I am trying to build a cherry table. I will be creating the top out of multiple 8/4 boards using standard techniques. The table will be 42" wide by at least 68" long. I have come up with the idea to not use aprons.
My question is how should I stiffen the table without having the aprons for support?
My ideas so far:
Use a router to create one or two grooves almost the entire length of the table (making sure that the groove is in only one piece of wood), then insert a "spline" along that length that will be 4/4 stock; basically a long mortise and tenon to attach an apron in the middle of the table. I figure if I glue this in, it will strengthen the table length-wise and not cause problem due to wood movement because the groove will run with the grain. I would probably do this several times because I don't want the "apron" to stick out from the bottom too much, so it would not be super thick
Do the same grooves but instead epoxy in metal splines
Don't do anything to strengthen it lengthwise, because 8/4 cherry over that length may just be strong enough?
Attach wood strips across the grain using cleats to strengthen table across the width
I'm looking for any good suggestions/critiques here. Googling has lead me to believe that nobody really does this, but I've seen huge tables with only the 4 legs for support, so I'm guessing it can be done.