My wife wants a farm house table and prefers conifer wood; i.e., not a hardwood. I have some 5/4 jack pine that has been kiln dried and aged somewhat. Is this a suitable wood for a kitchen table? How about the thickness? What is the typical thickness for a pine table? The sap content looks little higher than white pine but the grain is much nicer. The wood choices I have are native to central Wisconsin, USA. Thoughts?
Is this a suitable wood for a kitchen table?
Just about any wood one cares to name is good enough for a kitchen table. Obviously not balsa, but then who can buy enough of that to build a table from anyway? :-D
Kitchen tables were, and still are, very commonly made from pine and while modern sensibilities are that softwoods aren't tough enough for this kind of thing the historical examples prove that they can more than hold up to use. Oldest pine table I've seen with my own eyes (still in service and possibly having been continuously in service) might be celebrating its 200th birthday round about now, and there are older examples.
How about the thickness?
5/4 is fine as far as thickness goes, but you might want to install stiffening battens on the underside or attach very well to the leg assembly to help prevent any tendency to warp (a waterproof finish will help greatly in this regard also).
What is the typical thickness for a pine table?
I'm not sure that there is one. These days with the modern Internet-driven design ethos the answer is probably as thick as possible — made from a glue-up of 2x4s or something like that.
Historically I'd hazard somewhere around the 2" mark might have been common, if not typical.
5/4 might seem overly thin in relation to those but that's still quite substantial, even with the minor loss in thickness you'll experience planing, scraping or sanding to finish off.