Being that the dining room is one of the main communal rooms of the house, I think it’s certainly worth investing in durable, aesthetically pleasing furniture. If you have more people than can comfortably sit around one table, you should consider getting one larger table instead of two smaller ones. Larger single units of furniture rather than several smaller pieces make the room less cluttered.
I personally like the rustic-style furniture where pieces are built big, heavy, and durable. Of course, there are many different styles and motifs to choose from, and they all have their own unique pros and cons. Not everyone digs the country flavor. One big reason some opt for other styles is that individual pieces are often more expensive than the equivalent in other styles due to often being hand-made and requiring more expensive materials.
Our prior setup was honestly, not all that flattering. We have a rather large number of people living here making it necessary to have at least two dining tables. The problems we faced were these:
- They were both different heights.
- They were both different colors.
- They were both different sizes, shapes, and styles.
Bottom line – it looked pretty darn bad. Using Google Sketchup I created an initial model of the table from where I then exported several screen shots of key angles. By printing out the relevant screen shots and clipping them onto a clip board for example, you don’t have to keep referring back to the Sketchup file while in the workshop. All components should be made to life-size and dimensioned for accuracy.
Software programs like Sketchup help tremendously when dealing with angles and notching. The 3d model, when made to life-size, allows you to accurately integrate any angles you desire in any position and size. More specifically, the precise integration of notch-work to accommodate an inlay-style of component attachment is made not only possible, but quite simple, by such 3d software.
To Notch or not to Notch…?
I strongly recommend notch-work for furniture as it makes it considerably more stable over time. As you may know, wood tends to change shape over time due to the absorption and desorption of moisture from its surroundings. This is why high-quality hardwoods that have been seasoned thoroughly are most commonly used by furniture makers.
But even then, and more so if you’re using lower-end wood, notch-work is often necessary to prevent the components from warping, twisting, and pulling themselves out of alignment. Young, unseasoned lumber is extremely unstable, and if you find yourself using this type of wood, I would advise notching all joints at least a quarter-inch or about 5 millimeters to prevent the above kind of behavior.
By using a combination of notch-work, appropriate fasteners, and glue, as well as sealing the entire surface area of each component, you can create furniture that can rival most professionally made pieces. Sealing the surface area is important as this is where moisture enters and leaves. In most cases, you would probably do this via a stain or varnish anyway, for looks. Have a look at various angles of the finished dining table in the gallery.