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I am going to build an "X" base style 8 foot dining table and I am going to use material that is about 11/16" thick for the top.

The table will have aprons and I will be using metal "z" clips to attach the top to the base. I am worried that the top will be so thin that it can't hold all the weight when the table is lifted by the top. I am using SPF softwood for the top.

Is it common to build large dining tables with 11/16" - 3/4" material? Will the table top be able to handle the weight of the attached base?

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It depends on how heavy your base is going to be as that is the weight it will need to be able to hold when you pick it up but as long as you you use enough z clips to securely attach the top to the base you should be in the clear. Also I would make sure that you do not go any thinner than 11/16-3/4 as then you could run into some problems but to be safe you could always go up in thickness or even change to a hardwood as that will bend less easily.

As for if this thickness is common on dining tables I would probably say no just since thicker tops make sturdier tables as a whole.

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11/16" works out to 17.5mm and although that isn't beefy for a table of this size it doesn't seem too thin to me.

Many tables have been made with tops are under 1" (25mm) thick, although the ones I'm thinking of are made from hardwoods which can be significantly stronger than SPF. But this is being very generic, which unfortunately the descriptor "SPF" is too as I'm sure you know. Obviously to begin you can't be certain what species you're buying in the first place and all wood does naturally vary anyway. More than that though modern 2x lumber is known for not being particularly high quality and varying a lot at the point of purchase — not hard to find, at the same store, good bad and indifferent pieces.

Obviously I can't provide any guarantees here but I'd say this will probably be OK. You should make every effort to carefully select the pieces you intend to join to make up the tabletop though. And in case it needs to be stressed, joint the edges well, weak joints will do a lot to undermine the strength of such a tabletop. Jointed properly however and it'll be like it's a single piece of wood.

I would be careful about how you move the table with the base attached, but that should be standard advice with any large table. With a sufficient number of fasteners you should be able to safely lift a table of significant weight regardless of the tabletop material, even particleboard/chipboard which is notorious for not holding screws well*. Just don't expect that it can be levered off the floor by one person and you should be fine.

A little further reading from previous Q&As if needed:
What's the best way to widen a butcherblock countertop?
Can clamps be too tight?
Methods of jointing without a jointer

*This isn't theorising here, I'm basing this on handling much office furniture which over here invariably uses chipboard for the tops. I've never broken a top free from the base of a heavy piece, although I have seen the damaged tops where this happened, in every case I can think of it looked like too few screws were used to attach the base to the top (as few as four, not nearly enough for security with a heavy steel-framed desk).

  • I am feeling more comfortable about it as long as I use plenty of clips. I am going with cheap wood to keep the table affordable for the customer, and I am going with 1x material because all the cheap 2x material I get is too wet, and twists if I let it dry. So, I am going with 1x material and am going to be face laminating around the perimeter underneath to make it look like it is thicker. – ScottK Jun 26 '16 at 15:35
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Add a frame made from 1x4's to the bottom flush with sides. Glued and screwed. Glue ok with the grain of the table, glue only ends across the grain. Add additional strips within the frame to coincide with the base and were the clips go.

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    This Question is old so I presume the OP is well past this build, but as for your plan, you can't safely frame a solid-wood tabletop. Either on the edges or the underside. In addition to the grain not matching along the short sides the top's width will change with the seasons but the frame's will not, leading to stress and possible warping or cracking. – Graphus Nov 4 '17 at 6:55

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