Thursday, October 18, 2007

Custom Modustrial Table

Since the very beginning stages of the conception of our house, I knew I wanted a kitchen/dining area that could accommodate a long, narrowish table big enough to seat a crowd. And I designed and planned the space accordingly but until recently hadn't really brought the idea into being simply because the table and chairs brought from our old home were working fine and there's been (and still are) a lot of other, more pressing projects on the schedule. But recently time and progress got me to the point where living with our make-do table was at odds with the table that was kicking around in my head and the imaginary table won. Finally the moment arrived where creativity, motivation and time all landed in my lap at once and I was able to get to work on giving birth to a table suited to the space.
Now, don't get me's not like I had this crazy urge to build a table that I felt it necessary to act upon. I probably would have just gone out and bought one but I looked and looked and never really found anything that jived or was even close to what was in my head. And to further complicate things, I've had these cool red casters stashed away and earmarked for the 'big table' forever and I just couldn't let idea go. So design/build it was.

As I said, I've had these cool red casters for ages, squirreled away waiting for their debut:

and I wanted to plunk them onto a chunky, square leg that mounted flush to the corners of a tabletop. I had toyed with the idea of using wood posts for legs but ultimately opted to use steel, and the great crew over at BW Welding, the same guys that did our stairs and our railing framework, were a great help.
The finished leg is 4" square steel tube, with an "L" shaped flange for bolting the legs on flush with the corners of the top:the close-up photo above shows the opening cut into one face of each leg. It's just enough space to get a wrench on a lag bolt head and allows for an attachment point in the far corner of the tabletop.
Here you see the legs with casters attached, the slot just visible at the top. And speaking of the top: that's the same basic construction method and materials I used for the BigTV bench I told you about a while ago. It's a triple thickness of 3/4" plywood, glued and screwed together and then sanded and sealed into laminated plywoody deliciousness. In this case, I wanted a 30" wide tabletop so I purchased three sheets of finish-grade ply and ripped them down. I'm going to use the remaining 18" offcuts to make a bench to match.
I'm extremely happy with the finished product. Because it's 8' long, I was worried about the plywood being able to support itself across that length but so, far so good. Placing it perpendicular to the island like I have it here is a compromise and not what I had originally planned but I've decided it works and I like it. Plus it rolls around like buttah so it's easy to change :) Now I need to reconfigure the cabinetry on that side of the island which I hope to be able to show you shortly...


Blogger Peggy said...

You are my hero! Love, love, love the table. Would you come to my place and build two of those for my office/studio?

Who woulda thunk that I would find things like knobs and castors beautiful. But, I do subscribe to the notion that everything should be beautiful.

You're amazing!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I love things that inspire me to put my husband and his metal shop to work!

Question about the table top: I assume you plan to leave it with the wood grain. How did you seal it? From your previous experience, will it hold up to dining use? (spilled food, sweating glasses, etc)

2:02 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Thanks so much Peggy!

Hi Rachel!
I'm still on the fence about how to treat the surface. I originally tried treating it with Danish oil which does an amazing job of waterproofing on solid woods but did basically nothing on the plywood. My second attempt was several coats of spar urethane, an oil based product, and that seems to be holding up well to moisture, etc so far.
I'm going to live with it for a while, but eventually, I may end up putting some funky colored laminate or stainless on the top.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous MCinDC said...

Hi splatgirl,
congrats on your continuing awesome projects. love your table. i have been thinking of exactly the same thing so i have a question...

where did you get the finish grade plywood--just at HD, or did you have to special order it? and what type, if you know (i have seen lots of flavors).


2:01 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Finish grade ply is typically a stock item at any home center/bigbox. Finding one or two sheets with a decent grain pattern or finish layer can be another story, so bring a sturdy helper and be prepared to sort through most of whatever is on the rack. Anyway, it's usually stocked in birch and oak. I used birch. Other species are available by special order.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous MCinDC said...

Thanks!! I am definitely going to try it.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I love your casters. Do you remember where you found them?

9:41 PM  

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