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advice on cheap wood

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  • advice on cheap wood

    I'm building a dining table for my in-laws. Appearances are NOT important. I'm playing off of their decorator's idea of obtaining a "hotel" type banquet table since it will always be covered. (If anyone has lifted the cloth on one of these tables, you know what I mean).

    Anyway, I believe I can build a 70" round pedestal table cheaper than they can get one of these pre-made ones. Does anyone see any problem with just using #2 pine from Home Depot for the base?

    The top will be 3/4" plywood with 3/4" MDF on top for a smooth surface with the joints parallel to each other for strength.


  • #2
    Dan, the value of this answer is dependant on the equipment you have.

    If you are equipped for handling rough stock, I suggest buying from a wood dealer instead of the Big Box. Around here, I can buy rough Red Oak for less per board foot than the Home Depot charges for s4s #2 no species listed Pine. Easier to work the hardwood, and it will resist dents and generally last a zillion times better.

    Check that board foot price, it may surprise you. I found Poplar there once, that was more expensive than Walnut at the wood dealer.



    • #3
      I can certainly second that one. The place where I get my lumber will even straight line, plane and sand big or small orders and it's still much less than other home centers or "boutique" wood stores.
      Kelly C. Hanna<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\">Hanna Woodworks</a>


      • #4
        I'd also add, MDF isn't the best choice for a table surface. As we all probably witnessed at Thanksgiving, spills do happen and the MDF would absorb the liquid and distort. However, any good plywood (with smooth finish) will need some sort of sealing finish to avoid the spill problem.


        • #5
          I agree with everything in the other replies. But if you really want to do it inexpensively, I suggest you consider using 2x4 and 2x6 stud lumber. You have to be really careful picking the straight ones but you can make some really nice tables with a little imagination, good sanding and filling, and a good quality satin varnish. What you get is basically "ski lodge" furniture. Looks great in the right setting. I've built a couple of trestle type tables that turned out well.


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies. I don't think I was really clear enough on my question, though.

            Mike got it closest by realizing (I think) that I was talking about using dimension lumber for the base (a total of (4) 2x4's for the post, and pairs of 1x4's or 1x6's for the top support and base). Again, the base and top will NEVER be seen. The plan is for the decorator to make a floor lenght silk (or similar) cloth and a glass top over that.

            The point about MDF is well taken, but the glass top should avert any spills, and I was planning on sealing it really well. The MDF is for a smooth surface. I cannot afford high quality plywood for this project to obtain the same surface qualities. I was planning on sealing it to avoid swelling due to environmental moisture.