At any one time we usually have an absolute monster of a table on our hands to build. Whether its a super long conference table for the city or a substantial Oak dining table in a beautiful country home, our building methods change slightly to accommodate the sheer length as well as the additional weight of the top.
I suppose the quick and easy method would be to add an additional set of legs down the middle but because we like things to be just right from a design perspective, we will always ( if budget allows) make them still with 4 legs. That's right, 4 legs and 4 m long with a 45mm solid Oak top without any signs of strain.
So how do we achieve this? Usually, anything over 9ft long we'd start looking at strengthening in some way. Larger Legs, thicker side rails, a change in timber strength will all be a deciding factor in the final overall length.
To Make our 4m x 1.5m oak dining table we needed to increase every aspect of the frames structure. The client did not want to have the side rail increased in depth as he was over 6ft 3" and the leg room would have been too restricted. We decided to use Sapili which is a very strong hard wood and it paints really nicely too, unlike other hardwoods such as oak. Alternative materials could have been either Tulip Wood or Beech.
Our Standard leg size is usually 4.5 inches thick but we decided to increase the dimensions to 6 inches by laminating 3 pieces of Sapili together. We make a laminate so we don't get any splits in the legs over time. The legs are then planned down and made to a perfect square. We then morticed the legs ready for the side rails.
The side rails had to be kept at 95mm deep, we would have normally made them to 110mm but to compensate we braced the base as pictured and then applied further "secret" bracing that gave us an enormous amount of strength. The rails were 95mm x 45mm in dimension and we were left with a base ready to paint and strong as an ox!
Painted in Farrow and Ball's Wevet Estate Eggshell.
To make the table top we needed to get our hands on some long pieces of oak. Not just long but nice and dry. When machining the oak we had to work on it straight away and not leave it un clamped over over night as believe me, it would have moved by the morning and none of our lovely oak boards would have clamped perfectly. ( I have an image of this somewhere which I will add when I come across it.)
Once the top is clamped and we return in the morning it's time to prep the whole top. Sanding, squaring off, edging, rubbing and oiling. We use a hard wax oil which takes about 15 hrs to dry and we apply 3 coats. The table will Never mark and you can throw a bottle of red wine over it without staining too. Its great stuff but very time consuming to apply, sand between coats, re apply etc... This top certainly wasn't going anywhere as it weighed an absolute tonne so we work on other projects between its processes.
Finally, we prep the base after it comes out of our spray shop. Prep involves applying fixings to the base that secures the table top to the frame but also allows the table top to shrink and expand as we go through the seasons. A lot of people would normally screw straight through the base and in to the top but if you do this you WILL have issues. The key is to allow the top to shrink in the winter ( this is when the central heating is cranked right up and moisture is pulled from the wood, and expand in the summer, (central heating is off and absorbs natural moisture)
The delivery was very straight forward. We delivered the piece in 2 halves and set the top to the frame in place. We deliver everything ourselves and we threw 5 guys onto the job allowing it to be completed quickly and efficiently. Thankfully we didn't have any access issues on this one.
If you have a large oak dining table project then please contact us on 01803 362 368. We'll make you pretty much anything and it will last you a lifetime!
Thank you for reading!