the generally accepted standard 44 in. No matter what style or dimensions you choose, the frame and extension slide construction techniques will remain the same.
Our modern dining table is loaded with design elements: The top front and rear edges of the top are curved and the ends are beveled, the legs are tapered, and the outside corners of the legs are rounded over. You could eliminate any or all of those touches and still build a great table. To save time and work, you can purchase tapered table legs from Osborne Wood Products online. If you do that, you’ll probably have to forgo rounding over the outside edges of the legs because the method we show requires that it be done before the tapers are cut.
We decided to splurge and make our table using black walnut. It’s one of the more expensive domestic hardwoods, but we felt that the stunning results were worth the cost. Three coats of clear satin polyurethane finish enhance the natural beauty of the wood and protect it from spills and wear.
Download these Dining Table Plans as a pdf file:
Key No. Description Size
(All parts black walnut)
A 4 Legs 2-3/4 x 2-3/4 x 29 in.
B 4 Side aprons 1 x 3-1/2 x 23-1/2 in.
C 2 End aprons 1 x 3-1/2 x 22 in.
D1 4 Cleats 7/8 x 1 x 4 in.
D2 4 Cleats 7/8 x 1 x 4 in.
E 8 Top pieces 1 x 6-1/8 x 34 in.
F 2 Top ends 1 x 6 x 34 in.
G 4 Leaves 1 x 10 x 34 in.
(Note: The finished table is 30" high x 34" wide x 61" long; it opens to 102" long.)
12/4 black walnut (20 bf; includes extra material to allow for 50 percent waste)
5/4 black walnut (40 bf; includes extra material to allow for 50 percent waste)
Table slides (1 pair; see SOURCES ONLINE)
Corner brackets with bolts and nuts (4)
Table locks (2 for the table and 2 for each leaf)
No. 20 biscuits (80)
No. 10 x 1-1/2-in. panhead screws (24)
No. 10 x 5/8-in. panhead screws (24)
Dark wood glue
Clear satin polyurethane finish (1 quart)
Osborne Wood Products, 800-849-8876, http://www.osbornewood.com/
48-in. table slide [51-in. opening], part no. 9057
Corner brackets with bolts and nuts [set of 4], part no. 901
Black walnut two-sided tapered dining table leg, part no. 1082 [optional]
Rockler, 800-279-4441, http://www.rockler.com/
Align-N-Lock table lock, no. 21585
Titebond II Dark Wood Glue, 8 ounces, no. 51706
Dining Table Construction Notes
Even a beginning woodworker can build a table using manufactured components, but this design is not a project for a beginner. I spent about $650 for materials and 30 hours on construction. I used a table saw, a jointer, a planer, a drill press, a band saw, a biscuit joiner, a belt sander, an orbital sander, a hand plane, a handsaw, six 36-in. opening pipe clamps and a variety of smaller bar clamps. You could buy a 1-in.-radius roundover bit to shape the outside corners of the legs, or you can save the money and use a hand plane as I did. (It’s not difficult to do.)
The legs are joined to the aprons with metal corner brackets. This was the first time I used these brackets on a dining table, and I was surprised at how easy they were to use and how well they worked. I also used special table locks that double as top-alignment devices. They’re great because they eliminate the need for table-alignment pins, which are notoriously hard to install.
Make the dining table legs
Cut the legs (A) to size. Choose the best faces to be visible; then lay out the leg tapers and the corner-bracket notches accordingly. Draw guidelines for shaping the roundovers. Strike a 1-in.-radius arc at the top and bottom of each leg, and draw lines down each face 1 in. from the outside corner. Use your table saw to make a series of cuts to remove most of the waste and begin shaping the rounded edges. Next, shape the roundovers with a hand plane. Use sandpaper and an orbital sander to finish the shape.
Rough cut the 1-in.-radius roundover edges on the legs’ outside corners on a table saw or band saw. Make the first cut at 45 degrees (left photo); then make two more cuts at 22-1/2 degrees. That will remove most of the waste. Then Shape the legs’ rounded edges using a hand plane (right photo). Remove the high spots that remain from the table saw cuts. When you’re done, the edge will be nearly round. Finish smoothing the shape with a sanding block.
Use a band saw to cut the leg tapers (photo below). Sand the sawn faces smooth using a belt sander. Cut the corner-bracket notches on the top inside corners of the legs. Drill pilot holes for the corner-bracket hanger bolts; then finish sand the legs. (It’s easier to sand them before the bolts are inserted.) Thread two nuts together on the threaded end of the hanger bolt. Tighten the nuts together so that they jam and then drive the hanger bolt into the pilot holes. A little screw wax applied to the wood screw threads makes this easier.
Use a band saw to cut one tapered side of each leg. Go slow and cut close to the line, leaving some excess to sand. Save the cut-off pieces, and don’t mix them up. Then tape the cut-off pieces back in place on each leg. They will help to support the legs as you cut the second side of the taper.
Make the dining table aprons
Cut the apron pieces (B, C, D1 and D2) to size. Cut the corner-bracket slots on the backs of the apron pieces. The D1 cleats need elongated holes to allow the top to move slightly if it should expand or contract over time. Drill the elongated holes through the D1 cleats. Drill 7/32-in.-dia. clearance holes through the D2 cleats. Glue the cleats to the side aprons (B).
Make the tops and leaves
Assembling the top halves is tricky because of the beveled ends. I didn’t want to glue up the 30-1/2-in.-wide top halves and then tip them on end to cut the bevels because pushing tall pieces through a table saw can be a little risky. Instead, I cut the top pieces and ends (E, F) to size. I then cut the biscuit groovesand glued and clamped the four E pieces together to make each top half, leaving off the final end pieces that are beveled. Next, I cut the bevels on the top end pieces F.
Cut the 15-1/2-degree bevels on the top end pieces (F). For safety, set the saw blade just high enough not to cut through completely. Break the waste piece off and use a hand plane to remove the tiny nib that is left at the bottom of the bevel.
Clamping the beveled edge piece to the rest of the top pieces is not easy because of the clamp pressure on the narrow edge will force the piece to pull up or tilt. The solution to this problem is to use clamping blocks called cauls across the joint. The cauls are simply scrap pieces of 1 x 1 x 8-in. wood covered with masking tape (the tape prevents the glue from adhering the cauls to the top pieces). Apply glue to the joint and butt the parts together. Then clamp the cauls on top and bottom of the pieces, positioning them across the joint line to keep the table top pieces aligned and flat as clamping pressure is applied. Alternate your pipe clamps, placing three on the top and three on the bottom. Gently apply pressure, taking care not to crush the 3/8-in.-wide outside edge.
Make a template of the curved top shape using 1/4- or 1/2-in. fiberboard. Trace the shape onto the top half edges. Cut the shapes and sand the sawn edges smooth. Then make the leaves (G).
Assemble the dining table
Draw apron-alignment lines and table-lock centerlines on the undersides of the top halves. Mount the table locks across the table-top halves. Separate the top halves, insert each leaf one at a time, and mount the table locks to the leaves. This is the easy way to get everything properly aligned.
Join the top halves again. Assemble the aprons and corner brackets. Mount the aprons to the tabletop. Bolt the legs to the corner brackets. Double-check the protrusion of the 1-1/2-in.-long screws through the slides to be sure they aren’t too long; then mount the table slides.
Check the operation of the table extension. Disassemble everything, finish sand the parts, ease the exposed sharp edges, and apply three coats of finish. When the finish is dry, reassemble the table and it’s ready for use.
Screw the slides in place. Using spacers ensures that all is parallel. The manufacturer has labeled the slides “left side” and “right side.” Those labels mean nothing more than to tell you the slides are a matched pair.
Handyman Club Life member Bruce Kieffer is a custom furniture builder, freelance woodworking author and technical illustrator. To see a collection of his work, visit www.kcfi.biz.