UPDATE: I've created a whole post with the explanation of the changes I made to Ana's original plans here.
Long time family friends, Dennis and Clarice Perret sent us a check as a wedding gift. We used the money to make a new dining room table. I remembered Clarice saying how much she preferred giving practical gifts. I hope she thinks this beauty fits the bill.
I know. I built that. With just a little help from my husband (he offered, but I wanted to do most of it myself) and a ton of finishing from my mom (I was over it by that point). She's a trooper.
I started from Ana White's design and adapted it a little. I put the stretcher supports back on the outside and added the extensions like the original.
I also switched out the 2x6 top for 2x8s (#2 Douglas Fir because they're cheaper and have more character than #1) and attached them all from the bottom; I didn't want to deal with concealing screws on the table surface. The switch meant the boards on the sides are attached only on the innermost 3 inches. I drilled up through the 2x4 aprons and used 3 1/2 inch screws every six inches to make sure they were secure.
I sanded it until I was pretty sure the risk of splinters was eliminated, but it was far from perfectly smooth. After pre-stain conditioner, it got a coat of Minwax Red Chestnut (procured for free from my local Household Hazardous Waste facility - if you live in Kansas you should check yours out. It's usually associated with the County Weed Department and just might have exactly the paint or stain you want for free. Just wait until you see my free paint kitchen). The result was a little too red so my mom saved the day with a coat of Provincial and sealed it with wax. It's a tough finish and I'm not taking any special care of it. The goal is for it to look like it's really old, not pristine.
It's a whopping 43 1/2" x 96", 126" with the 15" extensions on either side. Yep, that's over ten feet long. Our dining room is 12'x17' so it fills the space much better than its predecessor.
I think its a significant improvement. It was great to be able to have all the food and nine people around the table at Thanksgiving without feeling cramped. With extensions it seats 12. It's a serious table.
So, thank you Dennis and Clarice. Your gift is both infinitely practical and beautiful. We both really appreciate it and we can't wait for you to be able to come to dinner and see it in person.
-Amber and Austin
Seth - In response to your question. I made two 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" notches in the end boards and attached 2x2s to the extensions that went through those holes as well as a couple of 2x2 supports. I'm not sure if that's clear at all. It looks basically like this from the bottom.
And without the extensions it looks like this.